Beyond the flash of new

 

Creating revolutionary products and services is often not enough to ensure commercial success. Innovation needs to be articulated through a story, demonstrated visually and stimulated internally. This is where brands come into play.

Innovation is quickly becoming an undervalued verbal currency in today’s business world. Like ‘synergy’ a few years ago, and ‘agile’ more recently, its indiscriminate use is stripping the word of its core meaning. At Sonnet we build extraordinary brands based on three principles: simplicity, oddity and purpose. Innovation is at the heart of all three.

We believe brutal simplicity yields clarity. In an environment dominated by complexity and often shaped by the loudest voice in the room, understated brands can be revolutionary.

Oddity speaks to a brand’s ability to be at ease in singularity. Truly innovative brands don’t simply throw away the rulebook; they carefully choose what rules to break and when to do so.

Finally, innovation relies on a clear purpose to enable differentiation. Taking the unbeaten path can be as intimidating as it can be rewarding. Hence, we focus on building fearless brands people can be proud of.

The relationship between innovation and branding is at its best when it is reciprocal. A strong brand should convey and highlight the innovative nature of a product. Similarly, innovation can be a remarkable foundation to forge a recognisable brand. Ultimately, it comes down to a delicate balance between what a brand says and what it does. If innovation aims to solve a problem, then brands must serve to answer one fundamental question: why does solving that problem matter?

It is essentially through branding that revolutionary companies like Virgin, Netflix or Tesla can convince their audience (note: not everybody) of the benefits of their latest product. Strong, cohesive branding can provide context, enhance relevance and articulate benefits.

We all love a good story, and many innovative brands tell great stories. These are stories made of choice: a choice of tone and message, of when and where to communicate and share. Those companies we all perceive as groundbreaking seldom speak of themselves as such; they show us. They build cohesive stories with carefully chosen narratives. How much should Samsung say about what is under the hood of its products? How often should Lexus mention R&D? Do we really care about Facebook’s data analytics? There is no room for improvisation in such a strategic choice.

Today, many brands still confuse innovation with constant change. Their story is permanently being revisited, their own choices frequently questioned. This confusion always reaches the customer, who simply doesn’t know what to expect anymore. These ‘rhetorical’ brands tend to forget that innovation is not a phase or a destination; it’s a mindset and a path. It doesn’t just happen; it exists.

Ultimately, the symbiotic relationship between branding and innovation is a game of expectations. Setting a high standard in either field comes at a price: customers expect you to deliver every time.

 
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