The Product Development Journey
Updated: Dec 8, 2021
The journey of each product, whether it is software or a new chocolate bar, begins with an idea. Later it takes on a form and value for both the development team and the end-user.
The journey from an idea to a finalized product in the hands of the consumer can be divided into the following stages:
Producing and Promoting
Think and try to determine at what stage of the product development you are. You may already be at the branding stage, but you forgot to develop a test sample to make sure that you have chosen the right material, shapes, and the product performs its function correctly.
Even at the stage when you had the idea to develop a new product, you need to make sure that it is unique and has no analogs. This will allow you to create a unique selling proposition and attract consumers.
Explore the market. You need to understand if there is a market for your product, how you can enter the market, how competitors act, and whether they exist at all. As part of market research, you need to pay attention to standardization. Determine if there are generally accepted standards for such products, whether licenses are needed. If so, find out how you can get them.
Who is the target audience (TA) of the product? There is no point in developing a product if you don't understand who your product may be useful to. The TA research will determine the audience's needs, problems, the communication channels through which it is possible to deliver product information as efficiently as possible.
Concept development. Before starting on the production, it is necessary to develop its concept. The task is to understand what need or problem of the consumer it will solve, what materials will be used, how the product will look, etc.
The development of a product prototype includes the creation of sketches, 3D-modeling, cost of production of one unit of the product. Having a prototype, you can understand how the product meets the consumer expectations, which elements require refinement and the initial cost of the product. It is recommended to make one more research - to provide a potential consumer with a prototype and collect feedback. If we are talking about a chocolate bar, then it is worth giving a try to those who may later buy it in a store.
Based on the analysis of the prototype and the feedback received, develop a second, updated, improved prototype. It is necessary to go through all the same stages again - analysis, cost calculation, feedback, etc. Often, before we get a polished product without branding and mass production, it is necessary to develop 3 or more prototypes. Each next one is better, more functional, “tastier” than the previous one.
Branding is not only the product naming and package design. Branding includes product positioning, development of a logo, color scheme, tone of voice, package prototyping, etc.
Branding should make your product visible and different from peers if any.
Branding is a complex process that requires time to research and analyze the competitors, similar products, and the formation of consumer perception of the product. Paid extra attention to the development of packaging, logo, naming because this is what attracts consumers.
Having a ready-made branded product, you can begin to search for investors who want to not only see or touch but also try it and understand why it is better than others and worthy of financing.
Each product must be legally protected - registered as a trademark. If the product itself or the production technology is unique, then you need to contact the patent office for a consultation.
Registering the product will allow you to check whether its name is already being used by someone else. Of course, a check for the occupation of such a name should be carried out at the branding stage. The registration of the product will ensure that the name is free.
Legal protection of the product will steer it clear from replicas and fakes using the same name or the use of the brand name, identity, etc. without your permission as the copyright holder. In addition, without registering a product, you simply cannot legally sell it.
Product production and promotion
At the production stage, you should have a clearly developed manufacturing process, the necessary equipment, and sustainable relationships with partners and suppliers, agreements with points of sale, etc. All this can ensure continuous production and sales of the product.
It is recommended to start production and sales with the manufacture of a test batch. For example, you produce 50 chocolate bars, smooth the production process, and test salespoints. In case you notice interruptions in this or that process - fix the mistakes and change approaches.
Do not forget about promotion, because without it, no one will know your product. The analysis of the target audience that you carried out at the stage product viability will help you determine the promotion channels. The definition of an effective promotion channel, as well as testing of distribution channels, is experienced.
We thank Brandrefinery.co.uk for the detailed infographic of the product development process.