Bringing consumers along for the innovation ride


July 11, 2017

by Caroline Withers

​The consumer goods market is developing at a faster rate of change than ever before. Consumers are demanding more choice, with social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram broadening communication and accelerating change.

In response, businesses and developers are innovating rapidly to meet these demands. The speed of this change has allowed R&D teams to really stretch themselves and extend their offerings, breaking typical format, sensory and technological barriers. The recent trends in healthy, flavored water have led to the development of tree waters (think Birch, Sibberi, Tapped), with enthusiasm also growing around kale chips and the rise of alternative dairy such as almond, rice and oat based options. 

This is merely the beginning of a whole host of development routes, and could lead to some really interesting new product development over the next few years, including familiar products in new formats - such as fizzy milk & crunchy cheese

Delivering the brand meaning for consumers is key

Image result for museum of failure logoRegardless of the product and development team behind it, stepping into new innovative spaces is a challenge for any brand.Many strong brands have struggled to diversify their portfolios, with the Museum of Failure in Sweden showcasing a wealth of product development mistakes, challenging all budding developers to view failure as an educational tool for the future. Making a great product simply isn’t good enough these days, brands must bring the consumer with them along the journey, with clear brand identity and meaning. Broadening a portfolio doesn’t mean forgetting (or even diluting) what the brand stands for.

Communicating these equities and conceptual cues is essential throughout the usage journey, with product attributes (including the new sensations), pack designs/formats, messaging and claims all playing a role in both implicit and explicit brand cues. Ensuring all key touch-points of the pack and product experience align with the conceptual associations of the brand, provides a strong and coherent message to consumers. This allows the brand to shine through in a new category, shelf position or even store. 

Developers, Marketers and Insight leads need to work together (particularly in the challenging fast-paced innovative world of consumer goods), to deliver new offerings with strong and consistent messages that consumers can both consciously and subconsciously navigate, as well as bringing the strength of the brand along the innovation journey into a new food type, category or marketplace.

Register here for our 'Re-imagine Renovation: how to get change right' workshop taking place Friday 28th July.

Caroline Withers is Head of Innovation at MMR Research Worldwide