One of the reasons it is difficult to break-free of the incremental and ‘me-too’ new product development ideas cycle is because most marketing and innovation people spend a great deal of their time concentrating on the competition.
The trouble is they are spending all their time looking at you.
As a result everyone copies one another and it is hard to develop a breakthrough new product development concept.
In addition, marketers often are conducting research on the same consumers hoping that a new idea will emerge.
Here is how to break-out of this cycle using your imagination.
You have to imagine yourself as the marketing or sales director of another well-known brand.
You then use this experience to look at your situation with new eyes.
By doing so you can often unlock new product ideas and opportunities.
I call this tool — Brand Imagination:
Select a brand at random (for example, Virgin, Amazon, McDonalds, Microsoft, Volvo, Sony, Apple, L’Oreal). Hint — select a completely unrelated brand to your category or industry.
If you are working in a group have each team member select a different brand (if you get stuck have each person select a brand that starts with the first letter of their surname e.g. for me it might be Honda).
Imagine that for the past five years you have been the marketing director of that brand.
Imagine your past experience, mindset and program successes as a marketing or sales director of that brand.
Now apply these insights to your own organization.
What new brand-building opportunities can you borrow or adapt from your previous (imagined) role to your current situation?
Present these new opportunities to the group then evaluate the top three.
What can you test in the next 90 days?
Asking these sorts of questions from a new perspective can open up an endless supplies of new product ideas.