It was an amazing Expo West 2019! With record attendance of more than 86,000 in Anaheim from 136 countries all vying to see the 3,600 booths – it was a little bit of mayhem and loads of great energy. There were an impressive 600 new, first-time exhibitors this year. As someone who has been going to Expo for over a decade, it really was an amazing collection of better-for-you foods and top-notch entrepreneurs.
We at Mission Field are a curious bunch, and when our operations manager Ashley Butler went to NY fashion week in February, we had to hear her secrets! What was it like, what cool new trends did you observe, what fun and flowy materials might we see in future retail packaging?! Well… maybe not the last item, but here were Ashley’s 5 major takeaways on how fashion innovation is similar to consumer product innovation:
Happy Innovation Day 2019 – it’s a day to celebrate you, the innovator, and help you imagine new and better ways of innovating! We have 3 buckets of interesting and inspirational elements on our website including items to FUEL your creativity, FEED your soul, and FIRE up your body. And if you want a little extra inspiration, then go onto our innovation day 2019 landing page - www.mission-field.com/innovationday2019 - and request our free book offer.
Each January brings the inevitable messages and promotions for self-improvement. And this year is no exception. But in the “same old, same old” messages, I always find a few nuggets that end up resonating with me. This year, in a short article I saw on LinkedIn about career lessons, I found this one that seems apropos to what I spend my time doing at Mission Field: Never Stop Learning.
My 2019 trend prediction is that we’ll see more and more food items moving from center store to the perimeter, we’ll see consumers adapt and embrace new behaviors in order to gain the benefits of better for you packaged foods and bold, fresh taste.
Marketers have been complaining about the poor quality of concept-testing innovations since modern branding started. But does the fault with the methodology or the type of person being recruited? And does it matter whether those innovations are close-in or disruptive?Let’s examine both of those issues with three key quotes from academics over time:
Consumers’ expectations for how they learn about, try and purchase products is that discovery should occur in a way without undue effort on the part of the shopper. A great way to bring this concept to life is the phrase “route to me” - which said another way means: treat me as a unique individual and not as a cohort when suggesting exciting new products.
As consumer packaged goods shopping increasingly moves online, it raises a host of questions about how shopping behavior changes when it’s on screen vs. walking around a store. Recently we’ve been helping our clients better understand consumer shopping behavior in online channels, and as you might expect, it’s been fascinating!
Have you ever seen car manufacturers' test their future models with a crazy, eye-catching black and white camouflage meant to obscure both brand and design? This past weekend I was able to witness two of these examples being tested on Colorado’s mountain passes.... and they both provide a perfect analog to how Mission Field helps our CPG clients test their new product innovations in plain sight.
One of the difficulties the "Bigs" have in adapting to change is their organizational and structural bias to pursue scale today over growth potential tomorrow. Is there a way to change this so that big CPG can continue to do what they do best AND pursue nascent growth for tomorrow without disrupting their systems? Our Moving Front model may be an answer… read on to find out more
Reading about P&G's experience on Alway's Discreet pads and adult diapers is a classic case of why traditional market research has its limits and why transactional-testing needs to be utilized more often. You can read the WSJ's description of the case here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/p-gs-incontinence-problem-how-to-get-women-into-adult-diapers-1530014400 . Here's our analysis:
I love working in consumer insights, and I especially love ethnography work. Whenever I wear the hat of ethnographer I always have this single question in the back of my mind, “what’s your secret?”, meaning, what is it that drives you, that fuels your hopes and dreams, your fears and inhibitions, what drives the choices you make in life, both big and small.
It is hard – very hard – to unknow what you’ve worked hard to learn, to be able to see beyond what you know to be true and to re-try to solve a problem you or the team has already investigated. Bringing in fresh perspective to solve tough business problems can be just what a team needs to find fertile new ground for growth.
