NEW YORK — As the number of product launches escalates, so do the chances for failure, prompting longtime industry consultant Suzanne Grayson to come up with a numerical system that she said will score a product’s potential for success.

Called Brand Audit, it’s a system designed either to gauge a new product’s chances, or to measure the potential for revitalization of an existing brand by sizing up its strengths and weaknesses versus the competition.

The system focuses on five areas of the marketing mix: product, positioning, consumer appeal, competition and marketing potential. In addition, there are 29 subcategories of measurement, with numerical scores providing a weighted analysis. On a scale of 100, a score of 80 or more “indicates strong potential for success,” Grayson said. “Less than that demonstrates serious need for improvement and [shows] exactly where those improvements should be made.”

Grayson, president of Grayson Associates, based in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., and New York, said that in her consulting experience, companies often rely on “narrowcast thinking” when it comes to new product launches. Products often are based on technology, are conceived out of competitive pressure or come about simply to mark an anniversary of a previous launch.

“Rarely is a new product concept put through the paces of the marketing mix to determine its true potential,” she stated. “And certainly, there is no disciplined methodology for evaluating a variety of new product ideas to assay which ones will have the best long-range potential. In addition, sagging products or brands may be put through the same system to uncover strategic weaknesses, or sometimes hidden strengths, to provide the basis for stimulating growth.”

This story first appeared in the July 21, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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