by Matt Weik
I try to stay up to date and see which supplement brands are doing what and which new products they are releasing. That being said, I recently saw a brand announce that they are launching a really cool product (I will not name any names), but mentioned that they will be releasing it in nine months. Wait what? This is no joke.
I am not sure what it is about. Think about it when smaller supplement brands announce some cool new product launches almost a year in advance. What do you think will happen? I tell you … The bigger brands, which can move faster, steal the ideal and hit the "originator" on the market, provided it is a good idea.
Supplementary brands should remain calm
The supplement industry is breakneck and if larger supplement brands can steal ideas, you can bet their buns will. Let's face it, smaller supplement brands generally don't have the financial resources to move forward quickly compared to some of the larger brands. When you show your cards, everyone else has the opportunity to take strategic steps to beat them – from all angles.
What makes things worse is that in the announcement, the smaller supplement brands tell the public exactly what the product will contain (just not in what dosages). That being said, anyone with a few brain cells can simply take the ingredients it contains, see what research shows about effective dosages, and then formulate their own product. This is not rocket science.
All of this goes hand in hand with transparent labels. The only thing I keep telling brands is that if you have transparent labels that look good in the eyes of the consumer, it allows everyone Tom, Dick and Harry to steal your profile and launch a copycat product – which may affect your sales.
The announcement and the hype about your product is one thing, but getting it done early can be expensive. Let's take the example if I own the small supplement brand Weik Fitness Sports Nutrition (I came up with this name). I go to someone like Stack3d and provide him with all the details so that he can publish them on his website. They run with it and mention that I'll be launching "Product X" in nine months and now everyone (including other supplement brands) knows exactly what I'm doing.
Sure, consumers will be excited about the news of a cool new (potentially innovative) product, but either or both of these things can happen. The first thing that will happen is that the announcement of the launch will give your brand an initial boost nine months earlier, but that will fade quickly as there are months before the launch and the hype subsides and is even completely forgotten. The next thing you know is that everyone is using the other brands they are used to and less eyeballs on your brand.
What happens next could be a larger company (let's just say Glanbia, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola or NBTY – depending on the type of product) that steals your idea and produces the product faster than you. Now you're stuck to gain market share if you actually choose to launch the product. So think about it. Who will a consumer buy the product from? Weik Fitness sports nutrition that nobody really knows? Or someone like BSN, Optimum Nutrition, Muscle Milk or a brand from PepsiCo or Coca-Cola? The list of big names goes on and on.
Not only that, but also think about marketing dollars. Glanbia, NBTY, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola have an apparently endless amount of money that they can put into marketing the product. You will be aware of the product from every possible angle, while a smaller brand may only have the money to run Facebook and Google ads. That won't be enough to beat some of these giants in the industry.
A lot can change before you start
When supplement brands announce a product launch almost a year earlier, there are many moving parts that can cause a pivot point. What if there is a market crash as we experience it? People hold onto their money and hope that the market will recover. Your priorities may have shifted from supplements to more important products and purchases. Paying your mortgage becomes more important than buying a new energy drink or protein powder. What if the industry moves away from a certain ingredient? What if the commodity price rises all these months and you now find that you cannot bring the product to the market because it is not cost effective and the price will be far too high?
The last thing a brand wants, especially if it's considered one of the small supplement brands, is to have an egg on the face. If I tell you that I put a product on the market and it never happens, will consumers believe me the next time I say I put something on the market? Probably not. Consumer trust goes a long way and once small supplement brands lose that trust it is incredibly difficult to get it back.
Maintain a poker face
Put on your dark, non-reflective sunglasses and sit down at the table with a poker face. Don't show emotions. Don't grin. Do not give anyone an idea of what you want to throw on the table to put all the chips in the pot. Intelligent brands hold their cards in their hand until they are absolutely certain that everything is in order and that they have the best chance of winning. They don't sit there and ask if a pair of aces is a good hand.
Don't spend all the time and money on something that someone else can steal. Wait, be patient, and cause a sensation when the deck is stacked in your favor.