Thursday, September 21, 2006

Branding BlowOuts. Now Innovation Impotence Too

Well, you already know my view on branding. It's something you do when you have a lot of money and don't have anything important to say, kind of like Blue Cross Blue Shields "Power of Blue" branding campaign. I thought Big Blue was IBM? Well, plagiarism never worked in school either, but some branding expertly making six figures for no reason at Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Anyway, on to Innovation Impotence. You know Innovation and the Creativity Economy are supposed to be the hot new buzz words given Business Week Innovation Editor Bruce Nussbaums tick on the subject GET CREATIVE August 5, 2005. Accordingly, two years ago, according to a Boston Consulting Group Poll, 97% of CEOs said they were disappointed on their innovation return on investment. As Jeff Goldblum said in the movie Independence Day, "Ooopps." This year that number is reportedly down to 64%. The dramatic turnaround is attributed to better PR awareness. People were listening.

Yet according to McKinsey & Company the consumer products industry has lost its glow. Revenue in the US $2 trillion packaged goods industry is flat and executives want to know where the growth is going to come from.

So as Clara Peller said in those venerable Wendy's commercials, "Where's the beef?" Consumer packaged goods innovation is still, for the mostpart, nowhere to be seen on the horizon. Why?

Because business leaders misuse the term innovation, throwing it back and forth as if saying the word makes it so. Lets look at innovation at The Home Depot who is currently running an Innovation HomeShow 06 in all of its stores. Is this innovation? With hundreds of innovations on display? No! Because manufacturers assembled merely because they have updated old products does not constitute innovation. In fact, making the old new has never been considered an innovation. It's just a necessity. Hence, these innovations fail to change the rules of the game and generate incremental profit and volume. Though newly designed, LG and Maytag's numbers are still flat. On the upside, better displays, the newest models and more knowledgeable sales associates have helped The Home Depot and Lowe's appliance sales teams chip away at perennial go to department store Sears.

No comments: