Brand innovation labs: The 4 boldest moves yet19 November, 2014 / Articles
As brands reinvent themselves to meet the needs and desires of modern consumers, stagnant companies are falling victim to more agile and innovative organizations. In an interview with Ad Age, Kyle Nel, the executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, highlighted the need for brand innovation as a weapon against market competition of the “unknown,” referencing Blockbuster’s demise at the hands of Netflix to support his position. As Nel explains, Netflix seemingly emerged from nowhere to annihilate Blockbuster because Blockbuster didn’t understand that its business “wasn’t in owning stores” but in “selling content to people in the easiest fashion.” In other words, Blockbuster failed to foresee, thus effectively compete against, a threat like Netflix — a company that certainly understands us binge-loving modern consumers of video content. However, the main point is not to prepare in order to combat more innovative competition but to adapt and continuously evolve so that your brand is the most innovative competition. According to Nel, “The only strategy right now is an offensive strategy.”
At the heart of some major brands’ offensive strategies are innovation or tech labs. These labs are corporate workshops where new technology, marketing strategies, and product development collide to create the consumer product experiences of the future — or at least that’s the goal. On behalf of their brands, these labs are devoted to speeding up innovation by using new technology, partnering with startups, and levering consumer insights to create new products, services, and experiences that reach consumers through relevant marketing efforts.