While one brand says “this cannot be done”, another one is already doing it. Or it has already done it. Companies don’t need more data but a new mindset. And there are no small and large brands, there are fast and slow brands. Before the Digital Age, the big company “ate” the small one. From now on, it is the fast companies and fast brands that “eat for breakfast” the slow ones. Innovation is recognized today as one of the essential ingredients of any modern economy.
The first thing we asked ourselves in this new context was:
Why should we write a specific post on innovation and branding?
The search for an answer triggered another question: What is the deepest relationship between branding and innovation, if any? In the last 10 years there has been a very marked phenomenon: the most valuable brands in the world, since the massive disruption of digital, have been those that generate the most innovation, those that dedicate the most time or resources to innovate. In the digital age there is a direct relationship between innovation and value in any type of company. This phenomenon started with technology companies 10 years ago, but it is no longer exclusive. Companies that do not generate innovation in what they do have marked their final sentence.
This is the raison d’être of this post and this is the new name for the meeting between Branding and Innovation; Brandinnovation: any company that wants to compete in any segment and growth phase must innovate in the different aspects of the company, product, service, processes, culture or in the search for efficiencies in all these areas to increase its value and the value of its brand. This is the mindset or mantra necessary in the era of exponential technologies and digital disruption.
A virtuous circle: Branding + Innovation
As a result of this new reality, TOTEM Innovation was born. The company’s arm focused on Innovation, but not disconnected from Branding, quite the contrary.
Our Chief Innovation Partner, Sebastián Muller, has been working and leading digital innovation for more than 15 years together with startups and large corporations (Toyota Europe, Merlin Properties, Ferrovial Servicios, PSA Group, Danone, among others), explaining and applying the importance that today, every company has to focus on innovating.
Although we have already been executing a significant number of innovation projects, given the flood of inquiries, we wanted to publicly share this new value proposition that adds to the existing one. One of the challenges is to bring something from the future to which we turn to our present to make it a simple tool that allows anyone who reads this post to start walking or enhance the path of innovation and generate a change in their professional environment and also on a personal level.
There are many and very good writings of innovation, very interesting to nurture visions and innovation strategies, I intend in this post to condense in the shortest possible way my main learning working with startups and corporates on innovation models so that anyone who wants to innovate can apply them without the need to understand large complex models.
A new world needs a new mindset.
The market has become increasingly competitive. The appearance of new models, the irruption of new technologies, the budding disintermediation, the collaborative economy, classes with fewer resources that enter the consumer circuits, and so many other variables that make the big ones want to protect their market share at any cost.
The brands that will dominate the 21st century are not afraid of change. They know how to create value, they have a clear business vocation with a responsible vision, with the clear mission of making people’s lives better. They are encouraged to focus their strategies without a visceral fear of failure but with a desire to evolve permanently. They see what others do not see and do what others do not do, or are not encouraged to do. Without fear.
Taking technology to a more human aspect
Valuing people, both clients and teams within the organization. Because innovation has a human face, it is about people. Each person in the organization can contribute something positive. Enhancing proactivity, creative spaces, curiosity, exploration, new ideas and, above all, action: bringing ideas to construction, to reality.
Technology well used can be incredibly profitable. But the creation of customer experiences cannot rely exclusively on it. Everyone wants to know their clients better, their tastes, habits, customs, profile. This is not new, as the successful businesses of yesteryear leveraged much of their success in fully understanding their customers. What happens today is that the scales are so astronomical, the rotations are so fast, and the speed is so dizzying, that new technologies (big data, AI, analytics, IoT, etc.) can collaborate in an imperious way in making this new era, an excellent one for all the participants.
It is about transforming information into value for the client. The objective is to transform data into information, information into knowledge, knowledge into action, action to benefit, and benefit to impact and meaning.
We live in a world in which the speed of disruptive changes (changes that modify our way of acting and relating) grows exponentially.
What measures can we adopt to coexist harmoniously with constant change?
The answer is simple: constant, gradual innovation focused on different innovation horizons. This is the TOTEM Innovation model, capable of guiding the innovation of any company in the sector.
Innovation is not a department within the company, innovation is a way of thinking and doing things. For this, you have to believe in it and assume the transforming and value-creating power it generates.
To begin, strengthen our ability to read in real time and accompany reality readings with constant adaptations. We must open our minds and oil our own speed of learning and execution.
Second: Define with strategic clarity the areas where you are going to innovate.
Third: Prepare a roadmap for innovation by horizons.
H1: Make what we have efficient.
H2. Expand supply and demand with linear innovations.
H3: Develop models that can potentially become new products or services that will expand the business capabilities of the company.
The principles that make innovation possible in organizations.
Spaces for experimentation and the flow of ideas in a transversal and vertical way in all directions.
Open culture where learning is a central capital and failure is accepted as a way of learning. Professionals empowered to innovate within the company.
System of objectives and Incentives aligned with innovation.
The correct mentality to know how to read the change: It is the entrepreneur’s mentality.
The correct methodology to learn, evolve and streamline processes.
Promote diversity in all its forms.
Because today innovation is accessible to any type of company.
Because today being agile is more important than being great.
Because constant change and the speed of change is accelerating more and more: If the rate of change of a person or company is slower than that of their environment, the company is writing its own ending.
If you don’t adopt agile innovation, you will soon be surpassed by another player who knows how to go faster and you will be obsolete.
Because the value of companies and brands is increasingly linked to the level of innovation they exercise.
This new reality confronts us with short and medium term situations that are no longer easy to predict. This changing reality forces us to define new models that take as their fundamental premise that the only constant is change. What can we do about this new scenario? Be agile. Learning to work under scenarios where moving fast and in uncertain scenarios is essential.
Show me the money
When innovation is a strategic part of your business plan, you can aim to achieve the following:
Create new sources of income and business opportunities.
Launch low-scale pilots to spot high-value opportunities and scale them once they’ve been tested – that is, different uses of data, customer-centric, benefits for tenants, etc.
Improve the efficiency. Cost savings in energy, logistics, suppliers, management
Create new communication assets. Brand and public relations opportunities to position your company.
Retention and attraction of talents. Committed to real innovation, creating an innovative culture of constant learning and learning by doing.
Disrupt instead of being disrupted.
Updated vision on technology and business. Update the business vision while learning about the main disruptors in the market to learn from and potentially partner with them.
Create market trends
Increase brand value and company value
Attract new investors
Improve relations with the market and stakeholders.
If companies change their way of thinking, they will also change their way of acting.
The world at large is in a good position to embrace innovation without fear. The future can be predicted or built, and the way you embrace innovation, your company will be one of those who predict or build the future. Although we have already been executing a significant number of innovation projects, today we share the good news. Long live TOTEM, our dear customers, companies that want to disrupt and not be disrupted!