I hate washing up. I find it inefficient, monotonous and frustrating. The fight is real as I battle with the liquid for the last morsel of soap after balancing its puny head against the tap for what feels like a decade.
It’s funny, don’t you think? That when we look back on the things that once annoyed us or caused angst, we realise that the solution was sat under our noses the whole time: upside-down Fairy liquid… obviously.
That’s the power of great innovation, it makes us feel stupid that we didn’t think of it before; it’s a smile in the mind that we can’t hide. It’s the light bulb moment that brings us marketing folk back down to reality – innovation is possible and no matter how small or simple, it moves the world forward. So, thank you Fairy, for making me feel like an idiot. I want this feeling more often, please.
It got us thinking – is simplicity the answer to today’s innovation roadblock? Or, if not, what is it about great innovation that is so hard to crack yet blindingly obvious? At StormBrands, we dive deeper, work closer and ask better questions to get to core challenges to create clarity for growth. Through our BRANDSTORM process we capture truths that release genuine potential.
Here’s our thought process…
Intent versus impact.
With huge R&D departments, technology wizards and leaders in consumer insight, FMCG businesses should be melting pots for innovation. But when our value as stakeholders lies in specialist expertise and problem solving, we can be guilty of complicating to prove our worth or falling back on prior experience to get to the solution quickly. The heuristics we each rely on daily don’t apply when the first job to be done is to get everyone on the same page in order to make the greatest impact.
Many perspectives, one tension.
Innovation comes from recognising what you don’t know, as much as leveraging what you do. The magic of innovation happens when we focus on the one perspective that matters most, that of the consumer, and by thinking about everyday experiences through the demands, challenges and needs of those that live them. Consumers don’t think about a product or pack solution, where they are going to buy it or how much it weighs; they think about their experiences and look for solutions that alleviate specific unresolved challenges.
Outcome not output
The above internal monologue is an honest insight into the world of a struggling domestic goddess, resolved by an outcome that alleviates some of the frustration, irrespective of the complex and highly skilled anti-leak technology, 100% PCR material and improved formulation that went into the output. Yes, the product itself is important, but it won’t be noticed unless the solution plays a bigger role. Be the voice of the consumer” is the old phrase in strategy – let’s take it one step further: BE the consumer; create the internal monologue; find the friction; create the outcome.
Mindsets, markets, culture.
There is so much pressure on businesses to keep innovating, we become blinkered looking for the one killer concept that is going to revolutionise everything we know today. But there is more than one way to grow.
The bulk of innovation that goes through businesses assumes a technical solution (i.e. pack, product, ingredient) to an existing repertoire that will eventually change a mindset.
In reality, a large number of innovations today are the result of behavioural shifts creating new opportunities (i.e. habits, channels, values), establishing a change in market.
A third way to grow, which often slips under the net of innovation, is creating new value from existing products and brands (i.e through purpose, communication and storytelling), changing the way people connect, navigate and exchange – ultimately influencing a change in culture.
All three result from the whole organisation thinking about the world through the lens of the people that live it, innovating with the consumer tension front of mind and focusing on the desired outcome, not output.
At Stormbrands, we help businesses start innovation journeys on the same page by empowering stakeholders to forget what they know and mine everyday experiences in the hunt for discord, through the lens of people that matter. Our BRANDSTORM approach is fast, intuitive and brimming with a breadth of internal monologues that help businesses realise there are more ways to grow… if you change your perspective.
By Katie Spencer who is Strategy Director at StormBrands