Businesses often embark on a PR strategy when they’re launching a new product. But there is more to a success than having an idea of what you think your customers need and then sending out a few press releases to let people know it’s out there. Here, marketing strategiest Philippa Varey from Oriel Marketing discusses the best way to ‘innovate’ rather than just ‘create’.
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that recession can be a time of great opportunity. While competitors fall by the wayside, companies with the right attitude can prepare the foundations for explosive growth once the economy starts to turn.
One of the things that characterises an innovative organisation is its environment. People won’t share new ideas unless they know that they will be given fair consideration. And you can’t expect reasonable suggestions from the team unless they really understand the market and their customers.
So creating a very focussed workforce, that looks at their market with an enquiring mind and values each other’s judgement is fundamental to successful innovation.
The words creativity and innovation are often used interchangeably, but in a business context there is a crucial difference.
Creativity is all about coming up with ideas, and the more off the wall they are, the better. Inventors are creative, and they are often way ahead of their time.
Innovation, on the other hand, is about turning good ideas into something of commercial value. It is a structured process, rooted in the real world, and backed by knowledge, analysis and judgement.
Many start up businesses are in the creative category, based on one person’s passion for one good idea. But to grow into a sustainable, larger organisation there has to be a focus on innovation, which allows the development of multiple new ideas, making choices between them and marketing them effectively.
And creating an innovative environment is just the start. So many businesses have a great idea for a new product, but so fail to make a success of it. What are they doing wrong, and does it have to be such a risky way to grow the business?
- The first mistake so many make is not to listen. Just because you think it is a good idea doesn’t mean anyone else will. Ask people in your target market and LISTEN to what they say.
- Be honest with yourself about the feedback. If the consensus is that it won’t work, then take action. As Google say “Fail fast”.
- The best new products are simple. Don’t over engineer the solution, just because you can.
- And finally, don’t expect people to buy it just because it is new. You need to plan your marketing and implement it well.
If you are planning to expand your business this year, or need advice on developing a new product, Philippa is holding an ‘Innovate or Stagnate’ breakfast seminar on 21 February in Farnham. For more information, click here.