Are Trends Impacting Your Innovation?
Earlier this fall, my colleague and I attended the Cleaning Products Conference 2019. This gathering included leading companies that came together to discuss trends and drivers shaping innovation in consumer products. As I listened to the presentations, there were three trends that resonated with me – as a consumer and consultant. As a consumer, the trends impact my daily choices. And as an innovation advisor, I hear from my clients that these trends are creating important challenges requiring that companies rethink innovation.
These trends may not surprise consumers who follow the news, use social media, or walk the aisles of local retailers. At the same time, these trends present new challenges for commercial organizations; they require that organizations rethink product innovation and marketing to build trust with consumers and develop products aligned with consumers’ priorities.
What are the top of mind consumer trends?
I see three —
- Health and wellness concerns are driving consumer behavior, purchasing habits and the demand for new products. As Innovation Advisors, we see this trend spanning across consumer product subsectors – food and beverage, cosmetics, healthcare, etc. – and not simply cleaning products. A growing theme in this category is consumer demand for natural ingredients that provide, energy, reduce stress and improve cognitive and athletic performance. We work with clients to identify and validate natural agents (nootropics, adaptogens, etc.) that deliver structure-function claims for new product offerings.
- Digitalization is impacting almost every aspect of consumers’ lives including how we receive information, interact with our environment, and rely on gadgets. And the rise of the data economy provides companies with information that – with the right analysis – can uncover unique insights and enable new product offerings. As Innovation Advisors we understand the impact digitalization has on corporate strategy, the benefits it will bring and the ethical implications of using data to generate new offerings, and we work with clients to define digital roadmaps and improve the success rate of their digital projects.
- Sustainability and the environment, most commonly plastic waste, was discussed extensively by the speakers. I interpret this to mean that companies understand the importance of addressing this challenge. While consumer product companies need to meet global demands, they must also ensure their company’s image and priorities align with the customers’ values. In a society that relies heavily on single-use plastics, there is no simple solution to developing technology that offers the convenience of plastic while prioritizing the environment. We have extensive experience with packaging groups for consumer-facing companies to identify sustainable materials and analyze plastic end-of-life options from recycling to biodegradation.
We position clients to respond to trends
As innovation advisors, we bring diverse perspectives and enabling insights across consumer products – from verifying scientific claims of essential oils to confirming the health claims of emerging ingredients (like CBD), identifying sustainable materials and processes to convert or eliminate plastic waste, and assessing clients’ digital transformation readiness. And, as our clients are increasingly concerned with and impacted by trends, we work with them to respond by
- translating complex regulatory and scientific data into business and consumer-friendly insights,
- evaluating market and value chain dynamics to enable business growth,
- developing fact-based messaging supporting product storylines and benefits of natural ingredients to consumers,
- Identifying and creating structure-function claims and
- advising on Investments, partnerships, and acquisitions.