Innovation is a word that many of our clients have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. It’s a race to stay ahead. Whether that new innovation be product or service led, being seen as a pioneering leader in your sector or newly defined sector is the pinnacle. Having a Chief Innovation Officer is the norm.


But are consumers ready for it all?

According to Eileen Burbidge from Passion Capital who recently spoke at last month's Web Summit: 51% of (everyday) people feel that innovation is moving too fast. People are overwhelmed, so we have to hold people’s hands, to help them navigate tech overload in the simplest way possible.

Just look at Engadget, the front page entices us with all manner of the latest things including ‘Oculus Touch Controllers’, internet connected toys, ‘Trusted Contacts’ from Google, and the opportunity to design your dream drone. They all seem pretty exciting to me, but does being exciting alone actually guarantee commercial success? With new ideas being thought up by the minute, how can we better ensure innovation is fruitful and profitable rather than just another fad or item to put in the drawer?

What we have to remember is that the average consumer isn’t your average tech-expert, they don’t get excited about innovation in the same way that an inventor does. They don’t have a need for bottomless new tech, and that’s where marketing needs to fill the gap between normal people and clever innovation. Marketing’s role is to take what could be perceived as overly complicated, or even alien to current human understanding and make it familiar, simple and enticing. Wowing people is easy, convincing them they need to buy is somewhat harder.

Raising awareness is simply not enough. You know the saying….’You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink’. Whilst the media giants and controllers of the universe may claim you only need super targeted advertising, we think you have to take a step back and tackle the fundamentals first – need, want, desire.

To better communicate tech, we need to give people something tangible to understand, relate to, hold onto.  We think that experiences matter and brand still rules, purpose and meaning should come first above and beyond capabilities and functionality. User strategy needs to go beyond just UI and UX.  An effective innovation strategy needs real people, real needs and real human experience at the heart the marketing strategy.

Our tips for making tech more tangible:

Real world encounters

Just because your product is digital, it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t live in the real world. People love to shop, browse and touch.  Why shun what works, let’s take traditional touchy feely logic and apply it to the new tech world. The power of brand experiences aren’t unknown. Its just they tend to be forgotten in the digital world. According to our research partners, 2CV ‘51% of those who go through a brand experience go on to buy’. Experiences aren’t just a nice to have, they inform our intent to buy and increase word of mouth. We know that emotional connection drives more value than a specification list of features.  

Fans not just consumers

Making friends and getting influencers on board is key. People love an expert opinion and genuinely buy on peer-to-peer recommendation. John Lewis and Which are testament to this. Using people to reach others can be a cost effective communication channel – whether you have the budget for more-well known individuals or just very well connected everyday people.  Use others to spread your good tech word.

Be culturally relevant

Find out what your audience are really into and work with that. Communicate your product or service in the context of their world. Real humans, real quirks, real connections, real purpose. (Basically it’s easier to be a part of what they already love, than try to get them to love something new.)

We love finding out interesting nuggets to better align brands and culture, and often use YouGov to find them. Sometimes knowing which Twitter handles people follow or what they like to see at the cinema can unlock a new way to position faceless technology.


Launching the new music streaming app Deezer to the UK market

Rather than talk about what music streaming offers (like the rest of the competition), we set about differentiating Deezer with a unique brand launch on a limited media spend. We created a quirky series of announcement ads designed to firmly implant the brand name Deezer into the forefront of minds, via a surreal slideshow of rhyming objects that ‘sound like Deezer’. In a competitive market, we knew brand had the power to stand out over the subtle differences in functionality.

Results: We increased Deezer’s base in the UK by 300% and drove uplift of their brand name threefold. 

Disrupting the money transfer market with new app Azimo

Azimo wanted to launch their new alternative money transfer app to select international audiences, who are not particularly tech savvy. Our creative approach was to sidestep the functionality message to reward people who send their money to others - to recognise and reward individuals in an otherwise transactional service.  To make sure our message was heard, we identified a number of cost effective channels to hyper target our audiences, concentrating on regional international events and TV sub channels.

Results:  Our activity at Africa Live gave us direct hands on time with over 10,000 Nigerians, resulting in significant app downloads and app trial.

Targeting a new consumer group of music fans for Intel

Intel Power-Up DJ Final, Shoreditch, London

Knowing that Intel products were not particularly appealing to the music aficionados, we set to change that perception with a campaign and experience targeted at emerging DJs, the influentials within our target group. The idea was to give them a hands-on experience with the product, rather than just tell them how great they are. Our solution was a nationwide DJ competition fronted by Radio 1 Benji B, drawing in hundreds of participants and attendees for an epic audio and visual night.

Results: A combined social reach of 2.5 million, over 400 DJ’s entering our nationwide competition and oversubscription of 200% to our event nights. 

If you need help connecting with humans. Then drop David a line to help you stand out and avoid becoming just another fad.