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Innovate This:  How to Take on the Big Guys and Win

Innovate This: How to Take on the Big Guys and Win



Hi Professional Innovation catalyst Toni Newman here and welcome to another episode of the Innovation Advantage podcast series.  Podcasts that are dedicated to showing you how to use innovation and customer experience to drive more customers, more revenue and more growth in your business.

And if you have ever struggled with innovating on a shoe string budget, today’s show is going to be perfect for you because today I’m going to share a proven strategy for getting a big return on your limited innovation investment.  A strategy that we call Stake your Claim and Change the Game.

But first, I ‘d like you to think about your favourite pizza topping?

Perhaps you’re an adventurous anchovies and olives kind of gal. Or, perhaps you’re a straightforward cheese and pepperoni kind of guy.  You might even be a Wolfgang Puck gourmet smoked salmon and caviar pizza aficionado but chances are, you do have a favorite.

And what does your favorite pizza topping have to do with low budget innovation that gets high budget results?

Well, just ask the folks at Red Tomato Pizza, a neighbourhood pizzeria in Dubai, who found themselves in a situation that perhaps many of you can relate to.

After years of a running a successful pizza home delivery business with scads of loyal customers who loved Red Tomato pizza, in came the multinational pizza chains with their high budget advertising and incredibly appealing “value deals”.

And even though Red Tomato knew that their pizzas were as good if not better than those of their competitors, they simply didn’t have the dollars to compete.

What they needed to do was to find a way to change their customer’s mindset – to make the pizza buying decision about more than price and toppings.

And the other thing they needed to do was to invest their marketing dollars where they could get the biggest bang for their limited buck.

So they set out to Stake their Claim and Change the Game.

They knew that on the one hand, pizza home delivery was extremely popular in Dubai. On the other hand, they also knew that the over 200 languages spoken by pizza ordering customers made the pizza ordering process an absolute nightmare. If Red Tomato could solve this problem, if they could own the pizza ordering moment in the pizza delivery journey, then not only would they look like a hero to their customers, they might actually be able to give those multi-national pizza chains a run for their money.

The result was the VIP Push For Hunger fridge magnet. And here’s how it worked.  Loyal customers received the magnet nestled in the middle of their pizza order and were then encouraged to activate the service by connecting online and registering their favorite pizza order.  The next time they had a pizza craving, no phone order was required. A press of the VIP button and presto, 30 – 40 minutes later their piping hot pizza order arrived at their door.  No language issues. No stress. No nightmare.


In just 4 weeks, the magnet got over 12,000 mentions on social media and received over $8 million in free media.  On a total marketing budget of only $9,000, deliveries increased by 500% including over 3,000 requests from existing customers and wait for it – over 97,000 requests from new customers. Now that what I call a great return on a limited innovation investment.

The Stake your Claim strategy is about identifying a specific and strategic pain point in your customers journey and then dedicating whatever resources you have to creating an innovative solution for that particular problem. A solution that will not only differentiate you from your competition but that will also allow you to own a moment of truth in your customers journey.  A moment of truth that will remind those customers why should do or continue to do business with you.

If you think back to the early days of the gold rush, prospectors were constantly searching for a way to strike it rich. They were desperate to discover the next goldmine – that would anchor their fortunes for years to come.  Once the mine was discovered, they wasted no time in staking their claim and announcing their find to the world.

The story of Red Tomato Pizza is not that different.  They discovered a gold mine (a pain point in the home delivery order process), staked their claim (with the Push for Hunger magnet) and made their fortune (deliveries increased by 500%).  They struck gold and turned the “Pizza Delivery Ordering Process” into their Innovation Advantage.  They Staked their Claim and they changed the game. Low budget strategy. High budget results.

So here are the 4 steps that can help you Stake your Claim and Change the Game in your industry.

Step 1.  Make a map

No serious prospector would even begin panning for gold without first doing an in-depth study of the terrain.  In this case, you need to map out your customer journey and take an inventory of all the Touchpoint Opportunities that you have at your disposal – Touchpoint Opportunities that could be the vehicle for you to Stake Your Claim and Change the Game.

Now as I’m sure most of you know, a touchpoint is any moment when any representation of your brand interacts with or touches a customer.  And we call them Touchpoint opportunities because each one is an opportunity to share your compelling brand story with your customers in a way that will help you stand out in today’s crowded marketplace.

