According to Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Industry: Lifestyles Survey, 43% of global companies in 2021 strongly agree that they incorporate assessments of consumer trends into strategic planning. This is reflective of a higher number of companies actively seeking consumer insights to help innovations succeed.
Companies from all industries are often reactive to market trends, having to decide when something is a fad or facing a “me too” situation. This often makes it difficult to stand out or gain customer loyalty in the long term. For companies considering these issues and the path ahead for brands, the solution lies in listening directly to consumers and placing them at the centre of pipelines.
From quantitative methods such as surveys to more exploratory qualitative methods like online ethnographies, discussion boards and home visits, consumer insights can provide direction at all points in an innovation’s lifecycle.
A Typical Innovation Pipeline and Key Problems to Solve
What are the benefits of a consumer voice? How and where can they add value?
Confirm, assess and prioritise trends that truly matter to consumers
The initial phase of innovation pipelines often involves What’s Next? by identifying areas of focus and creating ideas. Sometimes, companies make the mistake of assuming what a trend means to consumers or what it looks like. To avoid this, utilising consumers to give direct input into trends that impact their daily lives allows for stronger representation of how authentic a trend is and if it is rooted in reality. When given a chance to respond, consumers can help companies capture nuances and remove assumptions about trends, showcasing white space and realistic pathways for future implementation.
Orient innovations around real consumer attitudes, behaviours and experiences
Beyond creating new ideas, companies often face the challenge of making a business case with a new innovation. The right decisions can be made through witnessing consumer routines live, hearing their decision making, and in the moment of usage uncover what truly matters. By embracing these realistic behaviours, brands can remain competitive and fit products into real life scenarios.
Ensure every touch point with consumers is convenient and reflective of their needs
Once an innovation has life, too often the strategy for launch does not consider what draws consumers in and how consumers discover new products. To choose the most effective strategy, consumers can help with product testing and refining to help determine what locations, channels or even places within retailers a product is most accessible. A clear customer-driven map that reflects how and where people shop for a product helps ensure successful launches.
Stay relevant, competitive, and flexible to shifting demand and expectations
Lastly, every good innovation must be revisited and refreshed for consumers in a market that often moves fast. The most influential innovations often remain true to the core but incorporate flexibility for subtle changes. By re-engaging with consumers on innovations after launch, characteristics such as marketing, partnerships and brand ambassadors can easily be updated and keeps an innovation fresh.
More brands across industries are thinking about becoming truly consumer-centric. A great example, US-based Trader Joe’s, has achieved a cult-like following by placing its customers first. From simplifying the shopping experience, a wide variety of changing products and excellent customer service, Trader Joe’s considers the customer at every point in the experience.
It is never the wrong time to consider bringing in a consumer viewpoint
When considering a project along the innovation pipeline in the future, clients need to analyse whether they already utilise consumers’ opinions, or plan to bring in the consumer voice? Considering this helps to ensure that the consumer is truly at the centre of a business innovation strategy and can help ensure success.
To learn more about Euromonitor International Consulting, click here.