Innovation success depends on savvy marketing. We’ve seen this over and over with our clients. It’s worth focusing on why marketing your innovation program is necessary, and how it works.
I’m not talking about Super Bowl ads, or website SEO. Corporate innovation programs need guerilla marketing. You have to influence internal stakeholder groups, create belief among colleagues, and build a network of brand evangelists.
Running an Innovation Challenge – or almost any other innovation initiative – only works if people show up to participate. Which means appealing to incentives and aspirations of your coworkers, customers, etc. And you need to appeal to leadership, too. Without the ability to acquire stakeholder / senior-level buy-in, it’s difficult to gain the channels to get the word out.
This starts on-the-ground with the very first initiative. Getting stakeholder support of your innovation program starts with getting people excited about contributing from day one. Clear communication of the “ask” you’re making – and the associated business value it will yield – is critical for motivating action and spurring collaboration.
The right positioning will get you asking the right questions during your Innovation Challenges, and will help you frame the challenge around a specific need and challenge statement.
Take global IT services firm CSC, where the CFO wanted to boost efficiency in their client billing process. So they launched a challenge asking for ideas to reduce the number of Day Sales Outstanding (DSO) between invoicing and payment. Or Wal-Mart, which asked employees for ways to “go green” and further reduce their electric bills. Both initiatives, described in clear, compelling terms, and then promoted smartly, added $$ millions directly to the bottom line.
Promoting your Innovation Challenges
But that’s just the beginning. Once you’ve decided on the Innovation Challenge theme, the participants, rules, timelines and the judges – and the compelling messaging – you still need to spread the word.
After you’ve launched your Innovation Challenge space online, there are a multitude of channels you can utilize to push your challenge out to your audience. The following methods are just some of the ways Imaginatik recommends creating buzz amongst your employees, partners and customers:
Knowing how to position, brand, and market your Innovation Challenges – and your innovation efforts more broadly – can be complex and time-consuming. That’s all the more reason to put careful time and attention into how you market your innovation program. Getting it right will pay renewable dividends many times over, setting you up for subsequent successes well into the future.