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Should there be a punishment?

I mean for people who use the word innovation willy-nilly.

Is it just us here at P&P, or has the word lost its meaning? Dictionaries define it as a new idea or method. Something invented.

To us, it seems the word improvement has been exchanged for the word innovation. It has become an over-promise. Only last week, we had a conversation with an organisation trying to sell us their latest innovation. We let them through the door excited to hear about something genuinely new, we listened keenly and were disappointed to be told about improvements, not innovations. Now the three of them are chained to a bench in the shopping centre here in Tunbridge Wells – punishment enough we reckon.

Robert J Gordon gave a TED talk: “The death of innovation, the end of growth” in 2013, in which he discussed the fact that real innovation is going from the motorcar to the jet engine, thereby changing the transport sector forever by creating new value.

He also makes the point that merely adding features does not ultimately do much for an economy and is, therefore, not an innovation. It results in commoditisation as market competitors out-trump one another with new features and competitive pricing. To charge a higher price and create new wealth, we must increase the value we impart.

Perhaps the toughest challenge we face as a communications agency is helping our clients who are truly innovative to assert the difference that they make. For example, allowing dentists to broaden their capabilities, accessing a larger patient population and, as a result helping a community to live their lives with a greater sense of self well-being helps to add value.

The difference is that the purpose is pure. The why they’ve done it has taken precedence over the how and the what (credit to Simon Sinek). It empowers people to buy into the values of the business; the product or service that they purchase is merely a byproduct of that.

It’s a good thing, ensuring that the value proposition behind a brand is well communicated gives us, as marketers, a purpose and something to always aim towards.

Author: Stephen Page

2nd September 2019

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Page & Page and Partners

+44 (0)20 8617 8250

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79-81 Borough Road
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