Brands know that innovation is essential and the lifeblood of modern business. Things are moving at such a fast pace that ignoring the ‘innovation game’ could potentially put many businesses at risk of losing out on market share, or simply becoming irrelevant as new entrants come on the scene.

However recent research by Edelman, ‘Innovation and the Earned Brand’, a global consumerism study of 10,000 consumers in 10 key markets, demonstrates that innovation should be approached in an intelligent way and give equal consideration to consumer sentiments around the pace of change being thrust upon them. Essentially, change is good, but brings with it a new set of challenges and concerns, especially around trust.

Major concerns identified were:

  • 66% of those surveyed were worried about privacy and security, particularly in the US and Germany
  • 60% were concerned about the impact on the environment, as well as the motives of companies and brands
  • Half were worried about always having to ‘be on’
  • By a 2 to 1 margin, people thought the pace of change was too quick

Overall 87% of respondents said they wouldn’t buy innovative products because they are scared.

Three out of five consumers told us that brands are not on the right track when it comes to listening and communicating with them. And by two-to-one, consumers said they want to be reassured rather than be inspired”, said Richard Edelman, CEO Endelman.

So, what’s was important to consumers when making choices?

  • 67% said they trust a brand more if they facilitate peer reviews
  • 69% said that the role of innovation for brands should be to improve society and 63% to push our thinking
  • By two-to-one, consumers said they want to be reassured rather than be inspired

The study concluded that brands and businesses need to place emphasis on informing and educating as well as providing opportunities for consumers to participate and engage, particularly facilitating peer to peer communication.

Ultimately brands need to demonstrate authenticity, find their purpose and communicate their social aspirations.