A Retail Publication by
7575 Paragon Road, Dayton, Ohio 45459
+1 937 439 4400
+1 937 439 4340
email@example.comD. Lee Carpenter, Chairman & CEOJill Davis, EditorJeremy Mumpower, Design/Production
No living system is exempt rom deathby irrelevance.
First o all, don’t look to Washington,Wall Street or the media or signs o aturnaround. That way lies madness.Too many o their metrics are backwards-looking and the media has beennearly hysterical. Enough already.The current economic climate has all theelements or a perect storm o innovation—the downall o trusted institutions, therise o social consciousness, an empoweredand wary consumer and a attened,transparent world. Something’s gotta give.Even so, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen acompany jump the curve and reinvent itsel into a new lie cycle. Granted, it’s alwaysdifcult or businesses to change theirinternal workings. Successul companiestend to be risk averse. But today’s shrunkenmarket means the stakes are low, the needto innovate is extremely high and manycompanies aren’t that successul anymore.Have you noticed that whenever you get intoa conversation about innovation-starvedcompanies, they always seem to come romour categories? Healthcare, commercialairlines, telecommunications companiesand automakers—all notorious or theirpain points and complex delivery systems.They seem to be in the business o dening reality or everyone. And theirmarketing appears to consist o making itas difcult as possible or their customerbase to leave. The only role or customerservice is to manage disappointment.In some cases, we want innovation so badly,we’re willing to let the government take acrack at it! But you can’t legislate innovation,as we’re seeing in the complex arena o healthcare. It will come rom outsiderthinking. Look how a retailer, like a CVS/pharmacy or a Walgreens or example, twoo the Most Valuable Retail Brands accordingto our 2009 report, can innovate aroundpeople’s need or aordable health care. CVS’sexpansion o MinuteClinics and Walgreen’spartnership with Take Care Health Systemsare brilliantly lling a market gap. Andsomeday they may even make money.When it comes to airlines, everyone isgetting black eyes, even the maverickslike JetBlue and Southwest. They’ll allhave to come up with something moreinnovative than inight WiFi. In the caseo telecommunications, anyone who’s evercursed out an interactive voice responsesystem knows why consumers hate ISPs,cable and phone service companies. Tryingto resolve dierences or part ways tends toplay out like a scene rom Fatal Attraction.As or U.S. car manuacturers, or whom Ihave a sot spot having worked with manyo them over the past thirty years, theyare having change orced upon them. OurInterbrand team was in Detroit recently,talking with automakers about a littlecreative deconstruction, the kind thatleads to innovation. It will take a newramework, language, tools and metricsto even begin to explore what they haveto oer to a post-crisis America.Quite a ew companies in these categorieshave lost their brand authority, sinceauthority is now granted by watchdogconsumers who only bestow it on companiesperceived as authentic and transparent.It’s tough to accept that today the averageconsumer is the one at the top o theood chain and that continuing to dobusiness as a Tyrannosaurus Rex is theway to become extinct. The big moneyis in customer happiness, which requiresgetting to know people in order to createthe brand experience they want.Take a look at the companies on the list o Interbrand’s Best Global Brands: Toyota,Apple, H&M. Or those on our own MostValuable U.S. Retail Brands ranking:J.C. Penney, J. Crew, Big Lots! These arecompanies we look at and think, “theyreally do things dierently.” We admirethem because they clearly deliver whatthey promise and that is the essenceo great brand building. Great brandssucceed because their cultures are uniquelydeveloped to meet the needs o theircustomers in a distinctive way. They aresalient and relevant. Such companies tend tobe the ones that do things that are unusual,ground-breaking and dey convention.Passionate entrepreneurialism at work.We all understand corporate inertia andresistance to change. As consultantswe deal with it daily. We’re called in todevelop new ideas, only to hear whythey can’t be implemented. But, comeon, even the Berlin Wall came down! Ican only assume innovation is gestatingsomewhere as I write this, in products,services, ideas or experiences. And thecompany that brings it will be a leader—until the next innovator jumps the curve.
For more inormation or to be placed on our mailing list, visit our website: www.interbranddesignorum.com andcomplete the contact orm. Reprints o articles or excerpts without the express written permission o Interbrand DesignForum is prohibited. Ideations will print 4 times in 2009. Subscriptions: $125 annually in the U.S.; $150 elsewhere.
Thoughtully,D. Lee Carpenter