Bored of the word ‘innovation’? That’s understandable, seeing as it’s used just about everywhere to describe just about everything. It’s ironic, really, seeing as ‘innovative’ once meant new and exciting.
But overused or not, there’s a buzz behind the word that your business needs to pay attention to if you’re to stay relevant to customers – today and tomorrow.
Why? Let’s dive in.
Innovation – a dirty word or a driving force?
Is innovation a dirty word? Well, it’s certainly a meaningless word if you don’t attach any value to it. If all you’re doing is using ‘innovate’ or ‘innovative’ to describe your brand or product, you’re not giving your team a manifesto to follow or giving your customers insight into your value.
Innovation might have lost its impact as a marketing message, but there’s still a very real place for it in your brand identity, products, services, internal processes, strategies, and customer experiences.
You should be innovating consistently, and this goes beyond blue-sky thinking or trying to hop on the latest trend. It’s about getting to know what your industry and audience need from you, and then evolving to meet those market challenges.
Innovating to stay relevant in your industry
Remember that innovation doesn’t have to mean inventing something the world has never seen before. It’s about growing, whether by adopting AI to track industry trends, using real-time data to transform your customer experiences, or connecting with new audiences through social media.
If you want to stay relevant, innovation is the way.
Your customers expect it
Customers are used to brands keeping up with their emerging demands, whether it’s couriers offering same-day deliveries or apps allowing them to order a taxi and track the entire journey. As such, there’s little room for the companies that don’t keep up.
Think about your customer base and how tweaking your products or processes would enhance their experience. Maybe it’s time to optimise your website for voice search commands, or perhaps there are benefits to developing an app.
You don’t need to wow your customers when you innovate; you just need to make sure their experiences are seamless.
A new generation of customers is waiting for you
Today’s customers might not be tomorrow’s. Your audience is likely to change over time, and if you don’t innovate, you’re not going to meet them where they are. For example, channels like the metaverse and Web3 aren’t just far-off concepts; the next generation of customers is already making itself at home here (or is about to), so it could be time for you to do the same.
As values change, so should you
Consumer values are always changing, and you need to be on the ball. Of course, there are plenty of fads and trends that you don’t need to invest in. But what about the trends that become widely held beliefs over time?
Let’s take sustainability as an example. In ‘How consumers are embracing sustainability’, Deloitte found that 40% of UK adults have chosen brands with environmentally sustainable practices or values. If you’re not innovating to reduce your social or environmental impact, what’s to stop your customers from choosing a competitor that does?
Another example is data privacy. A world where customers have more control over their data is coming with the arrival of Web3, so finding privacy-friendly ways of collecting, analysing, and leveraging your customers’ data is a must.
Life moves on
Think about the Covid-19 pandemic for a moment. How did your business adapt? How did your consumer values change? Which businesses do you remember handling the upheaval the best?
The businesses that couldn’t communicate digitally were stuck. The gyms that couldn’t host virtual classes were at risk of losing members. The restaurants that didn’t switch to delivery had to keep their doors closed. The pandemic is a great example of how the world can be forced to change pretty much overnight.
Pandemics, wars, cost-of-living crises, tech breakthroughs…There are always new opportunities to innovate, and if you can’t, you could be left behind.
Your competitors are innovating, too
You might shy away from innovation, but your competitors won’t. If you want to stay relevant in the industry, you need to keep up – whether it’s by offering a mobile app that allows customers to do everything from one interface, or by equipping your sales team with real-time customer data to help them personalise each pitch. The options are endless, so look to the data you’ve collected about your competitors and customers to lead you down the right path.
Ultimately, you want to undergo a digital transformation. This may be a heavy term, but it simply refers to the process of modernising your business with digital tech, such as video conferencing software or AI-powered chatbots.
How you digitally transform will depend on the exact needs of your brand, team, audience, and industry, but one thing’s clear: you need to innovate to stay relevant.
Industry disruptors are ahead of the curve
Forget your competitors for a moment. What about the disruptors on their way to threaten your industry, product, or service altogether? These are the brands that are built completely around innovation, and which don’t see it as an afterthought.
Industry disruptors are using AI-powered tech and emerging platforms like the metaverse as their building blocks. As such, they’re not just ready for the future – they are the future. Think about it: the fintechs that understand and leverage cryptocurrency are likely to find their way on Web3, whereas more traditional financial services providers have further to go.
The future is coming for us whether we like it or not. Are you ready?
Let’s wrap this up
There’s no use innovating for the sake of it, so making sure you know what value you offer and what differentiates you is key.
This is something that our Value proposition design package can help you with, so feel free to check it out or drop us a line with any questions.