One of the most prevalent questions business owners, marketers, and entrepreneurs agonize over is "How do I create a truly innovative product?"
Most think innovation is synonymous with invention—and that to move the needle, we need to come up with a shiny new product, market, or idea. But if we look back at some of the most innovative brands of recent decades—Zappos, Virgin, Cold Stone, Walt Disney, Hotmail, and more—we find that they actually didn't invent a thing.
Rather, they introduced a product that reinvented the established norms of their market, which created the excitement and buzz that would propel them to their present-day success.
Reinvention is about creating a new solution to a problem by matching existing technologies to current and emerging consumer behaviors. As I argue in my book Reinventing the Egg: To Win the Game Is to Change It, the goal is not to invent or to become a pioneer (which is what people tend to associate with innovation); the goal is to take advantage of an existing technology, move it one step further, and find a new and unique solution to a problem.
So how do the most successful brands leverage the art of reinvention?
Here are seven companies that saw opportunities to reinvent where others didn't—and catapulted their brands to success in the process.
1. Ferrero Group
Michele Ferrero, founder of the chocolate and confectionery mega-brand (and Nutella!) understood that every new product and every new thought has evolved from other ideas and experiments.