The 6 steps to take innovation to market
1. Create a culture of innovation
Everybody knows that successful businesses need to actively focus on innovation, whether it be product, service or innovative ways to connect with their customers.
Strong businesses have a clear focus on pipeline management, new product development and innovating at scale, as well as the traditional problems of managing budgets and future product trends.
Internal activities have always been a part of innovation, however internal communications are becoming a central element of these programs. For example, we hold a weekly inspiration session with all of our team to inspire and spark innovation from within.
It is important to implement strategic frameworks to guide employee-focused activities.
2. Hitting the innovation bulls eye
But, what do we do with this great new innovation? It is really important to have a plan on how to take this innovation to market. We hold a series of stakeholder workshops, it is important that we have clarity on what we are offering to the market, how we are unique and what sets us apart from our competition and why we exist, what is the driving force behind the innovation that will truly connect with our customers.
It is important to clearly articulate the business’ brand pillars and clearly define our bull’s eye.
3. Retailer buy in
Tell your story (be concise and straight to the point), show the opportunity and how your product fulfills it.
-What is it?
-Why do people need it or why do they want it?
-How is it the solution?
-Make it real (we create full packaging and in store visuals to clearly demonstrate how it will look on their shelves).
-Present your innovation professionally to establish trust.
4. Getting the internal love
Communicating internally is critically important. If your internal staff don’t understand your innovation and love it, how do you expect the external world to.
Create a unique time/event to present your innovation story to your internal team. Where you can include them in the process of development and keep them informed on the progress.
5. Building external advocates
Educating and engaging key stakeholders outside of your business can be the difference between success and failure. Think about the key people that assist to sell your innovation when it is in market, this can be retail staff in store, distributers, small business owners etc.
You must create a strategic plan focused on the external advocates.
Who are they? What motivates them? What do they think about your innovation?
6. Connecting with hearts and minds
A good strategy ensures your innovation connects with our customers' hearts and minds.
Stories are the most powerful communication tool, so lets tell your story in an engaging way. We must also consider the touch points on their path to purchase and how we can use these effectively to drive brand engagement and sales.
Sarah-Jane Finlayson, Director of Finlayson Communications