From a PR point of view, the release of a new product or service is an exciting milestone. It's an opportunity to not only emerge as an industry leader, but also boost your brand's visibility. However, as comprehensive media analysis tools can reveal, it's rare that your entire target market will respond to the initial launch. Instead, PR pros will need to initially rely on a small but important segment to gauge the success of their new products.
The importance of targeting early adopters
We're talking, of course, about early adopters. This slice of the pie offers a wealth of information, as they're some of the most vocal consumers you're likely to encounter. They're also not afraid to criticise organisations as a whole, and a campaign that doesn't take these factors into account can literally make or break a new product.
The need to be conscious of early adopters is particularly pronounced in Asia-Pacific, which is home to the most adventurous populations on the planet when it comes to embracing emerging commodities. In fact, 69 per cent of people in the region purchased a new product in their last grocery-shopping trip, according to research from Nielsen. This puts Asia-Pacific far head of both Europe (44 per cent) and North America 31 (per cent).
Singapore leads the way when it comes to new technology
— Frank Cintamani (@FrankCintamani) August 9, 2015
Perhaps nowhere is this culture of early adoption more prevalent than in Singapore. The tiny city-state recently celebrated its 50th birthday, during which former U.S. Ambassador to Singapore Frank Lavin discussed the role embracing new ideas has helped mould the country into the economic powerhouse it is today.
"The fundamental strength of Singapore is its high capacity for internationalisation, for technology and adaptation," said Mr Lavin, as quoted by CNBC.
A high level of disposable income, combined with a culture of technological curiosity and a stable infrastructure to support emerging products has made the country into a natural breeding ground for early adopters. Those who are cognisant of this fact and prepared to use media analytics tools to leverage this information will get the most out of marketing in Singapore.
Why is this important from a PR perspective?
Singapore, the land of early adopters, presents an exciting opportunity to savvy PR pros.
For PR professionals, understanding Singapore's relationship with early adopters is essential for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it gives you a good idea of the platforms your brand's key influencers will be using. For example, the country has a smartphone penetration of 87 per cent, according to Media Research Asia, which indicates that your organisation should have a mobile-optimised website and have a strong presence on social platforms to ensure maximum exposure.
Secondly, it will influence the way in which you implement marketing strategies. The campaign you'd use to launch a product in technologically conservative North America, for instance, will be substantially different to how you might market a commodity in Singapore.
So, what can you do to run a more effective campaign in this country?
1. Include the details
In many markets, an organisation may form a marketing strategy that concentrates around the style and simplicity of a product or service. However, the same game plan may not prove to be fruitful in Singapore.
As noted, local early adopters are naturally tech savvy and therefore will probably appreciate the in-depth details of your new offering. By demonstrating its technical prowess, you may be able to convince more of your target market to sit up and take notice of the product and your brand.
2. Encourage them to spread the word
Encourage your key influencers to discuss your new product or service on social platforms.
Early adopters are opinion leaders. A new release that receives a warm reception at launch is likely to go on to become a successful product.
With this in mind, think about developing a strategy that encourages early adopters to talk about your latest offering both in real life and in the digital space. This might include running real-world competitions or incentivising discussion on online platforms through competitions and giveaways. Social media monitoring solutions may help you identify the most effective avenue for your efforts.
3. Respond to their concerns thoughtfully
Generally speaking, early adopters will be both your loudest and largest critics. This can be good, as they'll help identify weaknesses in your product and give you an opportunity to respond to their concerns. However, if you're not careful with how you react, it could negatively impact your brand's reputation.
The takeaway from this, of course, is to think very carefully about how you interact with this market segment. Being honest, transparent and showing that you take their concerns seriously demonstrates you value them as consumers and thought leaders.
This is doubly on social media, where poorly developed responses from organisations can go viral in a matter of minutes, not only damaging the product launch but potentially spelling disaster for the entire brand.