The key to a successful product launch: start with why

October 23, 2014
Angi Krueger Vice President, Marketing/Business Development

When you start with meaning, it resonates and creates an emotional connection beyond features and benefits – it makes people feel connected to something far bigger than the product or service you are offering. That connection creates a bond that can result in creating a sense of urgency – and fulfillment of the human need to be part of something bigger.

And that motivates action.

It’s fun to help strategize, solidify a brand and its position, message and design – and, when the work comes, see our ideas come to life. But to set the professionalism aside, sit back as a consumer, and witness a product launch live and in person is an amazing experience.  And I freely admit, I am one of those “Apple geeks” who watches every new Apple keynote online.

Each year I set out to attend at least one new conference. This year I decided to attend Dreamforce. Big name speakers are on the list every year, and this year was no different: Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff, Hillary Clinton, Tony Robbins, Al Gore and Will.I.Am. Wait. Will.I.Am? I wondered why exactly he was speaking, and not performing his newest song.

What could I possibly learn from him?

The session wasn’t just a speaking engagement for Will.I.Am. It was a product launch of a new wearable technology called PULS that he invented. Yes, the Black Eyed Peas singer and producer not only has a passion for music, but I learned very quickly he is a visionary business leader.

Will.I.Am could have worked with another company to bring his idea to life. Instead, he decided to do it on his own with his own funding and his own team of engineers and developers. He is taking on the big dogs in the industry. The vision behind PULS was to bridge the gap between fashion and technology. I won’t go into too many details about his new wearable technology, but I have to say, it’s impressive. I would have expected it to come from Apple. Or Google. But certainly not Will.I.Am.

There’s one very important element that resonated over and over during the launch event that makes me believe this new wearable technology will be a success: Will.I.Am started with WHY.

Why did this hip hop artist invest his fortune to bridge the gap between fashion and tech? Because he wanted to give back – by using technology to empower young children in areas like Boyle Heights, Los Angeles (where he grew up) to create a better life for themselves.

As he was in the process of inventing PULS, he started an after school program in Boyle Heights to strengthen education and teach students about app development. He brought one of his ‘star’ students on stage during the launch to describe how this program took her from being a below average student to an A student – and led her to develop an app that will be integrated into the PULS. The student brought the audience to tears as she described her experience and thanked the hip hop star for giving her the opportunity of a lifetime. She announced to the crowd of thousands that her goal is to attend MIT when she graduates from high school, all because of what Will.I.Am did for her and their community.

As stated in Simon Sinek’s book “Start With Why“, WHY is the thing that inspires us and inspires those around us. When motivated by WHY, success happens.

Will.I.Am stood on stage for more than an hour speaking from his heart. Yes, there were oohs and ahhs over the cool new features, but he kept coming back to why he pursued his dream to develop this product. As I’ve learned over the years of being in the branding business, and as a brand-concious consumer myself, I know WHY inspires people to act.

Good thing PULS wasn’t available for purchase when I walked out the door. Enough said.


Angi Krueger is Core’s vice president of marketing and business development. After many years working as an art director, she is instrumental in developing the strategic direction for both our clients and ourselves. Follow Angi on Twitter @angikrueger.

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