What does it take to make your customers commit to your new and innovative product? Certainly time, effort, and resources. Unfortunately, in some cases, a lot of those.
I am currently helping several clients directly with this challenge, and I am also facing it myself with the recent launch of The Strategic Narrative Workshop, a new public offer that I introduced to you for the first this summer.
In this context, I think of innovation as the facilitation of a process of change.
Indeed, my work aims to help business leaders drive the adoption of something new and different (an idea, a concept, a product, a method, and experience, in my case). Instead of using Product A, they hope that customers will use product B (there’s). This will require customers to change their behaviors and match them to how product B works.
A model to create commitment.
In their 1982 article Building Commitment to Organizational Change, Daryl Conner and Robert Patterson describe the general process by which people become committed to any new way of operating.
The article is very well structured and technical, and here is an insight I am pulling and turning into a product innovation version for you here:
Before people even accept to try something new, they will have to go through four stages:
- Contact: you will first need to expose people by getting information about your innovation into a place where they are likely to see and hear it.
- Awareness: then, you will need to ensure that people know that your innovation will change the way they usually do something.
- Understanding: your following goal is to enable people to create an accurate picture of your innovation’s impact on them.
- Positive perception: finally, you will have to provide an accurate picture of the costs, benefits, and alternatives that persuasively communicate the advantage of moving forward with your product.
Again, you need to reach these four goals BEFORE people will even dare try your product, even for free.
So, at this point, you’ve all you’ve created a favorable perception. You’ve not created a behavior change yet. People are not acting to buy yet.
How can you go beyond perception?
Building a strategic narrative turns people into participants
To get people to commit, Conner and Patterson’s tell us to achieve four more goals:
- Experimentation: you should get people to try the new way of doing things with your product and see if it works.
- Adoption: then, your goal is to enable people to engage in a sustained effort to test the new way of doing things.
- Institutionalization: third, embed the new way of operating into people’s live, daily routine, into socially accepted norms.
- Internalization: finally, create a true mindset shift, integral to culture.
This second set of four goals gives people a role, a chance to become active participants in the change that your new product requires.
That’s what an excellent strategic narrative should focus on. Activating a strategic narrative means mobilizing people by calling them to action, so they participate.
The introduction of an innovative product is the launch of a new narrative on the market.
Not just telling a good story
Stages of Change Commitment
Daryl Conner and Robert Patterson: “Building commitment to organizational change” (Training & Development Journal, Vol 36(4), Apr 1982, 18-30).