Brand Driven Innovation

Topics: Design, Graphic design, Communication design Pages: 15 (4236 words) Published: August 4, 2011


Design Management Review

Brand-Driven Innovation
Erik Roscam Abbing, Founder, Zilver, Rotterdam, The Netherlands Christa van Gessel, Consultant & Researcher, Zilver, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Reprint ##08193ABB51 This article was first published in Design Management Review Vol. 19 No. 3 The Future of Design Leadership Copyright © Summer 2008 by the Design Management Institute . All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission. To place an order or receive photocopy permission, contact DMI via phone at (617) 338-6380, Fax (617) 338-6570, or E-mail: The Design Management Institute, DMI, and the design mark are service marks of the Design Management Institute. SM


Brand-Driven Innovation
by Erik Roscam Abbing and Christa van Gessel


s the nature of innovation shifts from the application of new technology to the delivery of meaning and value, brand and design become critical resources, as well as partners, in the development of market-leading products and services. Erik Roscam Abbing and Christa van Gessel provide an overview and case studies of this process as it moves from “brand usability” to “innovation strategy” to “design strategy” to “touch-point orchestration.”

The role of branding for organizations and their stakeholders has changed considerably throughout its history. From its origin as a sign of ownership through the recognition of its status as a mental representation of consumer benefits, the brand has now arrived at a point where it represents the vision and strategic positioning of an organization in relationship to its environment. As such, the concept of brand has moved from being thought of as merely an addition to the offering (the logo on the product) to its acceptance as a representation of the culture, knowledge, and vision that inspires and strategically guides that offering. The brand, in its most developed form, has become a strategic asset for businesses, inspiring both ideation and action and helping them to make decisions and to frame the future in an increasingly complex world. This has significant consequences for the way brands are managed

Erik Roscam Abbing, Founder, Zilver, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Christa van Gessel, Consultant & Researcher, Zilver, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

within organizations and for the role of design in bringing brands to life. We see four major shifts occurring (Table 1 on next page): 1. The focus in branding is shifting from creating compelling promises to fulfilling those promises in a meaningful and authentic way. 2. The ownership of the brand is shifting from marketing to the entire organization. It is even being shared by stakeholders outside the organization. 3. The place of the brand in business processes is shifting from the end to the beginning, especially in the processes that deal with innovation and creation of offerings. 4. The content of the brand is shifting from stressing organizational strengths to framing a vision of the relationship the organization aspires to have with its stakeholders.

Design Management Review Summer 2008


The Future of Design Leadership

The great opportunity that arises from these shifts is that the fulfillment of the brand promise has become a task for everyone within the organization, and innovation and the development and design of new products and services are great ways to accomplish this fulfillment. Brands, in short, need innovation. Just like branding, the role and meaning of innovation for organizations is also changing. Innovation is often described as a risky process that is difficult to manage, but that is inevitable for organizations that want to stay alive in marketplaces where everything, from user needs to legislation, from technology to competitor behavior, is in constant flux. In other words, organizations are...
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