No brand sets out to be small—many are simply limited by the resources and distribution available to them. Yet there is a critical difference between a small brand successful in its footprint and a slow-turning SKU that manages to maintain its presence. When strong Year 1 velocities are key to a new product’s long-term success1, what enables these latter types of “small” innovations to succeed?
To answer this question, we reviewed more than 2,800 new product SKUs within the last five years, across 18 categories. We analyzed the number and types of SKUs with low-ranking velocities in Year 1 that sustained long term. And for an even deeper understanding, we investigated the characteristics of these SKUs, concept testing approximately 20 of them in primary research. Ultimately, a number of commonalities emerged that help to explain why the small can still—sometimes—succeed.
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