Before we start the concept of branding, we will consider the product life cycle and consumers’ preferences on adopting new products.We have talked about the product life cycle in the previous lessons. Product life cycle exists for product class and product form.

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Product class refers to the entire product category or industry, such as video game consoles.

Product form refers to the variations within the class. Such examples for video games include Sony"s PSP, Nintendo"s Wii, etc.

Product Life Cycle and Consumers

As products go through a life cycle, consumers adopt the products based on their own preferences. Some people are interested in trying the new products as early as possible while other people wait until they see their network of family/friends use the item.

The figure below shows the consumer population that is divided into five categories.


Product Adopters. Product adopters in the consumer population: innovators (2.5%), early adopters (13.5%), early majority (34%), late majority (34%), and laggards (16%).

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In many cases the success of products depends on the reviews of innovators and early adopters. If they have a good experience, it encourages early majority, late majority, and laggard categories to go ahead and take an interest in the new product.

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As marketers, we are interested in the factors that potentially would affect whether a consumer will adopt a new product.

Stop and Think Question:What would companies do to try to stimulate initial trial of new products?

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The initial trial of new products is critical to their success. Companies invest in applications to encourage the trial. Some examples are as follows:

warrantiesmoney-back guaranteesextensive usage instructionsdemonstrationsfree samples

1. Hershey"s chocolate bars have been marketed for more than 100 years, and are still a tremendous success, with a loyal following of consumers. The company is advertising to hold its market share, and it has introduced several distinctive new products. What stage of the product life cycle are Hershey"s chocolate bars competing in?