Want to be noticed? Want to be remembered? And want to build a legacy?
The best way to accomplish all of that is to be a brand innovator.
What is brand innovation?
In short, it's everything surrounding the concept of new for a purpose.
It's a new kind of thinking, a new way of solving an old problem, a new way to use an old product, the creation of a new service or the implementation of a new idea.
Some benefits of brand innovation include the ability to enter new markets, to more aptly compete, and to uniquely set your brand apart from the rest.
Innovation really is a beautiful thing. It's creation, it's formation, it's conception…and I’m not going to lie…it can be challenging, discouraging and even maddening at times.
Think about it: your competitors are racing you to see who can be the best, most significant innovator of their time. Your customers are waiting with bated breath to see how you're going to wow them. The market is waiting for something that will cause money to flood into it…again.
That's a lot of pressure.
And that doesn't even account for the pressure you're placing on yourself.
Add to that the likelihood that your innovative spirit will not always prevail in the moment—that you will have ideas that don't hold water and that don't capture the attention of your target audience—and you've got a brilliant thing with plenty of potential to be darker and more frightening than a midnight wilderness.
So how can you overcome the darker side of innovation, to prevail with brilliant concepts that positively change lives and boost your brand's profile?
You can keep reading.
Driving out the Darkness of Brand Innovation
If you really do feel that you want to pursue brand innovation, you're going to experience some dark times. You're going to fail. You're going to feel discouraged. And you're going to have to make a choice: will you keep trying to find the brighter side of innovation, or will you wander around, helplessly, with your hands outstretched, looking for milestones you can't even see?
Here are some concepts that have kept me going, even in the darkest moments of brand innovation:
- Start Thinking About Innovation as a Tangible Item. Many brand-builders live in a vivid, albeit counterfeit, world of What If…and they sometimes take a short holiday to the land of If Only. Here's the thing about innovation: if you can see it in your mind's eye, then you have the vision to make it reality. All that's missing is the motivation and the resources for enacting that vision.
- View Failure as Necessary, but Unacceptable. This is a fine line that only the best brands have managed to walk. We've all been taught that failure is just a lesson in disguise, and that we can recover and come back stronger. This is true; however, start accepting failure as a regular fixture in your brand's landscape, and you'll start taking more backward steps than you can afford. You've got to really learn from that failure, and you've got to make a solid pledge to yourself, your team, your shareholders and your customers that you won't slip into that trap again.
- Systemise your Brand Innovation. If you were to interview the brightest minds behind the most innovative brands, you would find that each one has a system, or a common-sense, time-saving process they use every time they have what they believe to be a viable idea. That system probably includes steps like research, vetting, polling, testing, gathering feedback, launching and marketing. Know your audience, as well as your team's strengths; take notes on what best pushes and supports your brand's creative processes…then rinse and repeat.
- Commit to Good Innovation. Do this enough, and you're going to start recognising a great idea when you see it. How? Because you will have tried and tested similar plans, and will have been keen to observe how people (and the market) tend to react. You'll learn to recognise ideas that are likely to fail, as well as to identify those things that put a sparkle in your target audience members' eyes.
- Learn from your Competitors. This can be a tricky one, because I do not suggest that you mirror your competitor's every move, or that you avoid everything that hasn't worked for them. Instead, start by identifying the differences between their offerings and yours, as well as the differences between their customers and your customers. Use these findings to build a measuring stick that qualifies your brand innovation. What have they tried that didn't work? And why didn't it work? If the answer revolves around an area where you're unique to them, then ask yourself how you can ride the coattails of their failure into the brilliance of your very own brand innovation.
In the beginning it's going to be easy to think that brand innovation success is all about having the right lightbulb hovering over your head. That's a start; however, the real achievement comes when you can dissemble that lightbulb and create something that will cause your ideal customer to stand up and cry your brand's name, like a child seeing light for the very first time.
Are you in search of more powerful, poignant moments for your brand? Do you want to make your customers' eyes sparkle with wonderment? Get more of those moments by learning to build your brand at a Brand Builders Bootcamp, a fully-interactive day of branding and marketing wisdom filled with expert advice, strategy, support and so much more. Get in contact with a Brand Builders Club member today, so you can attend as their guest. Or, email [email protected] to learn how you can become a member of the club.