Innovation versus the Core

The role and benefits of innovation in a category has been a roller coaster journey for many suppliers and retailers.   In light of CV19, the question of ”to go ahead or not” is more relevant than ever.

Brands are weighing up:

  • How to keep category interest for consumers and shoppers.
  • If shifting spend to the core to optimise hero brands will deliver a greater ROI.
  • The commercial benefits of keeping things operationally simple for retailers.
  • Whether OOH volumes from innovation can be shifted to In Home channels and which shopper programmes, (bricks or clicks), can be turned on.
  • The wider scope of innovation and what it could look like beyond new product development.

Almost every company pursues innovation with a view to keeping shoppers engaged in the category, especially when faced with the ongoing challenges of declining brand loyalty and the rise of unconventional competitors.  While innovation is key for companies to differentiate themselves from competitors, few are creating new, viable business offerings that drive value.

However, companies often neglect the fact that disproportionate innovation can actually hurt overall growth, by shifting resources away from supporting existing winning products.  Those unproven solutions take resources such as marketing, visibility, promotional slots, sales team support and management attention away from proven winners.

The three principles we believe are at the heart of successful innovation are:

Optimise your hero brands:

  • NPD disproportionally shifts resources (for suppliers and retailers) away from supporting existing winning products that haven’t yet reached their potential.

Innovate beyond product:

  • Total innovation increases the likelihood of surpassing competition.  Build your organisation’s total innovation capability and include packaging, commercial propositions, ability to launch and work with customers across all functions and operational processes.

Store back innovation:

  • Determine  what new products can win with shoppers and how many can realistically be implemented in stores.  Work backwards to develop these products and solutions.  This is changing faster than it ever has, so to win, re-imagine the next normal.

In your category, and business, is it “Innovation VERSUS the core” or is “Innovation THE Core”?

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