13 Aug Can we innovate our way through Brexit?
With Brexit just around the corner and the threat of a no-deal hanging over our heads, there’s lots of speculation about what this is going to mean for the consumer goods industry. Price increases and shrinkflation, whilst certainly a threat, are nothing new to shoppers who have felt the squeeze of the falling pound in the past few months. Some have seen little material change to the day-to-day running of their businesses; others are already struggling to fill job vacancies as European workers head back to the continent. Breaths are bated as we wait to see what, deal, if any is going to come out of Whitehall – because ultimately, it’s still anyone’s guess what’s going to happen.
But the question we’re asking is – can we innovate our way through Brexit? We all know that brands that innovate well and often see increases in sales, brand loyalty, consumer interest, awareness, and more. But are the benefits enough to be able to weather the Brexit storm?
Innovation is, after all, expensive and time consuming. There’s lots of research to be done, trial and error, sampling, surveying, distribution… it’s no surprise, really, that it’s often the first victim of any company cutbacks. But if you examine more closely the reasons why you innovate, you might just change your mind:
- Consumer excitement
Whatever side of the fence you sit in the great Brexit debacle, it seems that price rises one way or another are inevitable. Innovation brings something new to the table – bright and shiny, a delightful distraction that creates positive engagement and content. At worse, it’s merely a distraction from any price rises. At its best, innovation pushes sales by grabbing shoppers’ attention, pulling them in from social media platforms and sparkling from the shelves. There’s no denying it, it’s always tempting to try a new product from a much-loved brand.
- Appealing to our shoppers
We need to be constantly improving so that we know we are providing the very best products to our shoppers. This is even more important at a time of industry disruption and financial stress – after all, if you’re still providing the same old dull flavours, recipes, or products, they’re going to be the first things out of the shopping basket when consumers feel the Brexit pinch. If you think you know your shoppers – prove it. Keep innovating the things that they really want.
- Better for companies
New products tend to be sold at more premium prices, as they don’t need a discount or special offer to be pushed off the shelves. Better still, by constantly creating new products, it’s much easier to avoid the price wars – because you can’t be undercut if you’re the only one selling it!
So although it’s tempting to let innovation take a back seat when things are tight and it seems like you’re just spinning one too many plates, it’s actually MORE important, not less. And there’s no doubt that the next few months are going to see a big change for consumers and brands alike – with little idea as to what these changes will consist of. But if we keep innovating through the ups and downs, we’ll see out whatever Brexit has to throw at us.