5 lessons fast-moving consumer goods can teach us about branding

Natalie Candy at Coley Porter Bell explains what designers can learn from the world of FMCG.

Brands need to innovate to keep up with changing consumer lifestyles and stand out from the crowd. However, often too much innovation is launched simply because it can be produced and it therefore often lacks relevance to the consumer and impact at shelf. When done well, innovation can prove hugely successful in building brands, but it has its risk with research suggesting between 70-90 per cent of innovation fails in the first year of launch.

We've picked five innovations from the world of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) that we believe have been built on solid foundations to prove a success. Those that have shaken up a category, answered a genuine consumer need, been driven by lifestyle trends, innovated through to point of sale and ultimately built brand value.

01. How to succeed where others fail

Tangle Teezer is now sold in more than 65 countries

Invented by former hair colourist, Shaun P, manufactured and made in the UK, Tangle Teezer is referred to as the 'life changing' hairbrush created to achieve what others have failed… to successfully detangle hair.

A massive success, the product is now sold in more than 65 countries and at a rate of 10 per minute and was awarded CoolBrands status this year. One to watch in haircare, its most recent launch is the first 'upright non-slip water-loving detangling hair brush'.

02. How to meet an unmet need

Nivea looked at things from the consumer's point of view

Life is busy, yet the beauty industry generally insists on adding more steps into the daily routine rather than making it easier. Nivea, thankfully looked at it from the consumer's point of view to revolutionise the body care routine.

They were aware that people only used body lotion occasionally either because there is not enough time in the morning or that they simply didn't like the feeling of a normal body lotion.

The solution was one to save time and improve the moisturising experience with the In-Shower Body Moisturiser. The range has taken a 2.8 per cent share of the body lotion category with £4m sales (in one year from launch) and has now extended into After Sun.

03. How to tap into multiple trends

Graze tapped into multiple trends to really deliver something new

Consumer lifestyles are constantly evolving and brands that are truly innovative stay one step ahead by tapping into trends and creating solutions accordingly. Every now and again a brand manages to tap into multiple trends to really deliver something new.

Graze.com achieved this and created a new phenomenon in snacking, which delivered against the trends for health, freshness, convenience and customisation. After achieving success in the UK, Graze.com launched into the US, where within a week they signed up 30,000 subscribers across 48 states and after three months smashed their first quarter targets with 100,000 new customers.

04. How to innovate through to point of sale

Developing an innovative product is one thing, but making sure it really stands out and attracts attention is another.

When Sony launched their W Walkman they threw out the rulebook and created a strategy that uniquely brought the idea to life. Rather than put a rational claim about being waterproof on the pack (which many brands would have done), they created an innovative point of sale that would create buzz about the brand. To showcase the waterproof qualities, the products were put in full water bottles in gym and pool vending machines in New Zealand creating a product display, distribution channel and talking point.

05. How to build brand value

Too much innovation is created for the sake of it, merely because the technology or product format is available. Successful innovation should drive brand value, be meaningful and relevant.

There tends to be a disappointing lack of innovation in the chocolate category beyond flavours, however in the last year Cadbury have shaken things up. Through the brand story of 'Joy', they've developed products to target different audiences with more exciting ideas, especially through Dairy Milk Marvellous Creations and Marvellous Mix-Ups ranges (a collision of sweets and chocolate to create a new confectionary experience), all the while staying true to the brand.

Words: Natalie Candy

Natalie Candy is a senior planner at Coley Porter Bell.