The Formula To Guarantee Successful NPD

What drives those successful NPDs and brilliant consumer product innovations that make you think:


“Got it”


“Why didn’t I think of that?”

From experience we know that consumers are overwhelmed and looking for reasons NOT to buy your product. So to get the “no-brainer” effect it’s got be fast and simple, yet both reassuring and exciting. It sounds impossible. But actually the magic special formula boils down to the concoction of four simple ingredients…

1. Familiar & therefore safe

2. Established & therefore easily understood

3. Clearly useful & therefore low risk

4. New & therefore exciting

Just in case you don’t believe it’s this simple, let’s look at some good examples:

1. Familiar & Therefore Safe

nakd bakewell tart flavour bar, walkers chip shop chicken curry crisps and a dairy milk ritz bar

These innovation “ingredients” sprinkle-in the essence of something familiar to make something that could be a bit scary more acceptable and safe:

  • Walkers’ Chip Shop Curry Sauce flavour – Curry sauce flavour might have raised too many questions, Tikka Masala? Korma? Madras? But everyone is familiar with the flavour of chip shop curry sauce – and familiar with the concept of pouring it over potatoes (chips)
  • Nak’d Bakewell Tart – Nakd brand has until now launched similar snacks that are much more ambiguous – these are scary and harder to engage with for example: Nakd Crunch and Nakd Bits. What on earth are they?? But Nakd Bakewell Tart gives plenty of clues to the experience you can expect
  • Cadbury Dairy Milk Ritz – Sweet & salty flavours are only just beginning to penetrate the UK consumer market in a significant way. Sweet and salty is not an established part of food culture in the UK. But, there is trend emerging – we are seeing salted caramel variants popping up here and there. Cadbury deftly brings down the barriers by using the familiar and harmless Ritz brand to make choccy-salty more accessible

2. Established & Therefore Easily Understood

These innovation “ingredients” steal or borrow from concepts, principles and ideas that have been established by other categories to help make the product concept more quickly and easily understood

  • Pilgrims choice “Pick n Mix” borrow from the classic pick n mix sweet counter concept to communicate clearly their benefits of personal choice, freedom and variety
  • Jungle Formula “IRF factor” borrow from the “UV protection factor” notion in the adjacent category of suncream to help communicate strengths of their products and drive different usage occasions for each product
  • “All you can eat” data this example steals the “all-you-can-eat” phrasing from the food service industry to help communicate unlimited data usage in a consumer friendly, instant manner for telecoms/broadband

3. Clearly, Simply, Useful & Therefore Low Risk

Ella's kitch strawberries and apples 100% organic fruit, vaseline spray and go moisturiser and a can of batiste dry shampoo for medium brunetts

Such an obvious inclusion – but true “No-brainer” product concepts solve one clear problem – they don’t try to do it all and the communication is focused and clear. The potential “reward” to the consumer is so clear it helps mitigate their perceived risk and fear of it going wrong, i.e. not delivering against needs and expectations

  • Ella’s Kitchen Pouches portable, lightweight, re-sealable, freshness of foil – the real ingenuity of this was that the structural packaging speaks for itself
  • Vaseline Spray & Go moisturiser – solves an obvious problem, and does what it says on the tin
  • Batiste Dry Shampoo for Brunette Hair brunettes had previously been excluded somewhat from this category due to the white coloured residue the product leaves being difficult to blend in. Not only does this simply solve a category barrier – but in doing so it opens up a huge untapped market

4. New & Therefore Exciting

This is very obvious, a staple ingredient and intrinsic to NPD & Innovation. New is easy and your ideas barrel will be brimming with newness so we won’t go into further detail here. But suffice to say you won’t get to those products that absolutely click with consumers by simply launching a “me too”. So beware the “me too”! The enemy of brilliant consumer innovation.

Recipe Notes

So it’s a simple recipe…blend a dash of familiarity, one or two pre-established concepts or ideas and a huge splash of single-minded simplicity to your staple ingredient of newness. It is a tried and tested formula that creates successful NPD and innovation by leaving the consumer thinking “I ‘get’ it, I need it, I want it…I’ll buy it”.


Innovation Excellence