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Brand Innovation

How Brands Can Deliver Smart Innovations Faster

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How Brands Can Deliver Smart Innovations Faster

Everyone I meet that’s involved in product innovation today seems to have the same basic goal: to get really smart ideas to market faster. The formula to do that is pretty straightforward, although actually achieving it is anything but simple.

First you have to find an idea that resonates with the intended consumers. Resonance is very different than relevance – it implies a relevance that’s change-worthy.

In my experience, resonance comes through (1) solving a pain that is conscious, unresolved and important with (2) a product or service that over-delivers value that’s obvious and unmistakable. You don’t win at innovation by just being clever; you win by getting consumers to act. Remember, in most cases you have 8 seconds to capture their attention.

Second, you have to build a business that thrives. This requires getting very clear on a sustainable source of spending that can be won, and then leveraging any advantages you have to their greatest extent.

Very few companies are lacking ideas. What I often find missing at the most formative stage of a concept or idea is the practice of asking the right questions at the right time and giving them enough critical (and unemotional) attention.

Without that discipline, it’s very common (and dangerous) for teams to overestimate how different their product is from the competitors, how valuable that difference is, how much consumers will understand it. It also means that the right decisions aren’t always made in terms of which projects get prioritized.

If there was a First Law of Innovation it would be this: markets inevitably and painfully correct our over-estimates.

But avoiding this can be devilishly hard.

To solve this problem and help clients deliver smart ideas faster, I use a simple and powerful approach that helps teams honestly evaluate and improve growth ideas by focusing attention around the four critical building blocks, and the interactions between them:

  • Are they solving a pain that is front of mind, unsolved and significant?
  • Are they over-delivering value that’s unmistakable to consumers?
  • Have they identified a large, incremental source of spending that they can win?
  • Do they have an sustainable advantage to give us an unfair edge?

By focusing on these four areas simultaneously and rigorously, I’ve seen clients much more objectively gauge their likelihood of success in as little as 10 minutes. More importantly, it helps uncover powerful and often hidden ways to improve the idea, and identify the key risks that need to be managed.

I’ve found that it’s a discipline that helps you be a better innovator.

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