Fulfil Unmet or Poorly Met Needs

An unmet need, or the tension between what is available and what is desirable, opens the door for new product ideas. It is a process of exploration that yields ideas such as the ones listed below:

Exhibit 9.4  Innovative Old Spice campaign – based on insights gleaned from the observation that some men use whatever body wash their woman buys for them.

  • The highly successful Old Spice men’s body wash campaign (Exhibit 9.4) of July 2010 (“Anything is possible when your man smells like Old Spice and not a lady”), which targeted women, was based on insights gleaned from the observation that “some men do not buy body wash, they use whatever their woman buys for them”. 
  • The Indian shampoo market soared in the 1990s after sachets packs were launched into the sub-continent. The availability of the low-cost sachets made it feasible for more consumers to use shampoo, at a time when the majority of the Indian population could not easily afford to buy shampoo bottles. (Observation: Shopkeepers in Indian villages split regular packs of products like detergent powder, into smaller single-use packs that their shoppers could pay for).
  • In 1986 P&G launched the first 2-in-1 shampoo, Pert Plus. Since then, a host of 2-in-1 and 3-in-1 products have been launched in categories that range from teas, coffees, and food mixes to thermopads and technology products. (Observation: Observation: People wash their hair twice. First with shampoo, then conditioner).
  • Diet Coke was launched in 1982 for those who wanted to drink Coca-Cola, but felt it contained too many calories. (Observation: “I like Coca-Cola. But I am cutting down, because it contains too many calories”).
  • Coca-Cola Zero, launched 22 years later, was the Coca-Cola Company’s most successful product after Diet Coke. It initially targeted people who wanted a cola drink that was low in calories and tasted like Coca-Cola. It also targeted men who associated “diet” drinks with women. (Observation: “I am health conscious, but I don’t like diet Coke because it doesn’t taste like real Coca-Cola, and because dieting is associated with women”).
New Product Ideas - Fulfilling Unmet or Poorly Met Needs - Heinz squeezable upside-down bottle

Exhibit 9.5   Heinz launched the squeezable upside-down bottle so that the ketchup can easily flow from the bottle.

  • Heinz has a tradition for thick, rich ketchup. Indeed, it is so thick that it does not flow easily, a point used to impress consumers in their classic “Heinz anticipation” advertisements that first appeared in the late 1970s (“Thick, rich Heinz Ketchup — the taste that’s worth the wait”). It was through innovation in packaging that subsequently neutralized this dissatisfier — the first squeezable Heinz bottle was introduced in 1983, and it was in 2001 that the upside-down bottle shown in Exhibit 9.5, made its debut. (Observation: “Heinz ketchup is so thick that it doesn’t flow”).
New Product Ideas - Fulfilling Unmet or Poorly Met Needs - Sony’s Walkman

Exhibit 9.6   Sony’s Walkman for people who wanted to listen to music on the go.

  • In 1978 Sony launched the legendary Walkman shown in Exhibit 9.6, for people who wanted to listen to music on the go. (Observation: “I would love to listen to my music on the go”).
  • The need to share information across its computers led to the development of ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) by the U.S. Department of Defence, in 1969. At that time, its broader significance may not have been fully appreciated … it took another 25 years for the advent of the World Wide Web. (Observation: [DoD] Keeping datasets across computers incurs waste of resources and time and may create data inconsistencies.).
  • In recent years cloud computing and software as a service are solutions that address the need for greater flexibility and improved efficiencies for businesses as well as individuals. (Observation: Software applications dispersed across individual devices become outdated and incompatible).

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