Brand innovation management have become increasingly important priorities for firms over the last few decades. Firms rely on strong brands and product innovations to gain competitive advantage and fuel growth. Although academic research has addressed a number of different areas and topics that have collectively advanced our understanding, the interrelationship between branding and innovations is still relatively under-researched. Brand and innovation management need and benefit from each other, suggesting a need for a deeper integration between the two". (Oliver, T. Bayus, B. & Lane, K. 2015)
Good management of innovation has a great impact on the strength of a company's brands and, therefore, on their income generation. We will provide some light in the optimal management of innovation from the point of view of Branding.
Branding There are as many meanings of the word "brand", but that essential depends on the context in which it is used.Depending on these different context and their unique environments, the brand may operate as the logo of the company. Or it may seen as the corporate identity of which that logo is a part. To some, the brand is a collection of perceptions in the mind of the consumer to be influenced by shrewd advertising. To others, the brand may be seen as belonging exclusively to the domain of marketing. Its function may be considered to be limited to the fields of graphic design, advertising and packaging design. Although for many people such views on how a brand driven innovation perspective they are not. A brand can be defined as the relationship that an organization maintains with its outside world. The communication of a brand generates expectations among consumers and these expectations are fulfilled through the creation of new products, services and experiences.
Innovation Depending on the context, innovation is often seen as something that involves highly complex technology. Some consider it to be the exclusive domain of research and development. The result of innovation if often seen to be a new product or new technology. Although these ways of looking at innovation are common, for brand- driven innovation we need to understand the concept in a slightly different manner. Innovation can be involved with new and complex technology, but more often that no, it isn´t. Innovations about creating sustainable value, and sometimes a new way of using existing technology crates more value than the invention of new technology. And the result of innovation can be a product or a new technology, but very often it´s a process (a new way of doing things), a service or business model. Some of these results are never seen by the user they are internal innovations. Lastly, innovation in the context of brand driven innovations does not start with and idea, it starts a long time before the first idea has even been formed.
Innovation is perhaps the most important capability in business today. If your brand is your core asset, then innovation is about how you evolve and leverage this asset in changing markets. Products, manufacturing, and the majority of business activities can be achieved in partnership with others.
Innovating your brand has a number of dimensions – some around how you innovate the Brand concept itself (why it exists, who it’s for, how it’s manifest, and articulated), but also around how you innovate the branded business (what it brands, how it’s delivered, how it can extend, and what difference it makes). We explore each of these aspects, and how they can be achieved in smarter, more innovative ways. But to start it is important to consider the context, the world around us. Brands need to be agile and responsive, reflecting the changing environment. In the same way, this will be the most important starting point for you in thinking how to achieve more with your brand.
Brand process and brand content
The brand has one very special qualities in brand-driven innovation. Let´s take a closer look at these qualities, by looking at what function the brand performs in brand- driven innovation, and what that teaches us about the qualities it should have. If a brand drives innovation, it means that the brand sets in motion a process of change, with the intention of improving a situation and/ or creating value. This implies two things:
- The brand inspires and sets in motion that process of change.
- The brand challenge the people involved in the innovation process to improve something or create some kind of value.
In other words, the brand has a dual role to fulfil; firstly, it plays a process role and secontly, it performs a content role. The process role is designed to trigger and inspire a climate of change; while the objective of the content role is to give direction to the changes that may need to be made.
"The brand can best be defined as the relationship an organisation has with the outside world. It is the platform fo the shared understanding between marketing and innovation, and between organisation and user" (Abbing, E. R., 2010)
Recommendations on brand innovation
It is not easy to find a company that is not interested, at least apparently, by innovation. Almost all businesses include it in their cultural values and in the pillars of their strategy.
This is so because, in general, the consumer does not expect the novelty in weak brands (which usually base their strategy on price), so it is likely that the innovation does not have the expected success. In addition, once innovation has been launched under the weak brand, it would be a mistake to reverse and launch such innovation under a strong brand, because neither the distributor nor the consumer would accept a higher price for the same innovation.
- Innovations must be assigned to existing brands.
Product managers tend to launch innovations under new brands, but in that way they are preventing existing brands from "rejuvenating", demonstrating their ability to satisfy new needs and expectations of their clients.
- Innovation is the key to the competitiveness of a brand.
- An innovation should be launched with its own brand only in the event that innovation creates new primary demand, and that there is no fit with any of the existing brands.
In any case, each launch of an innovative product must answer a series of questions to determine the convenience or not of endowing it with its own brand.
The emphasis on innovating and adapting to the market must be carried out maintaining at all times the identity of the brand (its essence, its promise, its raison d'etre), and a consistency in the quality and in the codes of communication and style (although the message changes over the years).
Brands need innovation to fulfil the promise they make to consumers. Innovation needs brands to have a meaning and meaning. A brand connects the marketing department with the innovation department. Innovation needs the brand as a guide to connect the good that the organization has with the wishes and needs of consumers.
- Courent, A. (2013) Brand Innovation Branderstand: understanding is believing.
- Aaker, D. (2008) A brand strategy for innovation. Harvard Deusto
- Gestion (2014) Innovation in brands.
- Fisk, P. (2015) Brand Innovation
- Brexendorf, T. O., Bayus, B., & Keller, K. L. (2015). Understanding the interplay between brand and innovation management: findings and future research directions. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 43(5), 548-557.
- Abbing, E. R. (2010). Brand driven innovation: strategies for development and design (Vol. 21). Ava Publishing.