Innovation in Branding?


Innovation is a word I hear in brand planning meetings all the time.  Executives, brand managers and marketing partners love to camp out on it claiming its importance to their brands. If you don’t count technology, two categories come to mind as the primary innovation hounds: healthcare and banks.  In healthcare, marketers and their agents scurry around the hospital looking for innovation under every bed and when found hit publish.  Right next to their awards ad.  Banks are so mired a commodity status (TD Bank’s only claim to fame is the color green) that they create innovation just so they have something to say other than rate and service.   

News flash!  Innovation is not a brand plank.  It’s lazy, fleeting and often a refundable deposit in the brand bank. Even Apple doesn’t get caught up in the innovation game. Their schtick is design. They innovate but don’t talk about it, showing design and apps.  If you did a tag cloud of every piece of copy Apple has run on TV over the last 15 years, I bet the other “i” word would turn up in only 4 point type.  Lee Clow, you on the tag cloud thing?

Innovation is the price of doing business —  it’s not a branding value. Coddle it, couch it and canoodle it into your story but don’t try to be the Innovation company.  Peace@\!