Top best practices for branding with innovation

When innovation is part of a company’s DNA, it naturally drives branding. Innovation should start from within and be powered by the leadership in a company. Management must understand what it takes to support innovation activities and be whole-hearted champions for the value of design and outside-the-box thinking. As importantly, they should understand that it’s a hard business to be innovative…and a very long haul.

Companies that have successfully sustained innovation have done so by creating an atmosphere and culture throughout the organization that supports experimentation and doesn’t punish failure. This can only come about when it’s understood from top-down that innovation is a core driver of the brand. When this happens, the brand becomes deeply connected to innovation and this connection is externalized in all other interactions inside and outside the company.

More Best Practices

Think “hybrid.”

Establish a way of thinking that permeates beyond one particular department in your organization. Cross-fertilize ideas from different fields and minds. Today’s innovative design is a hybrid of the traditional silos of industrial, interactive and brand design, such as when designers and engineers pair together and become aware of the power of a physical object to influence the function of the technology and how the product is perceived.

Be persistent. Thomas Edison said, “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” The same could be said for the genius of innovation. It doesn’t come easily. The people who push for it face internal and external challenges throughout the entire process of moving their ideas forward: time and budget constraints, logistical problems, priority shifts, management that’s risk averse and more. Companies need talent that can spark ideas and also be tenacious in driving innovative thinking through to the end of the design process and all the way into the brand’s position in the market.

Create compelling stories to drive the process.

The process of innovation is long and as companies go deeper into it, people tend to loose steam. Organizations need to clearly define a strategy from the beginning: Why are we doing this?

Those driving the processes also need to find ways of supporting that strategy along the path. Do this by creating compelling stories that reinforce the reasoning and help build on incremental successes along the way. Those stories can also be used down the road to connect the brand back to innovation.

Define innovation according your culture.

Innovation means different things to different people. If you are defining your brand by innovation, then do it according to your own terms — what does innovation look like for your company? Its meaning to a furniture maker will not be the same as for a mobile phone manufacturer.

This relates back to the idea of innovation being part of a brand’s DNA. When the process of innovating is organic, it spreads naturally throughout the culture and there is more flexibility in the areas where the brand can compromise on certain aspects of the design and still remain on the right path.