Social media is quickly becoming the go-to medium for product launches. It is taking over a market niche once ruled by television, email campaigns, and promotions. The speed with which social media makes impacts and is shared by users is what is so appealing to companies trying to make the biggest boom possible in the least amount of time (and with the least amount of money).
Brands like Pernod Ricard have recently broken ground by creating a sponsored filter for the incredibly popular app Snapchat; a filter that turns users’ faces into pineapples after taking a sip of the new Pineapple Malibu line of the rum. Using social media to launch a new product (or re-introduce an old one) is a much faster and agiler way to deliver more impacts.
Patrick Venning, the UK marketing director for Pernod Ricard, says “Social is a core channel for all of our brands to drive engagement with our audience, especially during product launches, where we use social to drive buzz alongside more traditional channels.” This race to the market on social media is giving companies less time to work on product launches, and making their marketers be more focused so that they can create more brand connection and show results in less time.
To that end, one huge benefit of social media is that marketers have access to extensive marketing research more quickly through the use of tracking programs and statistics, making social media launches easier to track and see results.
Internet launches have drastically changed the way companies go about the process. They now can leak information to reporters, use bloggers and consumers, give exclusive prizes or products to brand advocates, or even seed new products with influencers. This new landscape makes the playing field more level for brands of all different sizes (and budgets).
And while internet chatter about a new product can be a boon in terms of the quantity of people talking about and reacting to it, it can also be a disaster if the trolls come out and show their ugly heads. Many people, especially Millennials and the iGeneration, are now placing more value in peer-to-peer reviews—even if they are from complete strangers. According to studies, consumers now reference six or more sources of information before they will buy a new product.
So while internet launches are great to build brand awareness and cause impacts, they can be tricky to navigate when it comes to really building brand value and loyalty. Brands must be creative and intelligent in their approach to a launch in the ever-changing world of social media.