Steve Jobs always said, “Innovation is what distinguishes a leader and followers.”
Google results show 24,780,000 results when you search “why to innovate.” Innovation is the primary skill when it comes to business expansion. People who continuously dwell on innovation are also known for their future predicting skills as they can assess future trends, consumer growing needs, and develop a product to create a demand and fulfill the same.
Today, the innovation cycles are shorter, owing to the smart competition in the market. However, businesses are willing to put all the efforts to launch a product that can disrupt the market. By rapidly and continually innovating, these innovators and disruptors become the one to lead while their competitors follow bringing advanced products to the consumer market.
Another booming advantage in today’s world is technology which gives these leads a digital platform to reach the customers all over the world. With globalized access to small and large businesses, the need to innovate is more than ever to grow as a global brand. Innovation opens up new markets and therefore brings new and repeat customers as people love trying new products and tools.
A classic example of innovation was rightly presented by Jio who had cut down the costs of the 4G data, improved the quality of internet connectivity, and brought the highest level of satisfaction to the users. All this is giving Jio a significant advantage over other telecom companies by acquiring 16 million subscribers and touching the mark of 130 million subscribers in October 2017.
In addition to this, a recent collaboration between Jio and Facebook shows how a platform like Whatsapp can be made into a revenue-generating platform for grocery stores and Kiranas by delivering their product to nearby homes. Whatsapp has more than 400 million users in India, thus allowing Jiomart, a Reliance’s product, to promote its retail services to this vast customer base. This is definitely going to give Jio users leverage over other telecom competitors.
By critical thinking and having an analytical mind, the hunger to grow business is never ceased. Every circumstance is looked upon as an opportunity by an innovator to solve people’s problem rather than indulging in doubt, fear.
The recent pandemic led to innovative partnership between Swiggy, Zomato and FMCG companies which quickly became the new strategy to provide doorstep delivery to the customers. The fear of covid-19 has restricted consumers to homes, limiting their presence to an offline store. Thus, FMCG companies levelled up their game and took interest in door delivery. These tie-ups are a win-win situation for both the partners as it improves sales and generates additional revenue stream through the e-commerce channel.
One of the best collaborations in this scenario is Kolkata based ITC, which joined hands with Swiggy and Zomato to deliver its 5-star hotel food along with FMCG products like Sun feast, Yippe, Aashirvaad, Fiama, and Salvon. ITC has started its home delivery for laundry and dry wash services to the customers, continuing to keep the customers preference on top. This has created a win-win situation where the customers can enjoy the 5-star services from home as ITC promises to prioritize sanitation and hygiene. The customer trust has helped ITC acquire a huge market as customers prefer a brand like ITC for laundry over the local players.
These examples show how companies come up with innovative solutions keeping the nuances in mind to achieve the business target. Digital platforms can be leveraged to meet the growing theme, “Be vocal for your local,” to reach consumers overseas. Unlike traditional marketing, which is limited to a certain radius, digital presence helps you expand your presence across the globe, competing with global brands. When innovation and creativity marry digital platform, it can help in business expansion, making the business different from the competitors, thus acquiring customers and building a global brand.
However, it is also important to note the common reasons why companies disappeared from the market. They failed to innovate and were left limped behind the competitors and consequently vanished from the market. Unwillingness to change the mindset or adapt changes lead to arrogance and fear the change did no good earlier and will continue the same way. This leads to growth stagnation, and keeping away from a fresh mindset is dangerous, which ultimately makes such businesses fall off the market ladder. People today, understand how important it is to innovate and stay updated with technology.
The basic reason why Yahoo failed while Google thrived is because of one significant aspect i.e., innovating and fuelling its search engine, i.e. failed to understand the importance to technology. Yahoo missed substantial opportunities, one of them being joining hands with Mark Zuckerberg in 2006, while Google saw the rise of social networks. Google continued to secure its platform while Yahoo disclosed a hacking of the platform in 2016 that compromised about 500 million users. Hence, it requires us to be open for technology apart from being creative in our business.
We can also see how Nokia ruled the mobile phone market for years, accounting for about 40% share in the market. However, it failed to acquire the touch screen market as it was resistant to change the hardware design while the iPhone was on the rise by bringing new technology in the market. Smartly, Samsung adapted to these changes and thrived, and Nokia failed miserably.
While, Apple and Android were gaining the market share due to its easy UI and Nokia trusted windows and miserably failed due to its poor UI. While the iPhone continued to launch its series every year in September, creating customer acquisition, Nokia was unable to create an umbrella branding.
Sometimes, failure to collaborate and grow can be the biggest blunder, and both Nokia and Yahoo have proved us. Resistant to change, inability to assess consumer trend and unwillingness to adapt change are some of the reasons leading to failure.
With pandemic, all the businesses have enough time to innovate and become creative. During this changing time, the companies that will continue to exist will require innovation and creativity apart from meeting customer demands. We all saw how Zoom platform had subscribed to a million users in a month owing to its video conferencing and webinar feature during the initial lockdown phase. If a business doesn’t adapt changes with times, it may soon perish, and the name will be forgotten even faster.
Having an online presence through social media platform is always a plus but also keep a check on what is your competitor doing. This is what Samsung did while innovating the smartphones and releasing its “N” series. So, every business must innovate and leverage the digital platforms to penetrate the global markets based on the target audience and changing consumer trends.
About the author:
Shiraz Khan, Founder Director, Spicetree Design Agency (SDA)