If you've ever felt like there's no room for your brand to innovate…because everything's already been invented and improved upon (at least as far as current technology can support), you're not alone.

When Henry Ford invented the "horseless carriage," there was no competition. He created something that, until that point, hadn't existed.

Today, it seems that we must resort to looking for gaps in service and problems with problems in order to come up with new, creative ideas that people will need and use.

And in the meantime, it can be easy to take on the attitude that everything's been thought of, that everything's been tried, and that your only resort is to do the same things that others are doing…and just do them better.

But is that entirely true? Do you have to give up on brand innovation? Has every great idea been taken?

Not even close.

Let's talk about brand innovation in the 21st Century.

Brand Innovation in Modern Times

We've got flooded markets.

We've got more business owners competing than ever.

We have more knowledge and resources at our (and our competitors') disposal.

Markets are filled with answers to just about every problem.

As brand innovators, these are just some of our challenges.

You can sit by and think about how difficult modern-day brand innovation can be, or you can start to think about innovation in a different way.

And I've got some tips for doing that:

  • Bridge Industries. How could the life of your ideal customer be improved if two solutions they already use are delivered together? Or if two naturally successive products or services were linked together? Think Oreos and milk, Corona and limes, hair and makeup, or vehicle repairs and rental cars. Your brand doesn't have to make (or even sell) both. It just needs to provide a logical and efficient method for delivering them in ways that show benefit to your target audience members.
  • Do 'That Thing' for Them. What does your ideal customer have to do that he or she doesn't like to do…or hates doing? There's probably more than one thing that fits this description. Does anything on that list match something that you like to do? Something that you're not only passionate about, but that you're uncommonly good at? In many cases, your ideal customer hasn't even thought about hiring someone to do this thing; they've written it off as one of those unpleasant, but necessary, things in life. Show them how much time, money and effort you can save them. Be the first to make their life more enjoyable. Even if your ideal customer is not the type of person who will ever turn over responsibility of that task, teach them how to do it more efficiently, or with more joy.
  • Make Life Easier. Living, and succeeding in life, is hard. Every person, from every walk of life, can attest to this. Within this difficulty is an entire host of opportunities for innovation. What's hard about your ideal customer's day? Does it have to be that challenging or frustrating for them? Or can you ease or eliminate that burden? Innovation isn't just about inventing something new. It can be about creating new processes, systemisations or efficiencies.
  • Shift Focus from the Tangible to the Intangible. Too often, business owners who want to innovate focus on delivering products their customers can hold, instead of focussing on experiences their customers can remember. What do you know that you can teach? What have you experienced that you can share? On what adventures can your ideal customers join you? How can you change their lives whilst making your brand a fixture among their fondest memories?
  • Make Upgrades. brand-innovationInnovation isn't always about producing something new. It can also be about improving upon an existing product or service. There are lots of products out there that are inconvenient in some way…that could have better features or fewer features, that could be smarter or more efficient, that could serve more than one purpose, or that could cost less and/or deliver more. Find these gaps in service and functionality and develop ways to make those products better.

The most innovative thinkers do less thinking than doing. Get in there amongst your target audience members. Get to know what they like and what problems they're suffering with. It won't be long until you get a real feel for what is lacking, and how you can innovate to improve their current experiences.

Have questions about how the most successful entrepreneurs and business owners innovate in the 21st Century? Or want to bounce some ideas off others who may have been down the same path you're on? Then you need to check out the Brand Builders Club. Email me at [email protected] and schedule a call to determine if the club is right for you.

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