Last time up in the Brand Box series we looked at insight and segmentation tools you can use to help you identify and connect with your customers.
This time we are going to discuss the currency of innovation and how it is used to drive business growth.
Woody Allen said, “Relationships are like sharks, if they stop moving forward they die”, and brands are no different.
Most CEOs will tell you how critical innovation is to their business, yet if you ask them how their innovation plan is looking you’ll tend to get a blank look.
Here we look at at how things are shaping and moving; and if you conducted any of the trends exercises from some of our previous Brand Box "knowing your market and knowing your consumers" posts, you’ll note how scary the rate of change truly is.
If you want to be a growing brand then best practice probably isn’t going to be enough... you’ve got to start thinking about next practice and where you need to be to position yourself for success. The next section will help get you thinking
“Relationships are like sharks, if they stop moving forward they die” ... and brands are no different.
“We always overestimate what will change in the next 2 years, and underestimate what will change in the next 10.” Bill Gates
Corporate and Social Responsibility
Corporate responsibility is shrouded with cynicism. The default starting position should be: “don’t do bad, before you do good”.
Currently, the bigger the company, the larger the responsibility is becoming for them to “give back”.
The thing to remember is that corporate responsibility is “extra credit” available only once the consumer is satisfied with the quality of the product/service (and treatment of staff).So what constitutes being “responsible” these days? A couple of very topical areas are:
- The environmentThis is seen as the ultimate social cause, and visibility around taking affirmative action is highly praised
- “Australian made”Despite being around for a while, this still has kudos, especially around food.
It is no longer a case of asking if you should be involved in this area; consumers are already committed to corporate and social responsibility, they are now looking for the easy way to contribute. Staff are also becoming increasingly important as an access point to educate and involve corporations in social responsibility initiatives.
At the core of the issue is trust; the beneficiaries vs. the benefactors should be telling the story.
Innovation is usually a direct result of one of the following triggers:
- Pressing issues driving necessity
- A new, unique perspective on something
- Innuences, internally and externally
- Development of a contemplative environment
The Power of Context
What alumni are saying to us is: “Tell me something that I didn’t know I needed to know. Challenge me. Astonish me.” If the session is led by a well-known professor, they do not want well-polished presentations based on his well-polished theories. They want him to explore dangerous territory and ideas on the cutting edge, where they can make their own contribution to emerging concepts and be present while they emerge.
Purpose of Creativity
The overall purpose of creativity is to change ideas or produce additional new ones.
These two processes are often mixed up together, but they can be separated out as follows:
- Escape from old ideas
- Generation of new ideas
Importance of Innovation
Where are we now?
The more innovative the product or category, the higher the level of engagement seems to be.
The Experience Age is being driven by brands responding to consumers’ needs for richer and more engaging experiences around their products and services.
Innovation Driving Growth
To drive growth, innovation is required; and what is the currency of innovation? Ideas.You need to plan your communications by looking at where innovation will add the most value.
How can it be done?
- Extensions and variations
- Consumer “need” satisfaction and problem solving
- New experiences
New communication opportunities
- Positioning for growth or share
New ways of doing things
- Moving from best practice to next practice
- Application of parallel sector thinking
Limitations of Accepting Status Quo
Accepting the status quo is simply a form of arrogance centred around one of three beliefs:
- That there are no alternatives -There is only one possible way to look at things and everything is dismissed as being wrong.
- That no change is required -A particular idea is so perfect that it is beyond change or improvement.
- That there is no escape -The idea is so absolutely right that everyone must work their way towards it.
Knowledge vs. Creativity
This graph shows the relationship between knowledge and creativity.
Knowledge is not creativity, but within any particular field it is difficult to come up with new ideas unless you have some ideas to play around with in the first place. At the beginning of idea generation, the more knowledge you have leads to increased creativity.
On the other hand, too much experience within a field may restrict creativity because you know so well how things should be done that you are unable to escape to come up with new ideas. As knowledge grows high we see that creativity dwindles.
Innovation as a Habit
The best way to grow and innovate is to embed innovation as a habit within your business. This often sounds easier than it is, but it can be helped by the steps below:
Stimulate - Constantly source new stimulus
Practise - Regularly brainstorm, problem solve and stretch your mind
Freedom - Keep free time and keep yourself free of excuses
Constantly Innovate - Not imitate
5 Roles in Ideas Development
The Triangle for Successful Innovation
Sources of Inspiration
The results of a survey below show what inspires senior managers (% of respondents)
The results? Over 90% of the managers interviewed say that their ideas initially occur away from the workplace and are later aired and shaped during office hours.
Creative breakthroughs generally occur when individuals make a connection between two previously unrelated concepts, facts or insights.
Source:Roffey Park Institute 1998
In our next post we are going to look at some of the big brands and how they are leveraging crowd sourcing to improve their business.
Look forward to seeing you then.