Welcome to our RaceFit™ Focus series, a programme of content exploring the seven key building blocks that underpin a successful brand. The Red Tree’s innovative RaceFit™ programme launched earlier this year to help brands evaluate their fitness level. Easily completed in 25 minutes via an online platform, in an industry first, feedback is instant via a detailed, bespoke report full of expert advice, precisely engineered to get a brand RACEFIT™.
In this article we are exploring ‘New Product Development’. With new routes to market, increased competition and consumers demanding the latest product innovations, never has product innovation been so important to drive growth, ensure your brand stands out and to keep your customers returning. But how to best manage the NPD process to avoid costly mistakes? Founded in 2001, Belinda Roberts heads up Snowbell Management, a London based consultancy specialising in the development and marketing of bespoke beauty brands. Belinda has over 25 years’ experience in the beauty industry in product development, marketing and international business development roles.
New Product Development Without The Costly Errors
Since starting my brand and product development consultancy in 2001, the industry is just as vibrant and fast moving as it was back then. With new, more flexible routes to market, the boom in social media and exciting developments in active ingredients and packaging, these changes have created more space for niche brands to thrive. Propelled by consumer demand, a growing and increasingly competitive market, never has product innovation been so important to drive growth, ensure your brand stands out and to keep your customers returning. Product Development sits at the heart of the business and with the pressure to deliver successful, state-of-the-art products in as short a time frame as possible, here are a few tips to smooth the process and reduce costly errors.
Once you have moved past idea generation, tested your concept and carried out all relevant research, prepare a detailed Product Brief for each SKU. This is both a creative and commercial activity and should include the main purpose and benefits, desired claims, technical parameters, cost target, markets to be sold in, pack style and so on. This is a collaborative procedure so get key stakeholders’ involvement and buy-in before you get underway in the lab or with the design team.
Essential to ensure you stay on track and manage expectations. But this isn’t simply a tick box exercise, managed correctly it should allow sufficient time to explore creative options within the parameters of the Brief, whether this is in packaging design or assessing different formulations or fragrances. Squeeze this time too much and you risk pushing through a sub-standard, compromised product. A simple spreadsheet with week dates along the top and grouped tasks down the left hand column is sufficient although more complex software is around if that’s your thing. Check progress against it weekly and ensure your manufacturer is in agreement with the key dates.
Keep decision making clear, tight and focused. Be clear about who is ultimately responsible for signing off key milestones, usually the brand owner. Woolly approvals, changes of mind and inviting everyone’s opinion causes delays and can compromise the end product by trying to please too many people. As they say, a camel is a racehorse designed by a committee! Involve a wider internal audience at panel test stage, if that is part of your business plan.
Claims Substantiation and Regulatory Clearance
Do your research thoroughly on this and don’t leave it until two days before artwork is needed. All claims should be agreed, with the help of your chemist or regulatory consultant, at Product Brief stage. This can trip you up if you don’t plan this in advance and be careful of copying competitor claims, they may not have been verified or they may have clinical trial data to support their claims.
Product Development is an exciting, fast moving and rewarding part of the business and innovation and creativity are best served when a solid foundation of agreed processes are in place to optimise productivity and ensure what comes off the production line meets or exceeds everyone’s expectations, especially the consumer’s.
The Red Tree is the UK’s leading international beauty brand consultancy and a powerhouse of ideas, insight and inspiration. For an informal discussion on how we might help you, please contact us.
Middle East Beauty Hub
Explore our series of articles uncovering the intersection of tradition, innovation, and regulation within the nuanced Middle Eastern beauty markets.
Female Founders: The Lip Gloss Gap
Our series of articles highlighting how the UK beauty industry plays a vital part in closing the female fundraising gap.
New to the beauty industry? Our Founder Hub series brings together an array of articles covering topics from the costs of starting a new brand, to our recommended branding agencies.
Meet The Team
Get to know each of The Red Tree team members with our interview series. From our favourite campaigns to tips on how to enter the beauty industry.
Our series of articles exploring our fitness test for beauty brands. The unique RaceFit™ questionnaire allows you to quickly review the 7 building blocks crucial to brand success.
The Beauty Accelerator™
Read our series of articles focusing on The Beauty Accelerator™, which sees one emerging independent beauty brand receive equity investment plus the knowledge and expertise of The Red Tree.
Is RaceFit™ for me?
Is RaceFit™ right for my brand?
RaceFit™ assessment is beneficial to any brand at any stage of their journey. If you are: - A start up looking for direction and guidance - An established brand seeking an overall ‘health check’ - A brand in crisis urgently seeking direction on priorities - An international brand looking to expand into the UK market - A brand ready to take their ‘next step’ looking for guidance in preparation for growth, international expansion or expanding distribution then RaceFit™ is for you!
What if I am unsure of how to answer a question?
You should answer honestly and instinctively. Very often your initial response will be the most accurate. If you don’t understand a question, or are having difficulty knowing how to answer questions please do get in touch.Contact Us
I am based outside of the UK, can I complete RaceFit™?
Yes, the RaceFit™ self-assessment programme is entirely virtual so you can get started straight away, no matter where in the world you are.
Any company entering The Beauty Accelerator™ competition must be based and registered in the UK.
The scheme by which investment into the winning brand will be made is the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS). You must be eligible for SEIS to enter The Beauty Accelerator but you do not need to be registered for SEIS. You can be in the process of applying for SEIS and receiving Advanced Assurance from HMRC, which is free of charge to obtain and certifies to investors that the criteria necessary to qualify for SEIS have been met by the company at the time of the application. You do however need to be SEIS registered at the point of investment.Click here For further information about SEIS
As is the case with all equity investments, the winning brand must be willing to provide equity stakes for both SFC Capital and The Red Tree. In addition, the winning brand might be required to pay a monthly fee for the duration of the 12 month period of assistance from The Red Tree. The size of the equity stakes for both SFC Capital and The Red Tree are unknown at this stage and will be based on the valuation of the business at the time of investment. The value of the monthly fee to The Red Tree will be determined by the scope of work required by The Red Tree and will be agreed in consultation with the winning brand. The equity stake, monthly fee and scope of work will be discussed in further detail with short listed brands during the interview stage.
Brands that applied for The Beauty Accelerator™ 2022 can apply for The Beauty Accelerator™ 2024.
Applicant brands should ideally have proof of concept – the business should ideally be in operation with at least one product currently retailing on the market, an existing website in operation and a number of months of trading.
Under exceptional circumstances, brands that are at concept stage will be considered.
There should be a team in place or a willingness to take on a co-founder at an early stage.
A business plan must be in place and submitted as part of your application to demonstrate the revenue that can be delivered.
The business should not be valued at more than £1,000,000.
All R&D should be completed as funds invested will only be used for marketing and commercial activity.
If you are short listed, you must be available to attend the virtual shortlist interview. It is likely that short listed brands will be required to attend more than one virtual interview.
If you are a Finalist, you must be able to attend The Beauty Accelerator™ Final, either virtually or in-person.
You cannot apply for or already be in the process of applying for another accelerator or incubator during the period December 2023 to December 2024.
If you are selected as a finalist, and if you go on to win The Beauty Accelerator™, you must agree to exposure of you and your brand through The Red Tree’s, SFC Capital’s and Freeths online and social channels and a possible marketing campaign.
Confirmation of the winning brand is subject to SEIS eligibility confirmation, agreement on equity stake and The Red Tree fee, and completion of due diligence.
"*" indicates required fields