Innovation is about imagining new and better ways of doing things, and for all of you innovators out there we want to celebrate you! To celebrate, we took the time to curate a list of exciting articles, inspiring videos and deep thoughts on innovation to stimulate your senses. And if you scroll down to the bottom - we have a free gift for you as well! Click anywhere above to be taken there!: www.mission-field.com/innovationday2018
In my 14-year career as a CPG marketer, I hired dozens of agencies to execute every part of the marketing mix and innovation process. Now that I’m approaching the end of my first year as an innovation consultant, here are 4 tips for a successful innovation agency partnership built from my view from both sides.
Imagine you could make anything you want, right now. In any shape, in any size and in any structure that you could dream up. In theory this sounds liberating, but to most people the possibility of unlimited choices will likely feel paralyzing: What would I make? We in innovation deal with this every day...
We at Mission Field have been amazed at the high abandonment rate exhibited by shoppers as well as challenge to be noticed on either a store shelf or a digital context. While this poses risk for brand building it is also an area ripe for innovative real-world testing of new technologies and merchandising techniques,
Pause for a moment and remember the last time you gave a big presentation, took on a new task or entered a room full of people you didn’t know. Chances are you felt nervous, anxious, maybe had a ball in the pit of your stomach - basically uncomfortable. Although unpleasant in the moment, that feeling of discomfort is often a sign of impending growth – it precedes the opening of a new door, new skill or new opportunities.
The best insight often lies not in the middle but on either end of two differing opinions. Our consultants have strong insights and opinions, but we all would rather acquiesce on a point of view if someone has deeper level of passion for their idea. Why? First, a strong conviction for a specific direction is the rocket fuel of passion. And passion can turn into an infectious enthusiasm that can be a driving vision for upending the way we look at a category or product challenge.
“The unknown competitor that you haven't had a chance to think up yet is a viscous antagonist fighting against what it takes to create success.” This type of psychological construct is often present in large companies – where those cultures require always having answers for every single detail at your fingertips. This ever-present concern about the things you can’t control can unintentionally make incredibly talented innovation leaders feel limited, cautious and hesitant in their ability to deliver something extraordinary.
There are many reasons why startups with significantly less resources are able to disrupt the big players... but the clearest difference is the speed of change and the willingness to pivot. Simply put, they are not afraid of change. One great example is GoodOnYa a hydration beverage started by Kris Buchanan, a former US Olympic athlete. Kris has radically changed as she’s learned with a full rebranding to 1051 this year...
Just a short 5 years ago there was never any question within traditional retail that product placement provided important context for the consumer on their path to purchase. But with the entire model of brick and mortar retail being turned on its head, the traditional way of thinking about product launches & shelf placement is quickly losing its impact.
Did you ever think that a rep-pop recruitment may be undermining your innovation efforts? Talking to the “average” consumer may work fine for assessing line extensions of well known product categories, but when you have disruptive, behavior-changing concepts – ones that often smash or reinvent product categories - then you are more likely putting disruptive ideas into a testing situation where the cards are automatically stacked against them. Luckily there's a solution...
Those of us in innovation are on the hook for an endless stream of contribution. And we all need a refreshing re-set from time to time. I find that all types of challenges can melt away when I take a step back and think about "ORBIT"-ing the situation:
Collecting retailer insights early on when you are developing a new product opportunity helps teams to build better ideas and pivot in ways that strengthen the overall proposition. The insights born from the retailer's point of view allow innovation teams to create a highly differentiated product offering that consumers love and retailers can recognize as deserving their commitment.
Avoid the high-risk scenario of many new item launches, where high level investments are used to support new rollouts that have only been previously tested in focus groups or through online methodologies… neither of which can flush out the real-life launch challenges. Increase your success of new item launches by quickly identifying which innovations are worth investing in, and which ones pose risk
The researcher’s job can be a hard one; especially when consumers give out surface-level thinking to complex issues that need solutions. We have learned at Mission Field that there are times when we need to act like an unbiased classic researcher, but there are also times when we need to dig, push and challenge consumers in order to get to the heart of the matter… more like an investigative journalist.