December 20, 2018

Future-proof planning

Reckitt Benckiser owns some of the most established and successful brands in their categories. For decades they have created and sold products to make everyone's homes cleaner, safer and happier. A great track record to have, but even more important to focus on maintaining this position and improving growth prospects in this ever-changing world. To keep these brands relevant to consumers RB and its partners need to keep delivering added value. Not just now, but (far!) into the future.

But... as they say, our knowledge is all about the past.. and our decisions are all about the future. A future that may take many forms. It is highly unpredictable and constantly changing. For businesses this poses a real challenge; how to be ready for this ever-changing future?

The problem is.. no-one has invented a real crystal ball just yet. Think back 10 years, did you ever expect to have a smartphone in your hand at all times? Or did you ever hear about micro-plastics back then? Or would you have expected a ban on single use plastics because of it? Probably not, but you have now! All these outcomes are extrapolations of trends that were already happening 10 years ago. The way these trends would manifest however, was (and still is) very uncertain. They could have manifested in a number of ways.

So how does a multinational like RB deal with these uncertainties?

As a long-term partner of RB, VanBerlo and RB Global Design Strategy (GDS) teamed up to develop a program that looks at future trends and understand what they could mean for RB brands. Together we set a vision:

To inspire and inform long-term category growth vision through future-proofed product & service pipelines for our brands.

With the ultimate goal of delivering future driven opportunities for each of the Power Brands.

Challenge accepted!

VanBerlo and RB developed and implemented a trend driven innovation programme based on the principles of Future Scenario Planning. A process that gives foresight and defines different plausible futures. Defining these futures helps to plan ahead and define strategies, to move forward and embrace the future.

What is the core? Working together and harnessing the power of all internal and external experts. As a start of the programme we tap into the visionary power of the core creative strategic agencies of RB to collect and consolidate trends that are relevant to the domains in which RB's brands operate. The consolidation of these trends forms the backbone of the programme.

Of course, RB operates in a number of categories with a number of key brands. Each having their own critical trend drivers. So, how do you make sure that the futures you are defining are relevant for specific categories or markets?

To deliver on this specificity, starting with front-running Power Brand Lysol we run a trend driven innovation programme for each of the Power Brand's categories. In a series of workshops we select which brands are critical drivers for each of the brands and develop future worlds to inspire future thinking. Ultimately looking at what role and offering the brand would have in these worlds. Defining these helps us to ideate and fill the brand plan with future driven ideas and opportunities that RB's Brands can act upon to make them ready for the future.

Lysol is on it's way.. Is your brand ready for the future?

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