In a previous post I looked at how innovation can Restart the Product Life Cycle. As suggested there, most of us are familiar with the standard product life cycle graph. A product increases in popularity, levels out, and then declines. But have you thought about how brand can influence and help shape the product lifecycle?
In fact, a brand can dramatically influence the shape of your product’s life cycle. This includes both your company’s brand and your products brands. For the purpose of this article I will be discussing branding in general. To see how brand changes the shape of a product life cycle we need to first take a closer look at four stages of a brand’s life cycle.
- Brand Development: the creation of a brand including the brand promise, look and feel, and other brand elements.
- Brand Recognition: exposing a brand to the customer base to increase visibility and ultimately gain brand recognition.
- Brand Loyalty: customers become loyal to a brand and not just one product line.
- Brand Sustainability / Brand Maintenance: continuing to tweak the brand, increase brand recognition and brand loyalty.
When it comes to the product life cycle we are most interested in brand recognition and loyalty.
- As brand recognition increases so does product adoption. In other words, the more the recognition the sharper the curve upward.
- As brand loyalty increases product decline is slowed. Essentially, the more loyal customers who are repeat customers the blunter the curve downward.
More important in this discussion, then those two points, is what happens when you have a declining product with a large brand loyalty base and you use innovation to Restart the Product Life Cycle. The result is a dramatically sharp curve upward of adoption.
Brand does play an important role in the product life cycle.