#Innovation : Riding fast paced trends in the consumer / retail sector


2010PRSM.jpgAt many of my keynotes, I focus on some of the most successful creativity and innovation attributes that I see within organizations. Here’s a list of guidance from a recent keynote for a group of executives in the consumer goods sector:

  • Adapt to more challenging customers: customers expectations and needs are changing rapidly, and yet they are more demanding than ever before. Loyalty disappears….at the same time they expect creative perfection from you, they are more fickle, and far less loyal …. I’m not even sure the concept of loyalty exists any more for many brands!
  • Costs increase: all this is happening in a world in which producers and retailers are faced with a rapid increase in uncontrollable costs…energy, plastics, you name it! Margins are being squeezed and pressured as a result. Operational excellence is no longer optional!
  • Focus on collaborative relationships: The key to innovation in retail today can be found in collaborative relationships and partnerships between packaging companies, consumer products and brands, and retailers. ! Noted Paul Moss, British Bakeries Divisional Marketing Director, “We have more to talk about than price.” No one wants to fight in a brand sector that is involved in a race to the bottom, but that’s what happens when everyone focuses on price. Shift the equation with your partners, and you’ll find a way out.
  • Remember — the package is the brand: Heinz, StarKist and other industry leaders have learned that packaging innovation, driven by new methodologies, ideas and technologies, has become the secret to brand image in many sectors, because it permits a shift of value and customer perception in ways that haven’t previously been seen. Think upside-down-Ketchup. If you aren’t innovating with packaging, you aren’t in the game
  • Hyper-innovation is key: Throughout the consumer products world, we are witnessing faster time to market in every single sector. The concept of a product lifecycle is disappearing as products come to market and thrive for but short micro-bursts of time. Make sure you’ve got the agility on your team you need to cope with this reality, and you might survive
  • Get used to rapid change. Consumer desires, needs and demands will continue change at an ever more furious pace, often in ways that won’t make sense, particularly with the impact of social networks. Don’t despair from it: learn from it. Take the recent race to value-oriented products as a result of the recession. Did you act fast enough? What organizations sclerosis blocked your ability for quick change? And what should you do to fix it?
  • Capture the insight of creatively new competitors – constantly: Admit this: there are likely going to be a lot of folks out there who are a lot more creative than you are. They’ll beat the pants off you all the time with quick short bursts of tactical success, while you are still busy marshalling your forces. Rather than losing sleep over their success, study them! Learn from them! And then capitalize by doing what they do – and do it better. Rapid creativity in a time of constant change is the name of the game, and you’d do best to work to obtain the same skills and insight that your best competitors have developed.
  • Ride the wave of continuous business model innovation: If someone is reinventing your business model, reinvent it faster! In retail, we are seeing constant experimentation with store formats, brand partnering, in-store displays, logistics and tracking studies, and countless other new ways of doing things. Get on board the tornado of change in retail and ride it for all it is worth. You should develop a team that has a finely-tuned radar for unique trends, experiments, success stories and innovations. They’re swirling around you continuously, they are constantly reinventing the world of retail on a minute by minute basis – and you’ve got to understand them and capitalize upon them.

I’ve got quite a few keynotes coming up with the consumer, food, packaged goods and retail sectors in the next several months, one of them being the Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association in Orlando, Florida next month.

The topic for that keynote will be: Where Do We Go From Here? Why Innovators Will Rule in the Post-Recession Economy – And How You Can Join Them.

Here’s an extract from the keynote description:

Jim Carroll has carefully studied what it is that organizations are doing to position themselves for post-recession growth.

One thing they are certainly doing is positioning themselves for innovative solutions to complex problems. When it comes to retail store maintenance there is no doubt that we are in the era of fast-paced solutions, whether its related to intelligent building management solutions, the rapid evolution of in-store layout and design principles; innovative environmental and green technology solutions; or new in-store
customer engagement methodologies, all of which impact in-store maintenance professionals in new and dramatic ways.

In his keynote, Jim will share his insight into the key trends impacting the retail sector, and how maintenance professionals can take a seat at the “strategy table,” providing unique solutions and guidance to the management team by adapting to fast paced trends.


THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE FAST features the best of the insight from Jim Carroll’s blog, in which he
covers issues related to creativity, innovation and future trends.