I define innovation as: executing new ideas to create value.
Some companies unwittingly define innovation too narrowly, limiting their innovation efforts to the search for nifty new product ideas or disruptive new technologies, but it is so much more than that.
To demonstrate the broad remit of innovation, we have come up with 9 different examples that don’t centre around just bringing new products or services to market.
1. Implementing a new or improved technique or piece of equipment: to improve the consumers’ experience or take away a barrier. It’s not a consumable, but a way to make consumption easier.
You can track your spending as you go, scan and bag at the same time, and pay instantly at the end of the shop without the need for queuing.
This is the implementation of a new marketing method involving significant changes to; product design or packaging; product placement; product promotion; or pricing to better address consumers’ needs. This can apply to new or existing products.
2. Product design or packaging: changes in structure and appearance that do not alter the products’ functional characteristics.
Inspiring consumer’s on how to use the right combination of products for a specific need or regime has been what has set L’oreal apart from some of it’s key competitors in men’s skincare. There is no change to product, only the way in which they are bundled together and presented to the consumer.
3. Claims: a new way to communicate on the products’ benefits, reasons to believe, or features.
Right Guard are going for hard core efficacy reassurance with the introduction of their Total Defence 5 claim bundle, and their ‘Invisible Power’ benefit, which is far more attention grabbing and memorable than saying something along the lines of “powerful invisible formula”.
4. Descriptors: the way in which you name or describe a product can bring new meaning to its benefits or the way in which it works.
5. Merchandising solutions: a new way to present your product to your consumers, within the same channel.
Sainsbury’s have found a unique new way to merchandise deli cheeses in baskets on gondola ends adjacent to the deli counter. It feels artisan and fresh, and allows you to “grab and go” many deli favourites without the need to queue at the counter.
6. Product placement: Repurposing, or giving an existing product a new usage occasion through where it is placed in the store.
Big brands like Apple, Pizza Express and House of Fraser sell gift cards in grocery and other outlets adjacent to celebration cards, allowing these brands/ franchises to capitalise on impulse gifting.
7. Product promotion: new ways to promote products and services.
Like many other food retailers, M&S have bundled products together (main dish, side dish, dessert and bottle of wine) to rival the dining out experience.
8. Channel: broadening the reach and/or convenience of how your product or services get to your consumers.
9. Positioning: how to make an existing and well-established product or category more unique and compelling.
So… we challenge you to keep your mind open as to what constitutes innovation.
Think “holistic innovation.” We should all be making it our mission to innovate at every point where our brands touch consumers’ lives.
Innovation isn’t the job of specific person or department in your business – it’s the job of each and every one of us.