Innovation Kernel

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Welcome to Ketchum’s Innovation Kernel Study—the first multi-country study gauging how consumers define the importance of innovation when it comes to brand preference, and their willingness to pay a premium for it.

The term “innovation” is so frequently used in marketing that it risks losing its value as a motivating brand attribute. Yet, our new Innovation Kernel study shows that innovation still has a major effect on purchase decisions, brand preferences and product pricing. 

Of the more than 4,000 working adults polled across the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Mainland China and Hong Kong, 68 percent of consumers are willing to pay on average 21 percent more for a brand they consider innovative. Additionally, nine in 10 also said that innovation is important to their brand preference.

Brands that communicate innovation effectively will reap rewards. This “Innovation Valuation” is amplified most in Mainland China, with nearly nine in 10 (89 percent) reporting that they would pay more for a brand’s innovative product, followed closely by Hong Kong (80 percent). U.S. consumers were the second-lowest when it came to willingness to pay more for innovation, followed by the U.K. However, those U.S. respondents that would pay more would also be willing to pay the highest premium, at 25 percent.

Being first-to-market used to be a critical element in determining industry innovators. While being first to market may have its business advantages, it does not have as much weight on consumers’ perception of a company’s innovative qualities. Instead, consumers today cite a company’s proven track record of launching successful technology products as the most important factor (47 percent) that influences their opinions. Introducing products that have a new and different look and feel also outpaced first-to-market new products, rating as the second most important factor (43 percent) in the eyes of consumers. 

Our study found that influencers play an increasingly significant role in shaping perceptions of innovation. When consumers were asked where they get their trusted information about a company’s innovation, they ranked the top four sources as: 

  • Professional reviews (56 percent)
  • Media articles (52 percent)
  • Advice from friends and adult family members (48 percent)
  • Social platforms (37 percent)

If you would like to receive more information or a personal consultation on the Innovation Kernel Study, please complete the short form on the right.