Five Steps to a Leak-Proof Product Launch

Brand content protection

May 3, 2022

Five Steps to a Leak-Proof Product Launch

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How can brands outsmart professional leakers to ensure a successful product launch? Working alongside global clients to safeguard their digital assets, we’ve created a step-by-step leak-proof product launch checklist. Using our proven checklist, your teams and stakeholders are set for a successful launch.

 

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When you’re preparing for an important product launch, the pressure is on to surprise and delight your customers. Unfortunately, as customer anticipation builds, so do the risks of an unplanned leak. 

In our hyper-connected world, ensuring a leak-proof launch is becoming more and more challenging. Hybrid and virtual events, big and small, are at risk of being spoiled by a pre-announcement leak of coveted product images, renders, price, specifications, and more.

And product leaks are likely on the rise.

As momentum builds for a new product, the proliferation of rumors and speculation incites professional leakers to dig deep for confidential information starting as early as product development up to launch day.

#1 - How do leaks happen?

It is important that your teams understand how leaks can happen and what incites them. Globally recognized brands have long been plagued by the risks of leaks of highly confidential product information. These brands go to extreme lengths to ensure that at each step of the process, leaks are minimized. And some companies go even as far as hiring secrecy specialists.  

As a leak can happen throughout the product development and launch processes, it is critical that your teams understand that all information is prone to an innocent or intentional leak. Of course, some brands intentionally leak information, thinking this tactic will incite more excitement, keep customers from buying a competitor's product or even escape potential leaks. 

Tips for ensuring teams know what can happen:

  • Discuss how prolific leakers work and what incites them to leak information on their social media profiles and its impact on sales. 
  • Show how counterfeiters and scammers benefit from product specifications, renders, and digital images to manufacture products, often at the risk of customer safety.
  • Explain how intellectual property information in patent or regulator databases is open for misuse by professional leakers.
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#2 - Who benefits from leaks and at what cost?

Unintentional product leaks spread fast and can start from anywhere in the world. 

Prolific leakers gain fame by tweeting price points and product features — often polarizing buyers torn between current and future models. When leaks happen, company sales often take a hit. 

Leaks aren’t always just descriptive features. The most damaging leaks involve digital images. Thus, providing counterfeiters and scammers the opportunity to launch fake products on or before launch—damaging even further brand image and even putting customer safety at risk. It can also mean a loss in competitive advantage.

Tips for foreseeing the potential consequences of a leak:

  • Fall in sales: sales drop of current models, loss of competitive advantage, and contractual issues.
  • Costly launch campaigns are spoiled: A compromised launch due to diminished 'buzz' surrounding the launch, valuable time and money loss, and compromised team trust.
  • Bad press: damaged brand image by the amateur quality of communications by fans and leakers, reluctant and frustrated customers, lowered product adoption due to poor quality of leaked information.
  • Counterfeits and fakes hit the market faster: risk of new product design, features, or price revealed before launch. Non-compliance with brand standards and brand image degradation.
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#3 - What information is critical when preparing a product launch?

Your teams and stakeholders need to understand what information is susceptible to leaks. Defining a clear list and ensuring that everyone knows what information needs to be protected is essential. This includes product prototypes, renders, digital images, specifications, and prices.

In understanding the types of information that are confidential and at risk of potential unauthorized leaks, your teams can better foresee where risks lie in the processes they are directly involved in.

Tips to ensuring teams know what information is at risks

  • Discuss with your teams about what information is confidential and where leaks could happen
  • Define critical information: product features, price, formats, and availability. 
  • Cross-reference critical information to where it resides and in what formats (text, photos, scans, videos, renders, and databases).
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#4 - Who is in charge of protecting information

A new product launch is an endeavor built upon teamwork. As the number of stakeholders increases, so does the risk of a leak. With so many people involved, controlling and monitoring who has access to important content is challenging for brands, especially as teams and third-party stakeholders are often located in varying locations.  

That's why it is essential to put in place processes to secure the flow of product information starting as early as from the point of product development until its release. 

Tips for putting in place secure workflows and processes

  • List all stakeholders requiring access to critical information. Be sure to include third-party stakeholders as they need to uphold to the same level of confidentiality as internal stakeholders. The list of stakeholders includes operations in R&D, marketing, channel marketing, and press relation and communications, among others.
  • Set rules of who and how critical information is shared. It's good to map out workflows to spot where leaks can happen. It's also essential to secure platforms and safeguard access to specific information.
  • Communicate risks and what’s at stake to all stakeholders. This can mean even defining specific “secrecy specialist” job roles to team members.
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#5 - Launch day blitz!

Once the big day is over, it’s time to celebrate and thank team members for a job well done! It’s important to recap a successful launch, understand what made it go well, and set key learnings for future launches.

Tips to future-proof product launches 

  • Monitor launch success and understand where improvements are required.
  • Analyze product and video usage patterns to understand better how digital content is used and the preferred types of content.
  • Discuss among teams where difficulties happened and how these can be overcome in the future

To learn where potential leaks can happen in your workflow and how to protect your product launches, download our Leak-Proof Product Launch Checklist.

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