Point of view: Is research stifling innovation?

Stan Sthanunanthan
The Coca-Cola Company

Markets around the world are getting increasingly competitive. Horizontal growth opportunities driven by geographic expansion are becoming more and more difficult to come by, especially for large global companies. Regional and local brands are becoming marketing savvy and, more importantly, private labels are giving larger brands a solid run for their money.

'More for less' is the new mantra. Consumers demand innovative products to meet their ever-evolving needs. Products' obsolescence cycles are getting shorter and barriers to entry for new players are becoming progressively less daunting. Businesses are, therefore, relying on innovation-led growth to bridge the gap between growth promised to the street and what the base business is likely to deliver organically. This pursuit usually results in a slew of launches – some successful and most failed. There is a cost, both real and notional, that is associated with such launches. CEOs, who are focused on maximising earnings per share, demand higher levels of accountability. This is when companies turn to insights to provide a robust measurement system that will consistently ensure launch success.