Happy New Product Development

After festivities and the respite of public holidays, it’s that time of year when we pause for a breath to refocus, re-energise and rebuild.  In many ways it is a clean sheet – new diaries, new calendars, perhaps some new socks? And of course there’s the formality of new year resolutions that we hope can make us better versions of ourselves, or at least make us temporarily tougher on our perennial feeble-mindedness.

One of the phrases bandied about is “out with the old and in with the new” and while 2016 has generally been given a poor end-of-year report due to celebrity deaths and political uncertainty, should we be so radical in dismissing it, and indeed other things, quite so wholeheartedly?

Behavioural science tells us that we seek and reward familiarity because our prevalent System 1 thinking is a pattern recognition machine.  When you’re introducing something new (a resolution to stop smoking, BREXIT legislation, a new flavour of cheese), the disappearance of any such familiarity creates uncertainty and diminishes the likelihood of buy-in.  This makes some of the traditional metrics used in New Product Development testing rather more questionable, such as combining New and Different into one “New and Different” attribute.  We might say, when asked in a survey, that we want things that are new and different, but the reality is that if it is too different then our System 1 thinking will struggle at point of purchase.  We see this time and time again when testing food ideas.  We may not like to admit it but we are creatures of habit, as those probably-already-smashed new year resolutions demonstrate.

After exploring our data on new product launches we’ve tested, BrainJuicer has introduced the notion of Fluent Innovation.

capture

The core foundation of Fluent Innovation is that it takes more than a good idea to create a great innovation; it’s about making that idea acceptable so that people get (understand) it, and are therefore more likely to get (buy) it. As such, Fluent Innovation is all about combining genuine, surprising novelty with stuff that is already fluent and familiar. It is not about “out with the old and in with the new”, it is about combining novelty with familiarity.  Neither the new nor the familiar is enough in itself.

We believe successful innovation is 20% the new and surprising, 80% the familiar and pleasing. You have to have that core good idea, but so much of what makes the difference between success and failure lies in framing it for acceptance.  How much is pleasing and familiar about a Hard Brexit compared to a Soft one?

Human beings have a gut liking for the familiar. A lot of people who want to innovate push against that – work to find a disruptive, highly original idea and present it as radical. But as is always the way, you get much better results by working with the grain of System 1 thinking. Take that same game-changing idea and find what makes it familiar, and you’re on the path to Fluent Innovation.

The nutribullet craze – it’s a glorified blender, The ION AIR LP: It’s a record player with Bluetooth, the newly-announced Sony NW-A35  – it’s a Walkman with a beefed-up spec.  And how might Christians ever get pagans take up Christmas: by tying it in with their existing pagan solstice festivals, complete with their penchant for decorating trees.

Happy January, and Happy New Product Development.

Innovation Month: Fighting Back Against Idea Fatigue

We’ve all heard the figures about the staggering numbers of new products launched every year. But what people don’t often say is that these innovations are rather unevenly distributed. Some categories see only a few major launches. Others see a huge turnover of new ideas. And behind every one that makes it to market there are a throng of concepts that didn’t get that far.

idea-fatigue

Trying to innovate in these everyday but high-turnover categories – think alcoholic drinks, waters, snack foods, or haircare for instance – can be frustrating, and it must seem like idea fatigue has set in and only truly special concepts can break through. The rest get dismissed – “Too boring!” “Too weird!” “Too off-putting!”

Is there hope? Yes. There are a few things you can do to improve your innovation process and optimise concepts to prevent the ones with commercial potential from getting lost. Here are our top four tips.

Continue reading

Innovation Month: Innovation In A Change-Phobic World

Sometimes it takes a huge event to make people look at their assumptions in a new light. Taken by surprise by the EU Referendum and Brexit, British marketers have had to think carefully about how well they knew the people they were selling to. And, as a fascinating new study by the Futures Company points out, it’s not just a British thing. All over Europe and beyond there are vast groups of consumers who feel a sense of loss in the face of change, and respond strongly to the familiar.

british-brands

Marketers tend to be novelty-seeking types who talk a big game about the inevitability of change. Forcing themselves to consider more conservative or change-averse consumers can be a wrench. But while history may be on the side of change, psychology isn’t. Continue reading

System1 Politics: Five Things You Need To Know

This week we were proud to launch System1 Politics, a new BrainJuicer project. Here’s what you need to know.

