Buzzwords be damned. Innovation and adaptability are what separates the successful companies from the short-lived ones.
Innovation is what took Arm & Hammer from a single product to a multi-billion-dollar cleaning-deodorizing-baking-whitening empire, hawking everything from toothpaste to kitty litter. When Arm & Hammer noticed its customers finding new and unexpected uses for their product – as a deodorant for refrigerators, for example – the brand took those ideas and ran with them.
When people find workarounds to make their lives easier or solve a problem, take note. There’s usually an opportunity in there somewhere. What happens when companies ignore or fail to even notice how customers innovate with their products? Worst case scenario – they die.
So where are they now?
Quite simply: they failed to adapt. As consumer preferences shifted to touchscreens and all-in-one voice and data devices, neither brand adapted quickly enough (or at all) to provide the shortcuts people craved.
We’re facing a pivotal moment in commerce right now. Since COVID-19, we’ve seen people scramble to find workarounds so they can survive in the new normal:
Given the far-reaching effects of COVID-19, it’s hard not to see the rising tide. In these times, it’s adapt or die. But under more normal circumstances, changes in perception, budding trends, and customer dissatisfaction are a bit more subtle. You have to know where to look.
If you want to discover how customers interact with your products (the good, the bad, and the ugly) you need ongoing testing and field research. What negative feedback are you receiving? What “hacks” are customers blogging about? In other words, what workarounds are they finding, and why?
Workarounds exist because people are constantly looking for better ways to solve problems. When people use your product in unintended ways, it’s a sign you need to better educate users or improve product messaging. Have people found new and better ways to use your product? That’s an opportunity to expand your product line and/or positioning. Either way, your customers are handing you the gift of opportunity. You just need to recognize it and react.
Customer frustrations and struggles can be one of the best ways to identify new possibilities and improve your products, such as through extensive customer interviews, usability testing, and in-home testing, for example.
The question is, are you poised to listen?
Curious about how user testing could turn your company from a one-hit wonder to a lasting empire? Talk to us about creating a customized research project to meet your needs.