You never know where the next great product idea will come from!

You never know where the next great product idea will come from!

Everyone thinks that big product launches are developed in some super-secretive underground product lab in the middle of the mountains. Researchers are held up for years devising new products for a brand, conducting months of research, building prototypes, spending millions on branding, etc.

Quill.com is living proof that this isn’t always the case. Your company’s next big product launch might come right from you, your co-workers and customers. Here’s how Quill.com’s latest product idea was born:

Quill.com’s social media team was getting ready to publish their weekly content on Facebook. Content that does really well with our followers are “life hacks” (i.e. how to use everyday products to help you with the simple problems in your life). Our copywriter extraordinaire, Kim, came up with a “life hack” for ensuring we drink more water during our work day. See the photo below. Pretty straightforward, right? Well, who would have known that this was the best thing since sliced bread?

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It’s an understatement to say this resonated really well within the social community. For those not quite familiar with social media metrics, 2k shares and 12k likes are very respectable numbers. Some of the more impactful comments:

“I need to do this! Lol”

“This picture of a water bottle has over 10,000 likes meanwhile my selfie once got 90.”

“I need one of these since I need to drink more water now yuck”

“Where is this cup at because I want it”

We knew we were onto something. We made a beeline to our director of innovation and pitched the idea, and from there we all worked our magic in a few short weeks to bring this to our customers.

Here are some things we learned in the last few weeks that allowed us to bring this to market quickly:

  1. Think small: In this case, too many cooks in the kitchen could have been our demise. Keep your “go-to-market” team small. Make decisions fast. Don’t over think it…progress over perfection.
  2. Crawl before you walk: You don’t have to launch an item with a million items in inventory. Start small, sell out in record time and add more.
  3. Surprise and delight: When this product does come to life, don’t forget to acknowledge those that came up with the idea, helped get it rolling, etc. For the water bottle, we’re reaching out to a few Facebook fans that initially showed excitement and are sending them a free one as a “random act of kindness”.

You may be wondering where you can find your company’s next big product idea or service. Ideas are everywhere. Suggest to the owners to hold a brainstorming meeting, read people’s comments on your social media channels and have your sales force talk to their customers and ask them for ideas.

So, in the end, this really isn’t about how great this water bottle idea was (which it was, and I’m personally drinking so much more water now …); it’s more about keeping your eyes and ears open around you for new product or service ideas for your company.

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