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Where’s your “same, but nicer”?

September 20, 2011

Bain makes a great observation in its new report- The Great Eight- Trillion Dollar Growth Trends to 2020- that there’s an opportunity to make already good things, even better. It’s a reflection of the increasing wealth of the marketplace and the desire for these consumers to have fresh experiences, but also services that deliver the ultimate in convenience.

“ Everything the same, but nicer. Innovation will increasingly come in new forms beyond novel technologies like iPads and Twitter. Look for businesses to invest more heavily in “soft innovations,” which will offer affluent customers premium products and services as substitutes for common consumer purchases, better products commanding higher prices and a greater variety of niche products. Soft innovations will change our basic habits, from the way we drink coffee (think mochaccinos rather than drip brew) to the way we buy clothes (with matching outfits delivered to our doorstep rather than shopped for piecemeal in stores).”

What’s interesting about this thought is that it highlights the role for thinking about how what exists can be made a little better, rather than pushing to something completely radical and new. The later is not only scary for many brands and businesses, but also unrealistic, whereas what Bain suggests about building on top of existing practices and platforms is far more attainable and doable than radical reinvention,

Companies can approach this by doing the following:

1. Really understanding their customers- who are they? how does your brand fit into their lives? what might be some unmet needs? How do they really use your products and services? What do they supplement them with? What’s the emotional driver and appeal of what they are looking for?

2. Inspiration sources- Looking globally for examples from other markets and looking across categories to see what ideas might have the opportunity for transfer.

3. Internal knowledge- What ideas has the company had to elevate existing products and services? How can they be made better

4. Internal collaboration- How can internal teams take the variety of knowledge at their disposal to create new viable entities by working and collaborating together?

 

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