How the leaders shake things up
The Top 10 Most Innovative UK brands come from a range of different categories, and all innovate in different ways. Here are some of the things they’re doing to stand out from the crowd in the minds of consumers.
- Its “Visualiser” app allows customers to try out the shade range before buying. Optimised for mobile and tablet, it gives a live view of your chosen room in your chosen colour.
- The Dulux Academy works to help tackle skills shortages in the construction sector. The brand’s second, purpose-built Dulux Academy is at its new facility in Ashington.
- The new Dulux paint factory in the UK’s northeast sets out to make this the most advanced and most sustainable paint factory in the world.
- Best known for vacuum cleaners and other domestic products, Dyson has announced plans to move including batteries, robotics and artificial intelligence.
- The business is making big investments in R&D, having opened a Dyson Technology Centre in Singapore focusing on software and AI. A Dyson tech campus is being built in Wiltshire to boost the UK’s engineering skills.
- Dyson has a strong presence on social media and uses teaser campaigns to spark interest in new products and its live events. Events focus on the customer experience, giving people the opportunity to try new products before buying.
- The business has launched a £5m fund for investment in UK restaurants, as a way of differentiating itself from its competitors.
- Deliveroo is reducing the use of disposable plastic by introducing a new “opt in for cutlery” feature on the app and website. It’s also changing Deliveroo packaging to be more environmentally friendly, and is supporting partner restaurants that want to switch to eco-friendly straws for drinks.
- The craft beer brand is expanding into a new category, with the world’s first craft beer hotel, the DogHouse, due to open early next year.
- Sampling is taking the form of a national tour that BrewDog says will “place faceless megabreweries on notice". The brewer will be driving around the city to drop off cases of the beer to "those deemed deserving". Consumers need to tweet @BrewDog to explain why they should get a visit.
- In an “anti-advertising” campaign, BrewDog urged consumers not “buy the advertising”, and gave away one million pints, urging people to make up their own minds about the product after trying it. The campaign was described as “the world’s biggest round”.
- Originally just a pay TV service, the brand now offers Sky Mobile, which gives existing Sky customers the best deals, such as free calls and texts, with users selecting how much data they want.
- Sky has this year launched a £25m investment scheme to support new ideas, technologies and businesses that tackle plastic pollution in the oceans. It has already pledged to remove all single-use plastics from its operations, products and supply chain by 2020.
- The company is establishing a dedicated innovation centre at its Osterley campus, which will be home to its new Get into Tech for Young Women scheme, to attract more female talent into the industry.
- Just Eat
In a push to combat plastic pollution caused by the takeaway sector, Just Eat has trialled the world’s first seaweed-based sauce sachets.
- Just Eat is also trialling robots for home deliveries in some UK cities, and is looking to
- improve personalised services by introducing virtual assistants.
- Royal Mail
Virtual Reality is being used as part of delivery worker training, to help improve postmen and postwomen’s safety around dogs.
Royal Mail has enhanced its tracked delivery services used by leading UK retailers to deliver items online shoppers have ordered, so that email and SMS notifications specify the address of neighbours who have accepted goods for householders who are not in at the time of delivery.
- Royal Mail is one of the founding members of the Joint Industry Committee for Mail, formed this year to record standardised audience data for the direct mail channel for the first time in the UK.
- Compare the Market
- The brand has partnered with Tastecard to launch Meerkat Meals – a new reward scheme for customers offering two-for-one meals at a number of restaurants across the UK.
- Compare the Market has opened a new London office in trendy Shoreditch to attract IT specialists who might not want to move to Peterborough, where the business is based.
- Staff – at their request – now have a greater role in the sustainability of the business; they are given recycled notepads and reusable cutlery, and are encouraged to cycle to work. There’s a rooftop veggie patch at HQ, and photocopiers have been barred to save paper.
- More sustainable bottles are being rolled out, as part of Innocent’s goal to have 100 percent non-virgin plastic packaging by 2022.
- Innocent this year became the first company to use a new, MediaCom-built automated trading desk allowing advertisers to buy digital out-of-home media in London, Manchester and other key cities, with bespoke messaging for different locations.
- Virgin Media
- The brand has launched #VOOM, which it describes as the UK’s biggest and most valuable pitch competition. Business startups and companies on the verge of growth can compete to “Pitch to Rich” (founder Richard Branson) and the chance to win a share of £1 million plus mentoring support.
- Newly launched this year is a service that allows customers waiting for a technician to visit them to see how far away they are. The idea is aimed at reducing the number of missed appointments when householders pop out at just the wrong time.