Why Innovation Should Not Be Brand Driven

How often do you see an existing brand take a really big leap forward with a new innovation? Not very.

Most innovation within brands is only ever a small step with minimal stretch. This isn’t very exciting for consumers and often goes unnoticed. It also means all the good stuff is left for new brands – or brave brands who approach things in a slightly different way…

Whether you are brand-led or gap led in your innovation approach will have a big impact on the type of innovation you achieve. But what does this mean?

Well, if you are brand-led, you ask your consumers where can my brand go? What can it do? Does this idea fit with my brand? Consumers see brands where they are currently positioned, so will struggle to give you a positive response when you suggest a new product or positioning in a different space from where your brand currently sits. This means your innovation will always be restricted to the small changes that your consumer feels comfortable with your brand making.

Your consumer limits your brand.

Or do they? Is your brand actually limiting your consumer?

mind the gap London underground signThis is where gap led innovation makes a difference. If you are gap led, the consumer isn’t restricted by your brand but is given an opportunity to say what they really want from the market, where current offerings are letting them down, which needs are not being catered for etc. It allows them to open up their mind to new, broader opportunities. This means you can identify a true gap and a potentially great new innovation. Once you‘ve found this opportunity, you can initiate a project to work out which brand in your portfolio is in the best position to deliver it and how that brand can stretch to do it right. It is a longer process but the quality of the innovation will be so much higher and, if you get it right, you will get better, more successful innovation for your brand.

So, go on, mind the gap!