Innovation never looked like this
Crowdsourcing is one way to invite consumers directly into product design. P&G used crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to perfect a promising heated razor in development. The objective was not to solicit funding. It was to test demand, gain feedback and create a community of engaged consumers.5 Research has shown that crowdsourced products outperform the market by up to 20% when labeled that way.6
In addition to working directly with consumers to innovate for “right now,” brands can use indirect approaches to predict trends that will shape future buying behaviors to innovate for tomorrow. One way is to use AI and advanced analytics to analyze search trend data and social chatter. Brands can also connect with influencers and professional trend spotters who have the pulse of the consumer psyche. Approaches like these have predicted hot trends—from charcoal products and non-dairy milks to organic snacks.
Trust is on the table too
The innovation stage is a critical place where companies build (or lose) consumers’ trust. The trust compact that does (or does not) take root here is a critical dependency that impacts the nature of the brand-consumer relationship across the rest of the value chain.
There is also much at stake financially for companies related to trust. Accenture Strategy research reveals that, on average, companies that experienced a material increase in trust also experienced a corresponding 2 percent increase in revenue growth. For a US$30 billion company, that’s US$600 million that could be re-invested in growth. A loss in trust, however, has a greater impact: If that same company experiences a material loss in trust, it would experience a corresponding 5.4 percent decrease in revenue growth, on average, of almost US$1.6 billion.7
Innovate to transform innovation
As great innovators like Henry Ford and Steve Jobs have said, consumers may not have the foresight to create the big innovations. This is debatable. What is clear is that co-innovation creates an invaluable, but elusive, intimacy that brands need to drive growth. Here is where to start:
- Create the new R&D. Companies should evolve from internally-driven innovation engines mired in hand-offs and silos to agile models that bring together multidisciplinary teams of ecosystem partners and consumers to innovate at speed and scale.
- Elevate workforce planning. Instead of looking at the tasks that must be done and the employees needed to complete them, companies should reinvent workforce planning. Strategic workforce planning that includes consumers as part of the extended workforce is critical.
- Look across the value chain. Innovation is the tip of the iceberg in the new dynamic between brands and consumers. Leaders will actively explore ways to engage consumers across the entire value chain—innovation, manufacturing, marketing, sales, and even distribution.
This is a bold future. One where the most successful brands co-create with consumers to execute every part of the value chain. Because today’s consumers can (and should) do a lot more than consume.
1Katharine Schwab, "How Gillette Designed a Razor for Men Who Can’t Shave Themselves," Fast Company, October 2, 2018.
2Accenture analysis based on Euromonitor data.
3Accenture Strategy, Ecosystems: The Cornerstone of Future Growth, 2018.
4Accenture, Meet the New Brand of CMO, 2019.
5Sarah Vizard, "How Coca-Cola, Lego and Gillette Tapped into the Wisdom of Crowds," MarketingWeek, February 13, 2019.
6Martin Schreier et al. "Crowdsourced Products Sell Better When They’re Marketed That Way," HBR, November 8, 2016.
7Accenture Strategy, The Bottom Line on Trust, 2018.