Brand, the secret sauce of innovation
Contrary to popular belief, innovation is not about new technologies or smart business models. It’s about new opportunities in the market.
The best opportunities in markets today are emotional because technology is democratized and lasting functional superiority extinct. And don’t we already know that 90 percent of purchase decisions are made subconsciously, not rationally weighing facts and figures? Yet, for too many, functional superiority still seems to be the main focus. All too often, brand is something that is being “applied to” a business versus created alongside with it. As such, it becomes an afterthought. But, how can a “business first, brand second”-approach maximize market impact when it doesn't consider the emotional opportunity?
Employing brand thinking in innovation is a chance to reap the “emotional opportunity” in the market.
Whether start-up or mass marketer looking to grow through innovative line extensions or new verticals, always consider that any new product or service needs a clear idea for “who it is” — an emotionally relevant concept defined by razor-sharp insight, deep cultural understanding and a plan for how to show up in the world. What this means is that, the best innovations either come from a strong brand with the capacity to stretch well into new territory, or they are built on a strong new brand concept with the power to compel people and fit their desires and attitudes.
Brand turns any innovation into a proposition with character and soul. It creates a conduit to people and is itself a great source for innovation.
The rise of Airbnb shows the power of innovating with brand in mind. The company’s promise is not only a technology platform that creates a person-to-person marketplace for room and board, it’s the idea of a global community of people looking for authentic travel experiences.
It’s the power of an emotionally compelling concept that not only gives the company a clear voice in culture and a clear directive for all company behavior, it also opens up a world of possibilities for growth through new products and services that build the brand story, the company’s perceptual value.
At Ready366, we promote a brand first-approach to innovation.
This is because we have seen how powerful it can be if we start innovation with brand, and let business follow. We work with some amazing client partners who believe the same, having experienced first hand how a strong brand idea can inform business innovation, including merchandising, content and customer service. While there is certainly no one path to innovation, we believe that brand is a magic ingredient - and undoubtedly a critical one.
Our mantra is simple: Create brands that create businesses.
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