NPD – What Is It?

NPDI was invited to give a talk about the NPD process at the Making Cosmetics show in Birmingham, and I thought it would be something that might be of interest to a bigger audience. It would be great to help get the next Anita Roddick or Liz Earle get started.

NPD stands for New Product Development, and beauty is one of the industries where how well you come up with new products is really the thing that is the key to success.  In fact it isn’t really a question of success.  If you don’t continue to come up with new stuff that attracts attention you are pretty soon out of business.

There isn’t one single way of doing it, but this is the approach I think works best.  So this is my recipe for how to launch your world beating product.

Identify your strategic NPD goal

You really do need a strategy to make a success of the rest of the activities that flow from it.  It doesn’t need to be a detailed strategy – you are developing fast moving consumer goods not defeating Napoleon.  But nonetheless you do need to give it some kind of thought.  What kind of market are you aiming for, what sort of price point and so on.

Generate NPD ideas

The next stage is to generate some ideas.  Generate plenty, more than you’ll need.  Then you can pick the best ones.

Select NPD ideas

I think it is a good idea to select ideas in two stages – first of all evaluate which ideas look to have some potential and then choose the ones to act on.  That way you can build up a library of ideas to get back to later.


Most ideas need working on to turn them into something that is actually likely to work.  Don’t neglect this stage.

Draw up brief

Once the idea has become clear, you should be able to document in the form of a brief that defines what the people working to create the actual product have to do.

Once you have your brief, you can find someone to make it for you.  That is a whole new challenge in itself.  If this post is popular, I’ll do some more that go into more detail about the individual stages.

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3 thoughts on “NPD – What Is It?”

  1. As a consumer, I’m getting exhausted by the never ending avalanche of “fast moving consumer goods”. I’m always happy to look at something that’s based on a real change or discovery, at least when it comes to skin care. But there is so much duplication, nowadays I tend to stick to tried and tested brands.

    1. That’s an interesting point Ali. There seem to be more brands with more varieties than ever. Are consumers suffering from full shelf fatigue?

  2. This consumer certainly is.It has to be exhausting and expensive for companies too. Perhaps we all need to step off the hamster wheel for a while. The global economy won’t suffer for one less mascara or pot of face cream.

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