We’ve talked before about how important it is to have all of your ducks in a row before you launch your product into the public consciousness and the marketplace, because that moment can define your product more than anything else.
No matter how much work you put into the invention, design, engineering and marketing of your product, it might end up not mattering at all if you launch it incorrectly. That could mean rushing the launch, but it could also mean mishandling the timing or the strategy. As difficult as it might be to be patient, it’s better to take your time and succeed than suffer from a bad launch. Here are some examples of bad product launches and how they can hurt your product, and your company.
Don’t sacrifice thorough design testing in order to keep your launch date
Remember all those news stories about the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 and the design flaws that caused the phone to explode, catch fire, or overheat and burn the user’s hand? This was a disastrous issue that very probably could’ve been caught during the development process;there were two simple mistakes in the design process that caused the issue.
Those issues had not been resolved by the time the launch date was released, but Samsung released the phones anyway, resulting in a public relations nightmare and costing the company untold millions, both in recalling the product and losing the trust of consumers.
The lesson here is both to be thorough in the design process, but also to be willing to push back your launch date if need be.
Make sure your technology matches your concept
Fitbit, one of the most popular fitness monitoring systems in the country, has had at least two occasions when the idea behind what they were trying to do might have been bigger than the tools they had to create it.
The Fitbit Force, for example, was recalled after it caused allergic reactions in some consumers who used it, and the next products they released, the Charge HR and Surge monitors, had to be recalled because they were showing wildly different and inaccurate results in terms of heart rate and calories burned.
These failures caused repeated recalls, damaging the company’s reputation and financial bottom line. Perhaps the worst part of this instance is that the mistakes occurred repeatedly, suggesting a consistent misjudgment of the reliability of their technology.
Make consumer safety a top priority
Remember the scenes in Back To the Future II when Marty McFly hopped onto his hoverboard and floated through an exciting chase scene? That was pretty cool.
But the launch of the actual Hoverboard, though accompanied by a great deal of press, proved to be almost fatal when, much like the Samsung phones, the boards began overheating due to a flaw in their lithium ion batteries.
The manufacture of these boards was a first-time innovation, and there were no safety guidelines in existence for the company to follow. But in a case like that, it’s incumbent on the company to create the standard for safety and make sure it’s as high a standard as possible. It’s quite simply a responsibility if a company is moving into uncharted territory.
Be sensitive with the timing of your release, as well as your marketing materials
In 2016, the video game company EA Games released a new, highly-anticipated game called Battlefield 1, which took place during World War 1, and accompanied it with a tweet of a GIF featuring a soldier being engulfed by fire from a flamethrower, with the text “When you’re too hot for the club.”
In addition to being in extremely poor taste, the tweet went out just two weeks before Britain’s Remembrance Day, a holiday similar to Veterans Day in the United States.
Needless to say, an embarrassing controversy erupted, resulting in reams of bad press for the game and the company.
It’s important for a product to be innovative, safe and effective, but it’s also important that its timing and marketing are beyond reproach.
For more information on making your launch run smoothly, read “5 Expert Tips for Launching Your Product on Time.”