Does Byron Sharp’s Philosophy Work for Innovation?

Can marketers use Byron Sharp’s principles to help them launch successful innovations?

In his book, How Brands Grow: What Marketers Don’t Know, Byron Sharp outlines a theory about brand marketing and offers marketers several rules to follow to achieve brand growth.

Specifically, Sharp asserts that it is penetration growth and not loyalty that is critical to brand success. While Sharp’s advice focuses on how to grow existing brands, marketers should be asking if his principles apply to new product development as well.

In other words, can marketers use Sharp’s principles to help them launch successful innovations? By definition, a new product does not have an existing buyer base at the time of launch and therefore the arguments about the relative merits of customer retention vs. acquisition do not apply. Likewise, an innovation does not have a memory structure in the minds of consumers – unless it is a line or brand extension, in which case a memory structure may be inferred from the parent brand.

However, given the high proportion of new product launches that are either a line or brand extension, we can make logical connections as to how several of Sharp’s principles should apply to innovation.

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Media & Brand Communication