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It turns out that most innovative brands or those who are perceived as innovative also are the ones that have biggest market cap. Innovative brands sell most and have huge revenue streams. Take a look at Apple, Nike, L'Oreal and you'll get a clue. Why is this? Well, take a look at what innovation actually means for the company? It means that consumers will be coming back, and if you're lucky like Apple was (not sure if it still is) customers will be lining up to your next product versions. If people are waiting for your next version, they're definitely not looking to anybody else (competitors).
Also, if your Brand is perceived as innovative, consumers will like that and they are willing to pay a premium, even if they might not use or understand the innovation in place. One of many researches that discuss innovation perception by consumers and it's importance in driving purchasing decisions you can read here - Why brand innovation is a vital consumer selling point
Product Innovation vs. Value Innovation
Now, there is a big difference between Product Innovation and (customer) Value Innovation. At the core level the difference is that Product Innovation doesn't necessarily have customers in mind and often it actually has a company and it's sales in mind. I could argue that Apple iPhone sequels, all after it's first version were actually examples of Product Innovations not (Customer) Value Innovation. Product Innovations are Technology driven innovations that may or may not offer customers additional value. On the other side Value Innovation starts with Customers in mind.
Blue Ocean Strategy Value Innovation Model
Value Innovation starts with Customer perspective and looks at the Buyer Utility (Map) and how to increase elements of it.
Blue Ocean Strategy Customer Utility Map.
If one takes into account these criteria, I would find it hard to argue that Apple iPhone 6 vs Apple iPhone7 provided any customer value innovation. I could use that same argument to go back to Apple iPhone 1. It surely didn't reduce costs, nor it simplified maintenance, disposal, delivery, nor touch on environmental friendliness .
Brand's Digital Value Innovation Potential
Google's, Apple's and recently Samsung's Self Driving cars being tested on streets are examples of Innovation Through ReCombination that is enabled by digital.
I believe digital can be used by brands to unlock the innovation cycle. Uber, and Uber EMEA being a client of ours, is a great example of this innovation enabled by digital. Google's, Apple's and recently Samsung's Self Driving cars being tested on streets are examples of Innovation Through ReCombination that is enabled by digital. Cars were there before, satellite were there before, internet was there before, and maps were there before. But different combination of these, enabled by digital (connections, data processing and IoT) have made self-driving cars possible. If your Brand is looking to innovate, I would look at the Value Innovation Concept, Buyer Utility Map and ask myself what can digital do to move these elements around? How can digital make disposal (of products) easier for our customers? How can digital make maintenance realtime or more convenient? How can our Brand use digital to reduce the cost of acquisition for our customers and cost of ownership?
If your Brand is looking to innovate, I would look at the Value Innovation Concept, Buyer Utility and ask myself what can digital do to move these elements around? How can digital make disposal (of products) easier for our customers? How can digital make maintenance realtime or more convenient? How can our Brand use digital to reduce the cost of acquisition for our customers and cost of ownership?Culture of Digital Brand Innovation - Who Has it?
But how does one company start innovating and start innovating sustainably? I believe the key component to a Brand's ability to use Digital to Unlock Innovation is the company's Culture. What characterizes a culture of digital brand innovation? And how can your brand develop it? I'll refer to example of Red Bull and the presentation of their ex CTO and now Chief Innovation Officer Andreas Gall done during the Mobile World Congress, IAB session. The presentation was one of best ones I've seen in conferences and I attend most if not all conferences around the world when it comes to digital, marketing, brand, creativity, and startups. Andreas showcased examples how they used digital tools (data + IoT) to measure and later visualise emotions in their creative brand expressions.
While this is a great example of innovation in creativity and brand expression creation one thing I kept asking myself was how is Red Bull and their culture different from other Brands and was it this that enabled them to innovate in digital brand expression creativity ? I believe it is and one thing that drew my attention is the number of times (at least three) that Andreas mentioned that in order to achieve this Red Bull partnered with three different startups.