Last Saturday I enjoyed a lie-in like most of us do when we don’t have to get up for work at the weekends. I was woken up that morning by one of my cats who was proudly showing me that she had caught a bat!
Both my cats love hunting and I have to say they are (too) good at it! They give me frequent “presents” that I discretely dispose of, unless of course they are alive, in which case I have to catch them and return them to the wild outdoors, whilst my two cats continue to sniff around the last place in which they had seen their prey.
Anyway, my cat Apricot – a female ginger – was really excited about this rare capture, which is why she woke me up. Of course, I was less than enthusiastic about a bat flying around my bedroom at six in the morning! Luckily the light quietened it down and when he stopped flying, to hang on the wall, I was able to catch him and put him back outside where be belongs.
Now awake, my mind started musing on the difference in reactions between my cat and me. She was excited, happy and proud; I was surprised, disappointed and irritated that I had to stop what I was doing – sleeping – to attend to her “present”. I think something similar happens sometimes when companies launch new products or services. Everyone in the organisation gets excited about their innovation or renovation, are proud to have developed it and happy that after all the hard word, it is finally ready for launch. The customer on the other hand, can be surprised, which is great if this is accompanied by pleasure, or disappointed if the promise is not delivered. However, he can also sometimes be irritated because his usual brand or version is no longer available, at least not on the shelf or store in which he usually finds it. We are in fact asking him to work, to change his habits, which no human really enjoys, even when it is for the better.
So how can you make customer-centric new product launches? Start from your target customers’ perspective, by asking these five questions:
Obviously best-in-class innovation and renovation starts with the target customer in mind; their rational needs AND emotional desires.
Based on the answers to these five questions, the most relevant products and services can be proposed and are then more likely to be met with positive excitement, pride and happiness, rather than negative surprise, disapointment, irritation and frustration.
A further idea about customer-centric innovation is to actually involve your customers along the whole process. Many organisations now run what are called “co-creation” or co-elaboration sessions, where your ideas are shared with and then further developed with your customers in live sessions, either in person or over the web. How about co-creating your next new product idea with your customers? That way you know it will delight them even before you launch.
Do you have any other points you would add to the above list? Comments welcome.
More information on innovation: http://www.c3centricity.com/products-and-services/innovation/
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