When Perfectionism Becomes Procrastination

If you’ve ever launched a new product, you know there are a myriad of details prior to launch – and rightfully so. But what happens when launches are delayed due to perfectionism?

Perhaps the most common example are inventors who, with the best intentions, over-engineer a product only to discover that the market won’t support the resulting price point. It then needs to be retooled and more time goes by – as does your patent timetable.

Not to be confused with due diligence or responsible development, perfectionism means taking so long to come to market that the market makes the decision for you. Or shall I say, your competitors do.

What does this have to do with branding? Here are 3 examples:

1. You Want To Stake Your Claim

Technology is moving at an unprecedented pace. Even the smallest innovation can make you a prime mover and provide a competitive edge. If you’ve done your due diligence, including trademark and patent filings, and you truly have a better mousetrap, get it out there and stake your claim. In fact, holding back on certain feature sets can extend the life of the product while building anticipation. Apple is a classic example. While me-too products start popping up, you’re already ahead of the curve and launching your next iteration. You stay on top.

2. You Define The Brand Experience

The great thing about being first is that you can set the bar while also creating entry barriers. You can also “give it a name” which provides another first-to-market advantage. Look at Band-Aid. Since 1920, people still refer to an adhesive bandage by the name of this iconic brand. Don’t cut corners on naming. It can pay huge dividends when approached professionally.

3. It’s a Big World Out There

Even while holding a few awarded or pending patents, like-minded companies or inventors are coming out with an alternative – sometimes, whether they know about your product or not. Here’s a personal example:

An information services company I consult for developed a truly revolutionary process for managing food product recalls. Maybe you heard about the infamous spinach recall or one involving the industrial chemical Melamine that was found laced in baby formula to falsely boost protein content. Nasty stuff. What many people don’t know is that it was first found in dog food.

It was my client who first connected the dots and provided early notification to the food industry to be on guard for any suppliers they had in the suspect region. Shortly after that, the infant formula scandal broke. They earned kudos, literally saved lives and were on the pulse of the market.

As their trade notoriety grew, and following significant patent investments, I encouraged them to move forward with the recall software development as quickly as possible to ensure a virtual monopoly on this process. We had numerous conference calls with developers, patent attorneys and confidential discussions with leading U.S. food companies. The timing was perfect. The market was ripe.

The result? They waited, wanting to make sure they covered every base.

Lo and behold, a watered-down version came out a year later that took the wind out of their sails. The patents helped to an extent but what they lost was their first-to-market advantage. Was the me-too better? Not even close. However, the same client base they were already serving had no choice but to consider and purchase the lesser model. They lost traction. They abdicated their position as a prime mover.


The moral of the story? If you’ve birthed your new product, brand it and get it out there because Branding Begins at Birth.

Next in the series: Buying Generic Diapers

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