3 Rules For Mindset Shifting Innovations

How do you successfully launch an idea that requires a mindset shift and behavioural change from consumers?

The potential size of prize makes game changing innovation an attractive idea for innovators and marketeers. But if you’re changing the game you are probably also asking for a change in mind-set and behaviour from your consumer or customer. Yet as common knowledge goes, people don’t like change. So how you will get your consumers thinking and acting in ways that are unfamiliar to them?

There is a lot to be learnt from one of the most challenging launches of recent years – Chocolate Philadelphia. There are also many other good examples to demonstrate how you can help the consumers play the new game quickly. 

Rule #1: tell them the game prize….

How it works on Chocolate Philadelphia: The ‘lighter’ positioning verses Nutella/chocolate spread – the main sweet spread in the UK market – gives a clear reason for this unusual product to exist within the category.

Learning: If you’re asking consumers to do something new and different, all the more important to tell them why it’s worth their while: a strong reason to open-up their mind to your innovation. After all you wouldn’t play a new game without a good prize.

Another example: AirBnB – if selling the idea of staying in a stranger’s house isn’t a good example of a proposition that requires a mind-set shift – what is?  AirBnB heavily positions itself around its key ‘prize’ – something appealing that hotel chains can’t offer: a homely and authentic travel experience.

Rule #2: de-risk the game

How it works on Chocolate Philadelphia: Mondelez has borrowed chocolate credibility and expertise from the Cadbury’s brand. The consumer may feel ‘wobbly’ about trying it, so the reassurance factor of not one, but two of the UK’s biggest consumer brands is extremely useful. 

Learning: Give your consumer extra reassurance to help them feel safe about trying something so alien to them. It could be by dual branding or a highly compelling claim, or something else. 

Another example: Instant ‘barista style’ coffees were challenging in occupying a strange new space between instant and ground coffee – they used exciting new structural packaging to up the reassurance factor in terms of freshness and quality.

Rule #3: teach them the new rules

How it works on Chocolate Philadelphia: The product positioning gives the consumer clarity on usage occasion: evidenced in the serving suggestion product image. Immediately the consumer can understand how to enter into the new game: ‘I’ll have it on bread or toast’. The product image looks a lot like a familiar product, Nutella, so they also know what to substitute it for.

Learning: If your new product is unexpected, you need to write the rules and teach the consumer exactly how to use it. It may feel commercially unnatural to limit usage but you need to give the consumer a clear point of entry so they can feel confident on how to use the new product.

Another example: Belvita has taken this one step further. It’s a genuinely unusual ‘soft baked biscuit’ entering a crowded UK market place. It introduces two new rules for the UK Marketplace:

  • Breakfast usage occasion: New rule = ‘biscuits can be for breakfast’
  • Wholesome health claims: 4hour slow release energy / 5 Wholegrains. New rule = ‘biscuits can offer wholesome health benefits’

The new rules may be challenging for the UK consumer but Belvita communicates them very clearly: optimising logo identity; imagery; graphics; claims; claim devices; branding and platform communication. It makes for a very single-minded proposition, which helps the consumer learn the new rules.

Rules round-up 

Failed product launches are often attributed to ‘the market not being ready’ for a game changing innovation, but our belief is that you have to prime the market for success, by making it as easy as possible for consumers to play:

  • Reduce inertia by incentivising them with a worthy game prize – a very clear reason to buy
  • Quash ‘fear of the new’ by de-risking the game – maximise credibility & reassurance factors
  • Eliminate disengagement by teaching the new rules simply and clearly – optimise communications