4 Steps to Category Innovation for Brand Growth

I bet you want to know the future of your industry. It seems like an ambiguous challenge; keeping life in our current brand offerings while fending off insurgent brands with their new innovations. It’s truly a tough spot that many modern day CMOs have found themselves in. 

If there were a magic crystal ball that would guide us to the future we would pay pretty hefty sums of money for it. Well, the bad news is there is no crystal ball. But the good news IS there is a way to predict the future of your brand.

The best way to predict the future is to create it.
— Abraham Lincoln

It’s a simple concept, really. Keep innovating. Keep finding new ways to please your consumers. Keep building a simpler machine. Keep creating new revenue streams. Get ahead of the industry and the consumer curve so your brand can drive the conversation and get out of the catch up game. 

When we work with clients for Category Innovation, we keep our mantra simple; We prototype the future. We build the future now, get it out into the world today, so we can test it, iterate, and reiterate. Because the future doesn’t exist until someone builds it. And that the best brands aren’t just ahead of the curve, they create the curve, giving consumers what they want before they ask. A brand that's more than just marketing, but a place for people to play, create, communicate; it’s a platform.

Our 4 Step approach to Category Innovation: 

  • Product & Service Offerings:  Building a product that solves current or future consumer needs better than they’re being fulfilled now is a great step in innovating a category. Ask yourself, What consumer needs aren’t currently being met? What needs can we meet better with better offerings? Uber didn’t change the dynamics of the livery business, they changed the service offering by connecting the rider with the driver. Spotify didn’t change music, they changed the way that consumers accessed music. These simple evolutions to current offerings can go a long way. 
  • Experiences: A key driver to future purchase decisions will be the experience. The efficacy of the product and service has to be there and it has to be priced accordingly, but once those needs are met, the experience plays a whole new level. Tesla builds cars. But they provide an experience around the cars that cannot be overlooked. It moves people to preorder a vehicle years in advance at a rate of 400,000 orders for one model. The experience of being in the Tesla orbit is a combination of product innovation, press, engagement and exclusivity.
  • Markets: Expanding to new markets with a current offering is a great way to boost brand growth. It can also become a driving force in business decisions. This can include global expansion, new audiences or a pivot to using your product in a new way. Slack started as a game company. The Slack tool, as we know it, was built for the internal team to communicate. Using their technology, they were able to package it up for a new market, business collaboration.
  • Business Models: How consumers access and transact with your brand is much more complex in today’s world. The future of a lot of industries can be seen through a lens colored with digital and subscriptions. Here, you’ll find new value propositions, supply chains and purchase packages that make the relationship with your consumers more effortless, simple and valuable. As Amazon is taking over the world, they are slowly shifting towards a subscription model across their organization with Prime.

There are many examples of companies innovating in all categories. Whether established, traditional organizations or insurgent startups, innovation can come from all angles. But the truth about it is, innovation will and should always happen in any category and any organization. Odds are, something about your category will be completely different in the next year, three years and five years. The question is, are you going to lead that charge? 

How are you innovating in your category to drive brand growth? Leave a comment below or drop us a line.

Want to talk more? Let’s chat.