Creating Brand-Innovation Synergy: Towards a Practical Method of Using Brands in the New Product Development Process

DS 58-3: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 3, Design Organization and Management, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Keus, Martyn; Smulders, Frido; Roscam Abbing, Erik; Buijs, Jan
Series: ICED
Section: Design Organization and Management
Page(s): 373-384


Brands are more than logos that are "stuck on" products after they have been developed. Before new product concepts are envisioned, brands exist - both in the minds of consumers, and in the minds of new product development (NPD) practitioners. In this paper, the values embodied by brands are believed to support strategic decision-making in the innovation journey, which promotes brands to one of the drivers of product innovation. However, extant theory leaves this subject of brand-driven product innovation largely unaddressed, without guidelines of how to make brand values applicable for innovation participants. This paper reports on an empirical research project that aims to fill this gap by developing a model that supports the explicit use of brands in innovation decision-making. Interviews, observations and case studies led to a first concept that was tested and improved in two field tests. The results show that the process of explicating tacit brand values stimulates a strategic discourse that relates to a company's innovation culture, indicating that brands should not simply be imposed on NPD teams, but that NPD teams have a contribution to make in shaping the brand promise.

Keywords: Brand management, innovation strategy, corporate culture, new product development


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