Innovation is part of what makes your brand unique. You come up with ideas and solutions that make your business unlike any other, and you're using your creativity and ingenuity to gain attention and build visibility for your brand.
I want to congratulate you on these advancements, as well as encourage you to keep innovating. I also want to warn you about some common traps that business owners fall into.
So whether you're gearing up for your very first innovative move, or you're looking forward to your next big step, I am eager to share what I've learnt about the traps that come along with a desire to advance and revolutionise.
And here we go…
The Seven Dangers of Brand Innovation
These warnings are by no means intended to scare you away from brand innovation; to the contrary, they are intended to fuel you with the knowledge you'll need to avoid common pitfalls, and therefore out-innovate your competitors.
And remember that even if you do fail at any one innovation attempt, you have not failed as a business owner or a brand builder. You undoubtedly learned something and [hopefully] took the opportunity to transform that blunder into a positive outcome.
Also remember that not every failure was a bad idea. It may have been ahead of its time or aimed at the wrong audience.
In any case, avoid committing these 7 brand innovation crimes, and you will greatly increase your chances of brand advancement:
- Following a Trend: Let's get this straight. Jumping on a trend-wagon does not qualify as innovation. It just makes you a fast-burning 'cool kid' and will work directly against your attempts at being different. There are exceptions, of course, and they happen when a trend is a perfect fit for your brand's vision, mission and values…like it was practically made for your brand.
- Impersonating the Competition: I always encourage brand builders to follow the moves of their competitors in order to find gaps in service. I do not, however, encourage the stalking of competitors for the sole purpose of mirroring their moves. This will never support a unique brand's position in the market. And even if your competitor experiences success, you'll just be dubbed an impersonator (or worse, a thief).
- Innovating Everything: If you're treating your brand like a mixed box of chocolates, with the mindset that more features, more options, more selections and more choices are better, you're going to lose the attention of your ideal customers. You're far more likely to succeed with one uber-targeted innovation that you know your audience will want above all else.
- Half-Hearted Innovation: In some cases, the desire to innovate can be so strong that we fail to do it the right way. If you're cutting corners and skipping vital steps in order get a new product or service to market, your brand will suffer when those shortcomings are discovered on a public stage.
- Failure to Move: Lots of people have a tendency to talk about innovating, but never really get around to it. This can be caused by a tendency to procrastinate, a fear of failure…even fear of success. Devise a plan for your innovation, set short-term and long-term goals, find daily motivation and stick to the plan.
- Underestimating the Work: Your brand's good name will not carry a bad innovation to success. In fact, the bigger your brand the more work you're going to have to do. Plan ahead. Devise development, testing, launch and crisis strategies.
- Consequence Planning: Some brand builders will fail to plan ahead of their innovations, and instead plan to make heads roll if it doesn't work. This puts all the pressure on their team (or certain team members) and leaves the brand builders without consequence (or so he/she thinks). This is brand reputation sabotage at its worst, and a brand simply can't survive this kind of tactic.
As you move forward to build a brand that is known for innovation and a unique position in the market, keep these common pitfalls in mind. Instead of memorizing them and using them to limit your possibilities, I would suggest using this as a checklist, as part of a system to ensure that your creative advancements are going to sponsor brand growth, rather than inhibit or stop it.
Have questions about brand innovation? Or want to know how other successful brand builders are using it to grow their brands? Then I suggest joining the Brand Builders Club, where freedom-focussed entrepreneurs and business owners are gathering to learn the best ways to build their brands. It's chock-full of expert advice, peer support, polling, masterminds, referrals and much more. Click here to learn more or to join.