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Ride the Hype Cycle

You may have just recently sensitized your organization to the need to understand and analyze what patients are saying online about your brand prior to, during, and after launch. At Return on Focus, we’ve been helping to answer this question for brands by conducting social media monitoring or what we call Sentiment Analyses for almost six years now.

During this time, we have observed a distinctive pattern to consumer sentiment toward new product launches in biopharma, and it turns out that these patterns are similar, whether the product is the latest cutting-edge biotechnology product or the next evolution in primary care. This established pattern of new product sentiment can be easily explained and illustrated through the hype cycle.

The hype cycle is an established phenomenon that shows how consumer sentiment for a new product reaches its heights during the development and peri-launch phases prior to widespread consumer experience with the product. This is know as the ‘peak of inflated expectations.’ As consumers gain or hear of real world experiences with the new product, they invariably fail to live up to their initially unrealistic hopes and expectations. This causes consumer sentiment to drop significantly as consumers confront product realities (e.g. side effects, lack of efficacy, etc.). This second phase is aptly named the ‘trough of disillusionment.’

Eventually, sentiment rebounds and normalizes through the slope of enlightenment, as consumers accept that although your product may not match their initial hopes or hype, it is recognized as an improvement on what was previously available. This is known as the ‘real world product reality’ stage.

Hype Cycle
*Adapted from Jackie Fenn, “When to Leap on the Hype Cycle,” Gartner Group, January 1, 1995

After analyzing over sixty products a year in all stages of product launch, we have been able to apply the hype cycle consistently. It turns out that the hype cycle is such a natural part of human behavior that it affects new products in all industries from fitness to pharma. Understanding and making marketing decisions based on new product sentiment truly depends on where you brand is within the hype cycle.

So, now that you know what to expect with regard to sentiment for your new product, what do you do about it? Give us a call, and let us help you ride the hype cycle for your brand.

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