Innovation & Love
by Ellis Malovany
Innovation and love each represents two critical components of Meaningful Difference. Innovation itself manifests from the brand, but the perception of innovation and love are reactions from the consumer. When innovation and love are linked brands are more likely to succeed in building value.
BrandZ measures innovation along with three key components: creativity, disruption, and leadership. Love is simpler and can be measured by asking “does the consumer love the brand”. In the mind of the South African consumer, perceiving a brand’s creativity and disruptiveness is not the same, though each contributes to the overall perception of innovation. Consumers love brands that deliver a positive experience and create consistent value while at the same time simplifying life in a rewarding way. Brands that innovate in ways that benefit consumers are more likely to inspire love.
In both the U.S. and China where innovation drives brands like Apple and Alibaba, it's not surprising that each have Top 30 brands with the most loved brands. South Africa’s Top 30 brands fall below the average global markets’ Top 30 brands in both innovation and love. Only Australians, British and Italians have less love for their Top 30 brands than South Africans, and not surprisingly, these countries also lag behind the world in innovation.
(slides 79, 82)
Innovation: Disruption & Creativity
Brands on a mission to drive innovation often focus on creativity and disruption. Creativity can be expressed in a variety of ways. One way that has become more meaningful to consumers is a brand’s ability to personalize the brand experience, tapping into both the functional and emotional needs of the consumer. Disruption delivers new, efficient paradigms that obliviate old and tired processes.
When measured against the world, South Africa’s Top 30 brands appear weak on both innovation and creativity, correlating well to a lower brand value as compared to global markets.
(Design: Please integrate the following slides - but first need clarification on the Disruption slides)
(Slide 65, 47)
Where is the Love?
Despite the Top 30 having a relatively good local showing on innovation and disruption, they are glaringly absent with regards to local creativity and love. Speciality online commerce platforms including Neflorist and Yuppiechef have capitalized on the dominance of mobile internet by delivering clever campaigns to reach their customers. Top 30 brands should pay attention to their relationship with consumers in demonstrating creative edginess and work towards creating love, a core part of Meaningful Difference.
Loving a brand requires more than simply filling needs or just being seen as innovative. Brands like Amazon, Apple, and Google are loved because they impact consumers’ lives in many ways, not just in one or two areas. Brands that leverage technology to create value are destined to succeed. It has never been easier for brands to cherry-pick technologies to improve customer connectedness and brand relevance.
(Slide 55 - Note this should state top 30)
As South Africans become more digitally integrated, a process that will accelerate in an improving economy, brands that are seen and heard in environments already synonymous with innovation, disruption, and love are likely to be perceived positively.
Enhanced Mobile Experiences
Globally speaking, the brands on the forefront of innovation find love not far behind. With South Africa’s highly integrated mobile environment, voice-driven apps and devices like Alexa/Google/Siri should grow quickly, as the economy improves. Though many South Africans are not yet there, it’s only a matter of time before “Hey[e][f] Google”, “Alexa…”, and “Hi Siri” will be heard by locals to fulfill a wide array of activities.
Something to consider - throughout the rest of the world where digitalization has increasingly taken the form of spoken Alexa/Google communication - choices are set by a default or by paid search. Voice activated and automatic replenishment will simplify lives and meet needs; local brands that understand this have the opportunity now to preempt competitive “voices” by investing in and building a powerful love connection with their consumers.
Love & Innovation - Top Down
Seven of the Top 30 South African most valuable brands also rank in the Top 10 in perceived leadership, and most of these brands also triangulate well with those in the top rankings for innovation and disruption. Innovative leaders recognize trends and make decisions that support creativity, spur disruption, create a heightened sense of innovation, and connect a brand to its consumers in a meaningfully different way. Innovation, as a brand building investment, can generate immediate positive feedback, increased brand relevance, and lasting brand love - and a competitive advantage.