Being able to adapt is crucial for a company to be successful, but innovation can be used in many different ways. While product innovation is one of the most common examples of corporate innovation, there are many more examples, and the last decades left some good examples of it.
When we talk about reinventing a business via innovation, different criteria can be used. In this case, we have selected 5 companies that successfully created new business models, showed capacity to adapt to new changes, or pivoted from a product feature, among others. Here you have 5 examples of companies that used innovation to reinvent themselves, with different innovative actions.
Netflix is today one of the most popular (if not the most) streaming entertainment platforms, but its journey needed a reshape.
The company started in 1998 and its mission was to allow users to rent and buy DVDs. Their first business model was a subscription model – with it, users could rent as many DVDs as they wanted, thus accessing audiovisual content massively. In 2007, they decided to focus on streaming content and thus changed the way people access audiovisual content for good. Netflix is an example of how digital transformation can shape the future of a company – pivoting to a new digital format while keeping its business model was Netflix’ key to success.
Coca-Cola is a good example of how defensibility against fierce competitors can change a company’s journey. Coca-cola’s efforts to come up with new products, reinforce brand image so it is constantly prevailing, and optimize internal results show up year after year.
Examples of this can be traced back to World War II, when Coca-Cola executed a marketing campaign to become the symbol of the US war efforts. Other recent examples are the release of new products, such as New Coke back in the 80’s, Coca-Cola Zero in 2005, or Coca-Cola Life in 2013.
As a matter of fact, Coca-Cola has its own Innovation Lab in house – KOlab – where a team of technical experts try to come up with new products, explore emerging consumption categories, or research disruptive contexts for beverage consumption.
Even though digital transformation is one the most obvious reasons for a company to reinvent themselves, there are examples of companies that have found a uniqueness factor along their journeys.
Lego is an example of how a company switched from manufacturing toys to finding their aha moment. This moment came in 1958, when they came up with the idea of manufacturing bricks that could be connected to each other. This product innovation translated into a unique toy – with no other toys like this in the market, and thanks to the unlimited building possibilities, Lego became one of the leading companies. As for today, Lego keeps on innovating with more complex products, thus addressing both adults and children.
Slack is a widely used communication tool, commonly present for internal company collaboration. While most of us use it on a daily basis for this purpose, Slack didn’t start its journey as a messaging app, but as a game with a messaging feature. The chat app began its history as a computer game called Tiny Speck. The game sunk in 2012, but its chat proved to be useful, so the team took this feature and worked on it to launch Slack later on, in 2013.
Therefore, this is a good example of how one sole feature can be useful and worth developing. If your product or business doesn’t find its product-market fit, does any of its features present a uniqueness or cover a market need? If this is the case, trying to develop this sole feature can lead to success, and you won’t have to throw away your hard work on it.
Finding the right channel to sell your product may be key to success. While corporate innovation can be synonymous with product innovation, this is not the only way out. Glossier is a successful example of a digitally native vertical brand (DNVB) – a brand that was born and developed fully online. Digitally native vertical brands were the cause of the first digital transformation, thanks to the elimination of retail costs (among others), DNVBs offer fair prices and great product quality.
Emily Weiss launched the beauty brand Glossier in 2014, after creating a huge community online with her blog Into the Gloss. Thanks to the community she created, she was capable of building a customer-centered product that quickly became a success. Today, Glossier’s products still can’t be found in offline stores.
Taking advantage of the digital channels was the first transformation in the brand market, but the market keeps on changing. New channels and opportunities keep arising, and Amazon-native brands seem to be performing the next digital transformation. Taking advantage of these new channels may be the innovation your company needs.
Corporate innovation can be used in different ways to tackle different obstacles. The main point is to never lose sight of it. If you think your company needs to find new business models to stay ahead of the curve, leave us a message. Corporate Lab is a venture studio that can detect new business opportunities and build new businesses to complement your existing ones.