Website, business cards, social media etc… these would be Touchpoint Opportunities that most industries have in common. And there are also touchpoints that are specific to certain industries such as open houses for the real estate or menus and wait staff for restaurants and the list goes on.  Having said that, I guarantee that you have anywhere from 50 – 75 touchpoint opportunities at your disposal – including some that you might not have thought of.  So if you would like some inspiration, we have a master Touchpoint Opportunity inventory list available on our site at which you can find by going to the site, clicking on Browse the Blog and then going to the Tools of the Trade section of the blog.  You will also find several industry specific touchpoint lists there as well as several other resources that can help you grow your business.

So step one, make a touchpoint opportunity map. Step 2.  Pan for Gold

Once you’ve made your map, it’s time to decide where you are going to pan for gold.  Identify the locations on your map that are most likely to be causing frustration or some other kind of disconnect for your customers. . Zero in on those customer nightmares and choose to invest your limited resources where not only would you make the biggest difference to your customers but also where you could truly differentiate your company from your toughest competition.

In this step, you will also want to take a look what your competition is doing.  Have they found a vein of gold?  Have they staked a claim?  If so, you want to look for what they missed and claim the opportunities that they didn’t find.

Once you have narrowed down the possibilities, zero in the High Touch, High Impact and High Return.  High Touch being the touchpoints that interact with the highest number of your target customers.  High Impact being those touchpoints that your customers would consider to be the moments of truth – touchpoints that have the highest probably of impacting the overall customer experience.  And High Return being those touchpoints where you could get the biggest bang for your limited buck.

Get rid of everything in your pan that’s not shiny and bright  and you should be left with just a few golden nuggets – priceless opportunities lying hidden in your customer journey just waiting for you to Stake your Claim and change the game.

So make a map, pan for gold and now step Step 3.  Stake Your Claim

Now that you have your nuggets, it’s time to stake your claim and change the game.  To announce your intentions to the world and to show your competitors that from now on, your brand owns this Touchpoint Opportunity moment. You do that by creating your own innovative customer touchpoint experiences (or what we call Unexpected Encounters) that will turns those golden Touchpoint Opportunities into a gold mine.  But keep in mind that any successful innovative customer experience will meet 5 essential criteria.

It will Be Surprising. Loyal Red Tomato Pizza customers received a totally unexpected VIP fridge magnet in their pizza box!  What would your customers expect at this touchpoint? What would they never expect? What would your competition never have the courage to do?

It will Be Strategic. The strategic objective of the Red Tomato Pizza experience was to drive loyalty with existing customers and to increase delivery orders – and it was strategically designed to do just that.  What do you want your experience to accomplish?  And how will you measure your results?

It will be Be Seductive. Loyal Red Tomato customers got the VIP treatment, inspiring loyalty to the brand.  Seductive is about finding your customer pain points and then looking like a hero when you make the pain go away.

It will Be Sustainable. The long-term appeal of the VIP magnet is undeniable BUT because the competition could catch on quickly and copy the idea, Red Tomato should already be on the lookout for another opportunity to stake a claim and change the game. So with any idea you come up with, ask yourself How long can this idea remain surprising, strategic and seductive to our target audience? And what do we need to do NEXT to stay ahead of the competition.

It will Be Simple. I register my regular pizza order on line.  I push a button. My pizza arrives.  I decide I want to change my regular order. I simply go on line. I simply make the change.  I simply push the button. My pizza arrives. I could go on. But I think you get the point!  Keep any innovative concept that you come up with simple – simple for you and simple for your customers.

Make your Stake your Claim experiences Surprising, Strategic, Seductive, Sustainable and Simple and you too can create low budget innovative experiences that get high budget results.

So, whether you’re anchovies & olives or cheese & pepperoni; Whether you are gourmet smoked salmon or simply all dressed; Make a Map, Pan for Gold and Stake your Claim so that you can turn your Touchpoint Opportunities into an Innovation Advantage gold mine.

If you found any golden nuggets in this podcast, please leave a comment below and make sure to share it with your colleagues. Because the more we share, the more we learn and the more we learn, the more we grow.

Of course, you can also visit our website at – check out our Innovation Advantage blog where you’ll find lots of other innovation and customer experience resources that can help you grow your business.  And while you’re there, why not sign up to become an Innovation Advantage Insider and received our exclusive offers, insights and opportunities that we only send to our Innovation Advantage Insiders family.

This has been Professional Innovation Catalyst Toni Newman with another episode of the Innovation Advantage Podcast series.  I look forward to chatting with again soon but in the meantime, Stake your Claim and Imagine the Possibilities!


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