It’s asking the big questions.

System1 Politics is a new specialist unit set up to use BrainJuicer methodologies – like our Brand Tracking, Ad Testing, Predictive Markets, and Storyteller tools – to tackle political questions. Like “who’s going to win the US election?”

It’s following the Presidential race.

At system1politics.com, our microsite, which is currently all about Trump and Clinton and will be for the next 8 weeks, with an update every Tuesday showing their current standings and a fresh selection of no-holds-barred consumer verbatims that might raise even Trump’s hair. Even back in January we were predicting an extremely close race and the current waves of data are bearing that out. Continue reading

How to Use Colour

We try and provide interesting reading ourselves at Brian Juicer Blog, but every so often we find a post by someone else we just have to link. For instance, “Color Psychology In Marketing: The Complete Guide” by content marketing firm Coschedule – a gobsmackingly detailed guide to how to use colour and what each colour ‘means’. Even if you’re sceptical of some of the psychological insight, you’ll pick up some design basics which might make your next presentation a lot brighter.

And some of the material is fascinating – like this survey on the associations of colours and words.

colours and wordsNo wonder so many companies use blue, the colour of trust, reliability, and security.

From our perspective, the most crucial use of colour is as an asset a brand can ‘own’ – a mental association that builds Fluency for a particular brand and makes it more recognisable and thus more likely to be picked in a fast System 1 decision. Take Santander, for instance. Underpinning the bank’s rapid market share growth in the UK was its saturation use of a particular shade of red. Bright and dynamic, it helped the bank stand out in a market both highly competitive and slow to change. When we surveyed the distinctive assets of banks last year, Santander’s ownership of red was unchallenged – no mean feat, since several other banks use it. Colours matter, but they matter most when you can make them yours.

Off Target

P&G made headlines last week when they announced they would be rebalancing their Facebook advertising spend away from targeted advertising. “We targeted too much, and we went too narrow”, as chief marketing officer Marc Pritchard put it, concluding that Facebook targeting was useful for time-specific advertising (like nappies for new Mums) but ultimately lacked efficiency. P&G’s TV ads, like the 5-Star Thank You Mom, speak to everyone. But its Facebook spend was way too specific.

thank you mom

At BrainJuicer, we’ve made no secret of the fact we aren’t huge fans of heavy targeting as a marketing practice. As a behavioural intervention it makes sense on paper – if you genuinely can guarantee that you can reach someone just as they’re about to make a relevant decision, why not get your brand in front of them? This is what makes Google Adwords such a great product, since search is as good an indicator of relevance and decision imminence as you can find. But targeting based on interests and histories – which is what most digital targeting boils down to – does not meet that criteria.

But the real reason we’re suspicious of digital targeting-based strategies is that they make one huge, and misguided, assumption. Continue reading

“You Had Me At Hello”: Introducing Fluent Innovation

Earlier this week we gave a webinar on Fluent Innovation – an idea we’re using in our new product development work (our famous Predictive Markets tool, instance). The core of Fluent Innovation is very simple – great innovation isn’t just about having a good idea, it’s about making that idea acceptable. And the way you make an idea acceptable is by making it Fluent – familiar, easy to process… “surprisingly obvious”, you might say.

To explain this in the webinar, we told the story of the Bialetti Moka coffee pot, one of the great classics of 20th Century design, and beyond that a massive commercial success – when people say every Italian home has one, they may not be far off!

BLUE BOTTLE

The Moka Pot. Innovative inside, familiar outside.

The Moka is a beautiful piece of engineering, but that isn’t the only place its genius lies. The Moka combines a brilliant idea and immediately appealing design in a way that’s a perfect example of Fluent Innovation. Continue reading