Campaigns designed around solving problems, offering utility and sharing by influencers, are among the key trends highlighted in a new WARC report on innovation in marketing.

The Effective Innovation Report 2018 outlines developments in original marketing thinking, based on an analysis of the metadata around all the entries to the Effective Innovation category of this year’s international WARC Awards.

“We see that despite the considerable challenges presented by innovation, it is an increasingly popular and effective way for brands to grow,” commented Lucy Aitken, Managing Editor, Case Studies at WARC,

Many of the top-performing campaigns were designed with sharing among millennial influencers in mind in order to improve organic reach via their personal networks, the study found.

“Persuading these communities to invest their influence on your behalf is an acid test of a marketing team’s preparation and ingenuity”, noted jury chair Christopher Yu, VP Integrated Marketing Strategy, Innovation, and Technology, U.S. Bank.

The best examples of this approach, such as the Grand Prix-winning 7-Second Resumes for the Ad Council, “demonstrated a clear grasp of Gen Y’s digitally native expectations without indulging in technical showboating”, he added.

Innovation was also shown to be an efficient and effective way to build and strengthen a brand’s appeal by problem-solving, bringing the brand closer to its purpose.

And in a related manner, brands were seen to benefit from being ‘in service’ to their audiences through the creation of useful tools, products and services as opposed to traditional campaigns.

Finally, product-led innovation continues to be a popular way for brands to strengthen their appeal and stand-out to attract new customers. “Instead of only looking to change other people’s behaviour, perhaps we should first change our own,” remarked jury member Joseph Smeaton, Planning Director, DDB Sydney.

A sample of WARC’s Effective Innovation Report 2018 can be downloaded here. The report in full is available to WARC subscribers on and includes chapter analysis for each of the four trends as well as summaries – objectives, insights, strategies and results – of the winning case studies.

The 2019 WARC Awards will open in November 2018. Free to enter, there is a $40,000 prize fund for the winning papers. Click here for more information.

Sourced from WARC