A day doesn’t seem to go by without someone mentioning Innovation in the News, however how Innovative do you really need to be? Does Brand allow the fast follower to become the market leader?
If you really think about it; how many Innovations are really Innovative? I would hasten to say not many. Most Innovations are the implementation of many incremental changes done at the right time. Think of the Apple iPad, this device is certainly a game changer and is encouraging the post PC era however what is Innovative? Tablets are not new, touch screen technology has been around for a while, however when you combine these with the extended ARM battery life and add an App Store you have a game changer. Also, If you look at the MP3 market most people think that Apples iPod created the market however Sony had an MP3 player out first but again no vehicle for delivering the tunes i.e. iTunes.
Recently I noticed that one the UK Banks introduced a Currency Converter to the Apple App store and although I already had an app from a different developer I still loaded this and actually removed the incumbent (This type of app is not Innovative or really hard to create). However it made me think, if you are happy with a Brand would you consume all its fast follower Innovations in the long run?
So from an enterprise perspective, if your brand is strong and your strategy is set you can still be seen as Innovative even if your choice is to be a fast follower. This way you will retain your Customer base and can only invest in Innovations which your customers want (You need to ensure however that you don’t take too long to fast follow as you may miss the boat altogether).