by Hunter Thurman
Imagine it’s 8th-grade homeroom: the bell rings, and you take your seat. Written on the board is the following:
X + Y + Z = $
ENTER THE INNOVATION EQUATION
There are three factors--X, Y, and Z--to account for in order to drive brand innovation. They aren’t easy to obtain, but they certainly are simple. And it all starts with assigning a constant.
X--Is the AUDIENCE your constant?
Do you know your audience? Can you describe them like you would a friend? Can you explain their tastes, fears, likes, dislikes, and characteristics?
Or, do you at least know about them? Can you explain how old they are, where they shop, in which type of community they reside?
For example, if you know them, you may be working from a fresh segmentation study that really puts a face on a given consumer group. If you know about them, you may be interested in growing your brand’s market share with Millennials. Either is a suitable constant from which to work.
Y--Is the FELT NEED your constant?
This territory becomes a bit more nuanced, but the simple summary of it falls within the following two questions:
- What does the marketplace need?
- What is scarce?
For example, it’s easy to observe that people need energy. It’s also easy to observe that energy drinks are not scarce. So, you may observe that people need energy in a way that won’t leave them feeling jittery. Alright, now you probably have a constant from which to work. You can now set about identifying who most needs this, and how you’ll uniquely deliver it.
Z--Is Design DNA your constant?
A great example of this is when the R&D team shows up with a new, patent-pending technology. Now you have the Design DNA--the capability--as your constant, and your job becomes determining who needs it, and which felt needs it solves.
Any of these three are viable constants and a surefire way to lead your teams beyond the churn that often comes with big brand innovation. Simply identifying your constant will not only ensure you create substantive innovation platforms, but that you lead your team towards growth with the best, most competitive foot forward.
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