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.


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.

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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.


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

A Brand For All Seasons: Fluency and Versatility

Brands can fit into many different contexts. A bottle of wine can be a gift, an accompaniment to a home-cooked meal, a romantic shared experience, or just a way to relax after a hard day in the office. How do people decide which brand to pick for which purpose? A vast amount of segmentation work is done trying to figure questions like this out.

drinking wine

But could it all be much simpler? New work by academics Davide Giacolone and Sara Jaeger, presented at the Sense Asia conference in Shanghai, suggests it might be. Giacolone and Jaeger were investigating versatility in food and drink – the chances of a given foodstuff being seen as right for a variety of different contexts. They looked at fruit, chocolate bars – and wine. They showed participants a number of common wines with basic details given – the year, the grape, and the country of origin. They then asked which of the bottles they recognised, and whether specific wines would be appropriate for specific occasions.

What they found was simple and intuitive, but it has big implications. 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!


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

Find The Feeling On January 14th

Every year we publish the FeelMore50 – a unique list of the world’s most emotional ads. If you feel nothing, you do nothing, and the ads we celebrate in the FeelMore50 have taken the best route to making people do something: making them feel.

The 2016 list – covering the viral successes, award winners, and notable ads of 2015 – comes out on January 14th. The night before, we’re hosting the FeelMore AdNight in London and New York, celebrating the best ads of the year.

fm50 banner

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be running a few previews of the FeelMore50 on this blog, and putting a spotlight on some of the questions the list will answer. Not just about which ads make people feel the most but about some of the new features in FeelMore and how the list reflects trends in 2015 advertising.

There’s one question that’s more important than any other, though. Why do brands make emotional ads in the first place? You’ve seen the evidence linking emotional campaigns to successful business effects (like profit gain, share gain, decline in price elasticity, and so on). But that’s only half the story.

What we know about brand building tells us that advertising – and particularly creative, emotional advertising – is absolutely critical to successful long-term brand growth. Brand growth is rooted in the 3Fs – Fame, Feeling and Fluency, mental shortcuts that help the brand become an easy, System 1 choice at the moment of decision.

Fame helps a brand come readily to mind. Feeling helps people choose it. And Fluency helps people recognise and process a brand quickly.

What’s not on that list? Differentiating messages. New product information. Appeals to brand loyalty. That stuff is far less important than many marketers believe. It’s an appeal to our slower, System 2, thinking. Which for the most part just rubber-stamps the choices our subconscious, System 1 brains already made using Fame, Feeling and Fluency as shortcuts.

So advertising shouldn’t try too hard to push a message, reel off product information, or tell you how smart you are for buying Brand X not Brand Y (which, let’s face it, you probably buy sometimes too.)

Instead it should create Fame, Feeling and Fluency.

Aim for Fame by going for reach – picking channels that get seen, making content that gets shared, and investing in your five-star ads.

Find the Feeling by making adverts that move people, not lecture them. The kind of adverts that show up in the FeelMore50, in other words.

Speed the decision by making sure the adverts use and build a brand’s unique assets to create Fluency. This does not mean simply plastering the logo everywhere! That kind of thing can damage Feeling. But if there are colours, shapes, characters, sounds and slogans as well as logos that your brand “owns”, then make your ads work harder by using them.

In the FeelMore50 we’ll be showcasing great work that hits each of these three targets, and by doing so sets the wheels of brand growth in motion. Join us on January 14th.

Branding: A Shift In Perspective

Last week I was lucky enough to go to the annual Polish Market Research Congress, to talk about branding and behavioural sciences. The organisers were friendly and incredibly helpful, even providing me with a simultaneous translation device: I felt like a UN delegate! Through it, I learned that the issues affecting Polish marketers are universal – what to do about new data sources, new media channels, new competitors, and the ever-changing relationship between brand owners and research buyers?


By devoting a session to behavioural science, the Congress acknowledged that shifting perspectives on branding aren’t all to do with screens, devices or generations. Understanding what happens in the mind of a decision-maker can be just as revolutionary. And since I was presenting in Poland, there was an obvious comparison to make: Copernicus. Continue reading

Fame, Feeling And Fluency – The Only Brand Metrics You Will Ever Need

Orlando Wood, MD, BrainJuicer Labs, takes a look into our new BrainJuicer Brand Tracking model – and explains why we developed it.

There has been a growing awareness in the marketing community that traditional Brand Tracking doesn’t really help much to guide and predict brand growth, and there is desire to see it reinvented from the bottom-up. Why not start with Behavioural Sciences as a guide, because the great thing about science is that it simplifies and clarifies things? And if there’s one area of consumer research that needs cleaning up, it’s brand tracking.

tesco extra

What the Behavioural Sciences tell us is that we humans are fast and frugal in our decision-making. The truth is that people think much less about brands than we, as an industry, previously believed. People don’t evaluate options carefully, but instead rely on mental shortcuts – rules of thumb – to help them decide between options quickly and effortlessly.

There are three key mental shortcuts that help people decide between brands. We call them Fame, Feeling and Fluency. To our fast-thinking, System 1 minds:

  • If a brand comes readily to mind, it’s a good choice (Fame).
  • If a brand feels good, it’s a good choice (Feeling).
  • If a brand is recognisable, it’s a good choice (Fluency).

These rules of thumb are what behavioural scientists call the ‘availability heuristic, the ‘affect heuristic’ and the ‘processing fluency heuristic’. Continue reading