Innovation, that oh-so-elusive yet desirable trait touted as the engine for economic growth by our hackneyed politicians, is actually the life blood of any business but never more so then in our current economic market.
Fresher, smarter thinking is critical in business for ongoing growth and prosperity. Product and service development is a constant, iterative process to respond to competition and market demands.
New products, methods and ideas are about constant change which for some can be uncomfortable and stressful while for others it’s the essential variety on which they thrive.
Take the humble egg, largely overlooked and seen as a commodity purchase with generally poor packaging, weak brands and negligible consumer recognition. Clonarn Clover, a small Irish family artisan egg producer has launched a new brand, O’Egg, to market with white eggs in a pink box ! They are the only artisan free range producer of white eggs in Ireland, said to be far superior for lightness in baking, and sold at a higher price to the common brown egg.
The O’Egg white eggs are packaged in an unlikely bright pink box, ensuring on shelf impact, targeted at a female consumer. Also the O’Egg brand is supporting “Action Breast Cancer”, with the logo for same prominently displayed on pack which also resonates with their target market. Product, brand, packaging and marketing inventiveness on a modest budget to shake up a sector which has seen very little ingenuity in a quite a while.
In this period of economic fluctuation, armed with the immeasurable online resources at our finger tips, we are actually presented with multiple opportunities unlike any generation before.
A great online example is EBookFling, a startup that creates a virtual e-book swap, facilitating lending of e-books between consumers using lending features enabled by Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook.
Borrowers upload titles of what they own and can swop with anybody signed up to the service for a temporary swop enabling them to “try before they buy”. Readers get exposure to try new authors without the risk of up front expense and the author gets a type of exposure not previously available. It’s a win:win with a service facilitating more fluid transactions between buyer and seller.
Some might say our economy is in the toilet but Poo-Pourri is a fantastic example of entrepreneurship and product innovation. In a little over three years this start up business has grown to a €3 million enterprise. Poo-Pourri is made from a secret mix of essential oils sprayed into the toilet bowl and used to mask the smell in the bathroom before the deed is done, rather then after, like traditional deodorisers. Its far more effective and eco friendly ! Today the range consists of more then 60 products successfully selling in five countries.
It is essential to become a fast discoverer with low cost, swift experimentation, prototyping and piloting, all of which leads to new insights and opportunities. Successful innovation (product or service) requires key ingredients some of which include:
• Ideas which solve important problems for your customer whose needs you must understand intimately
• An ability to get to market quickly before the market changes or your customer needs shift
• A fully integrated branding, design and marketing strategy focussed on your target markets needs
• Knowledge of barriers, adoption cycles and inertia within your target market
• Adequate resources and funding
Start with the end in mind. If your solution solves a problem that real customers have, your chances of success are increased. If your innovation is easily adopted by your target customers, based on a thorough understanding of their needs, then you have a much greater chance of success.
Country Crest is another Irish food manufacturer turning the highly competitive ready meal market on its head with innovative packaging and added pack functionality to meet their customers needs with its From the Orient range. A “collectibles” range of complete meal solutions in a NY style deli box, which is very different and distinctive on shelf compared to its competitors (all in trays and carton sleeves), the food is a “grab and go” solution which can be heated in 3 minutes and eaten from the box.
When you produce something really successful you can’t afford to slide into complacency. Your competitors are aggressively assessing the market looking for the next big thing or how they can topple you or take a chunk of your market share. Even when you’re on the crest of the wave your business must have a proactive strategy to relentless innovate, develop and search for new opportunities to stay ahead.
Most importantly though you have to get noticed to sell your product or service, capture your target markets imagination and create excitement through powerful branding and great design.
Do you have a great new innovation ready to bring to market ?
Is there an area of your business or market, tired and overlooked, crying out to be reinvigorated and transformed?
Drop us a line or give us a call.
We’d love to help you make your brand the next big success story.
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