Why choose Inno Brandizer?
At the origin of Inno Brandizer was a simple statistic: According to a Nielsen study, more than 80% of mass consumer innovations end in failure.* So we said to ourselves: there must be a more efficient way to innovate. To help our clients meet this challenge, we’ve taken the time to explore the question: “How can innovators ensure product relevance and create sustainable value?”»
One of the keys to answering this question is not to start with a constraint or presupposition, but to allow yourself freedom of action.
Secondly, it’s essential to involve end-consumers as key players upstream, and not merely have them play the role of judge and jury downstream. We need to get away from the reductive ‘like/dislike’ logic, and a situation where ideas are presented to consumers too late in the innovation process. We were therefore looking for a way to work better with end-users, using their expectations and needs as a starting point, and then to operate in test & learn mode. In other words, we wanted to be able to co-construct every step of the project with the end-user: from the initial insight stage to prototyping. The idea behind Inno Brandizer is to be able to generate, bounce around and optimize ideas in a collaborative way, both with the consumer and, of course, the client team.
Moreover, in the makeup of the client’s team, it’s essential to include several key players from the company: marketing personnel, of course, but also, depending on the project, R&D, the sales force, sales representatives, as well as the communication, finance and HR departments. The idea being to create multidisciplinary, cross-cutting teams that can pool different skills as part of an inspiring and fun experience. This will encourage everyone to contribute to the joint project, giving them the opportunity to appropriate the ideas and concepts generated. Because, after all, innovation is first and foremost a company project, which has repercussions for all the company’s business areas and teams.
Finally, the brand itself is usually almost never at the center of the reflection process, whereas for us it is the key requisite, and a condition for success. This is what will enable companies to shift from developing a product based on a passing trend, to innovating a truly relevant and sustainable product.
As a branding agency, our role is to support our clients through this process. And this is where Inno Accelerator comes in: it enables our brand partners to rapidly develop a consumer-centric and brand-driven innovation pipeline that promotes the brand, lives up to its promise and reinforces the brand’s market position.
How did Inno Brandizer first come about?
The first time we worked with this new methodology was in 2016 for Maggi, who were looking to renew their target market in the seasoning segment. We set up a tailor-made process which included all the company’s business areas. We conducted collaborative workshops for all the stages of ideation, from the concept stage through to prototyping. This involved testing the ideas with consumers live, working in direct collaboration with the various teams. We soon realized that this was indeed the way to go. From there we formalized the Inno Brandizer methodology, and put it into practice. This can be implemented either over a month, or on a non-stop basis over a week with our sprint option called ‘inno sprint’.
Moreover, the first time we tested out the methodology with a client was using the sprint format.
Initially, the client’s brief was very specific: to take market share from the category leader, but without necessarily copying what they did. We therefore had to try to find a gap in this market, by taking a step back and opening up the field of possibilities. To that end, we engaged in future-oriented thinking, exploring the evolution of the category and its challenges in twenty years’ time. We brought in a panel of experts – a sociologist, a nutritionist and a chef – who helped us to view the subject from other angles. Finally, we met with consumers in order to better understand their lifestyles and consumption habits.
Throughout the sprint process, consumers and the project team became the full driving force behind the project, pooling ideas based on real wants, needs and opinions. They could bounce the ideas off each other and optimize them. In this process, everyone becomes fully invested, causing them to take ownership of the project. It’s really one of the most rewarding parts of this job, when I see people who don’t feel secure or creative during the stages of ideation but who turn out to be highly productive and inspired.
What factors may make Inno Brandizer less effective? How do you see its development in the future?
We’re aware of the need for us to adapt to the individual brand or company, to its specific needs and way of operating. We strive to be as agile and adaptable as possible. For example, recently one of our clients felt the need to manage the stages of ideation internally, and to turn the process into a company project and team building exercise. We therefore acted more in the capacity of a coach rather than a process leader. We prepared the various stages, provided the material and transferred the relevant experience and skills so that the client could primarily carry out the work in-house, with our support at key stages.
All in all, Inno Brandizer is a very stimulating albeit challenging method. At every stage of the process, there is the fear of the unknown, which has to be accepted by both sides. It’s not always easy for our clients to come to terms with this, and to accept that they don’t really know where they’re going to end up.
And it’s even more difficult for them to open the door to mistakes. We have seen so many brands test ideas and then just give up if they don’t work. But you also have to understand why those ideas didn’t work! And from there, you have to repeat the process until you find the winning solution. This is why we often encourage clients to incorporate a wide range of concepts into the process, including ideas that aren’t necessarily very convincing on the surface. Because when these ideas are bounced around in a creative way, they can lead to good ideas. And that’s how the best innovations start!
I have to admit, that’s what’s so exciting about Inno Brandizer: you don’t know where you’re heading or going to end up, or what ideas you’ll come up with. It’s more than a method, it’s a state of mind. It’s very creative, but it also has to be very structured in order to work effectively: it requires preparation, synergy, and a fair amount of energy to provide impetus and remain a driving force. But that’s what’s so motivating: the will to find the right solution together!