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Launch without fanfare

It’s great business for the big hotels. Or for exhibitions where the product is unveiled with much fanfare. At CES this year alone over 100 tablets were launched, apart from the big ticket 3D televisions and other electronic gadgetry. Launches are glitzy, expensive affairs with a lot going into the planning and execution of the event. How many of those brands go on to succeed is another story. Remember the Nano launch? It was a PR extravaganza with the national and international press. As Ratan Tata’s tall frame uncoiled itself from the small yellow wonder, it was hailed as a breakthrough in automobile cost cutting and design. Six months later, the Nano was available off the shelf with cancellations galore and some bad press. Now, it’s back to a conventional mass media campaign that stresses the car’s advantages.

Anyone remember how Google was launched? Or when it got it’s first mainline press mention? Here are the other names that came in quietly and then caught fire through word of mouth – eBay, Amazon, Paypal, Twitter, Facebook. The iPad was revealed at a signature Apple event, but then Apple is the exception that proves the rule. They manage cover stories and play the media to perfection. It helps that their customers are loyal to the point of being obsessive. But for the vast majority of brands introducing parity products with hairline differences can only aspire to a few column centimeters tucked away in the inner pages.

A launch event can work when anticipation is built. An Indian company, Notion Ink was present at CES this year with their Android tablet, Adam.  But almost a year prior to the launch, they kept up a constant stream of updates through the blog and whipped up interest around the world. They ran a contest for the logo, teased potential prospects with the possibilities and when they finally announced limited availability, sold out in a few days. So, time, as well as constant engagement, is key if you want to build the foundation for a base of customers

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