Injecting new life into the product life cycle
A Nestlé case study

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Page 1: Injecting new life into a brand

The Polo mint is a British institution - 'The mint with the hole'. Everyone is familiar with Polo and can clearly distinguish the brand from other products. The pack has its own distinctive colour and shape. As with most established brands, there comes a time when they need a bit of a facelift to inject new life into them. Markets are in a constant state of change and the life of a product is the period over which it appeals to customers. The product life cycle charts the life of the product from its launch until its eventual decline. In the course of time rival products come along and begin to take away some of a brand's market share. It is at this time when the enlightened business will take stock and make sure that it wins back its prime position. The Smarties brand offers a classic example of this in recent times.

In the late 80s M&Ms moved into a market which had been dominated by Smarties for a long time. Fortunately the warning signals were recognised and new life was injected into the brand by bringing out blue Smarties, 'Gruesome Greenies' Smarties and other extensions to the brand. The net effect was to revitalise it. So, if a firm wants to revitalise the life cycle of a product or brand, it is essential to invest in its development. This means not only putting a lot of work into the product before it is launched. Once it is on the market, it is also necessary periodically to inject new life into the product.

Injecting new life can be done in a number of ways including:

  • Changing the product to better meet the needs and wants of consumers.
  • Using price to influence market share e.g. change prices relative to those of the competition.
  • Altering patterns of distribution e.g. by making the product more widely available.
  • Changing the style of promotion; for example, by creating brand awareness through advertising and promotions which show the additional benefits of new aspects of a product.

Nestlé | Injecting new life into the product life cycle