Boldly innovate to make a bigger impact

By: Ignite Partnership

Innovative companies have changed the way we operate in and experience our world. Amazon changed the way we shop. Apple changed our perception of phones and computers. Tesla changed the way we thought about electric cars and powering our homes. Southwest Airlines changed our perception of how an airline operates. From technology to entertainment to travel, the innovators raise (and re-raise) the bar. And all innovative companies have one thing in common: bold, persistent pursuit of a vision.

We know successful innovators own an unshakable perspective on their industry. It’s an unwavering point of view that helps them set a new standard. Now, in this increasingly competitive global marketplace, being bold in vision is no longer the exception—it’s become the rule for success.

Bold is the new standard

Moving forward, bold moves will be necessary to break through the clutter, segmentation, and distractions associated with products and customer attention spans. When you assess your product and brand, we believe it’s critical to also evaluate and continually look for ways to innovate How your customer interacts with your brand to ensure you keep your company top of mind.

Consider these questions when examining your company’s innovation cycle:

  • Are you sticking to “this is what’s worked before” or are you looking at every opportunity to create an environment that encourages innovation within your company?
  • How are you strengthening the bond with your customer? (There’s more competition than ever in EVERY vertical. Focusing on this is vital.)
  • Are you delivering important, useful, and interesting content to them when, where, and how they want it?
  • Are you leveraging every piece of this content and every channel to add to your brand’s story and inform how you innovate in the future?

Innovators move the world forward. It’s agile leadership, thinking, and tactics that create the momentum needed to fuel these innovators and their companies.

J. Walker Smith, Executive Chairman of Kantar Futures, a global foresights and futures research consultancy, thinks bold bets are the future for brand innovation. In a recent AdAge article, Smith contends that “in the eyes of consumers, shelves are filled with look-alikes, leaving the door wide open for disruptor brands to storm in and grab market share.” For companies to have success in today’s rapidly evolving world, they need to see innovation as integral for survival, not just another line item on quarterly financials.

Smith also thinks “bolder bets consist of the new business models that break out of stagnation—the status quo for incumbent companies across the board.” Boldly innovating the way things happen is just as important–maybe even more so–than the product itself.

That’s the vision that led Amazon to be the giant it is today. Look at any press release and you’ll see the company’s guiding principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. It didn’t just stop at selling more products or wanting to beat out competitors.

Netflix innovated beyond its initial movie-rental business model to create a content distribution system that’s changed the way we consume movies and shows. The previous market leader in the movie-rental space, Blockbuster, relied on its brick-and-mortar model and didn’t try to keep up with Netflix’s pace of innovation until it was too late.

Many legacy companies are seeing the light and exploring bold moves to breathe life into their business. One recent example would be Toys R Us. The company is in the process of restructuring its finances and re-evaluating and elevating its business model to break out of the stagnation Smith spoke about. It’s a daring bet for a brand that’s been around since 1948. Only time will tell if that bet pays off.