What if…

True innovation can often come from a basic questioning of the status quo.  It can simply come from asking “What if…?”  The ideas that answer that question may be “blue sky” ideas but they can lead to “game changing” innovation that take a company from a red ocean to a blue ocean.

A “What if…” question is often based on a consumer insight, explicitly or implicitly.  What if my trash can did not have to smell like one or be so disgusting?  Sounds a bit “blue sky”?  After all, it is trash.  The input is always the same and over time, it naturally decomposes and starts to smell.  So unless the input changes, the output will remain the same – status quo.  Well, the folks at Hefty(r) found a solution – BlackOut Kitchen Bags with OdorBlock technology.  The black bags make trash less visible and the odor blocking technology hides the smell.  Is it “game changing” innovation?  In my mind, it changes the category.  Trash bags now actually mitigate the two things that make trash so unappealing.  Granted, it will never be appealing, but it will change the quality of my life – noticeably.  And that is game changing, because now you will have smelly trash bags and OdorBlock trash bags.

But it is not all that easy.  The “What if…?” question is not a panacea.  Just because the idea answering this question is innovative, you have to keep in mind the marketplace in which the product will finally be compared in.  Take, for example, method(r) laundry detergent – just pump to dispense your laundry detergent!  Easy to measure (sans measuring cup to clean each time), comes in a small bottle rather than a mega plastic container, uses plant-based ingredients – great idea.  But the market leader is at $14.99 for 64 loads (Tide 2x Ultra Original Scent Liquid Laundry, 100 oz).  The price of method’s innovative product?  $15.49 for 50 loads.  I get 14 more loads essentially free with Tide.  That is a very large premium to pay.  The convenience of not having to mess with a soapy measuring cup (and it is a pain point) may not be worth the premium for many consumers.  I would not be surprised if Tide comes out with a pump product in the near future for roughly its current everyday price.

The answer to a “what if…” question can be very powerful, and lead to “game changing” innovation, but it is not always the “end all, be all” answer.  Other factors need to be considered to make the answer truly innovative.

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About Stephane

Stephane Bardin has a deep understanding of consumers, combining go-to-market strategy and successful execution to drive sales growth. He is a strong marketing executive with strategic consumer and analytical talents in growing brands in the US and internationally. He is a consumer catalyst, producing results for: - Budweiser Beer - McDonald's - Hasbro - Pfizer - Kraft - Starbucks - Bumble Bee - Designer Whey - Aquafina - Tropicana - BRISK - Pepsi and more • Drove Budweiser Beer achievement of #1 foreign beer brand recognition in China. • Developed strategies to re-launch McDonald’s chicken sandwiches. • Developed top-line revenue stream for Bumble Bee in two new markets • Created the best-ever consumer promotion for Unilever brands. Stephane has a reputation for conceptualizing and executing integrated consumer marketing programs that positively impact P&L results. Stephane Bardin is an expert in using new technologies and media to connect consumers with brands and drive bottom-line results. He is a collaborative contributor who is an expert at building brand equity, loyalty, and ROI for highly recognized consumer products and brands. He has demonstrated performance using key levers of marketing to drive strategy and sales growth: advertising vehicles, consumer promotions, consumer/market research/syndicated data, new product development/innovation, multicultural marketing, interactive/digital/mobile/social media, SEO, public relations, shopper marketing, and partnership/alliance marketing. • Positive P&L Impact and Growth • Branding / Equity Building • Strategic Alliances / Partnerships • New Product Development / Innovation • Social Media/Online/Ecommerce Marketing • Cross-functional / Cultural Team Leadership • Strategic Planning /Tactical Execution • Syndicated Data Analysis and BASES • Advertising and Sales Promotion • Shopper Marketing • Trademark Management • Global Marketing Strategy
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3 Responses to What if…

  1. Pingback: What Can We Learn from P&G’s New Laundry Pods? | Dare to Innovate

  2. Pingback: Dream A Little… | Dare to Innovate

  3. Pingback: Dream A Little… | Consumer Catalyst - Branding, Consumer Engagement, Innovation

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