Innovation Research: 5 Brands That Nobody Bet On

Anna Raventós

The Body Shop

Conducting innovation research is a fundamental part of launching a new product or service. Often, it takes identifying an opportunity in the market where consumers had a need that had not yet been met. That involves an in-depth understanding of consumers and here is where insights play a first crucial role. Once the first ideas have been identified, surveys like concept testing, product testing, and tests for specific elements of the marketing mix help brands to stay on track and maximize the success of the launch.

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This in-depth understanding of consumers, jointly with a strong determination to make their ideas come to life, helped five brands that were ahead of their time to find untapped needs and make the leap into their innovations successfully, even when the odds seemed stacked against them.

In 1976, The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick faced a lot of criticism for coming up with the idea of a natural cosmetics company. Long before the flagship store opened in Brighton, UK, Roddick discovered that there was already a significant female market willing to seek natural alternatives in the cosmetics industry. After testing her concept with her target market, Roddick had the insights she needed to take the leap to produce planet-friendly cosmetic alternatives.

Today, The Body Shop remains committed to its ethos: to offer natural, paraben-free cosmetics that positively impact the environment and promote the empowerment of women.


Forty years ago, in an effort to prove that the Swiss were capable of brewing a delicious, rich coffee, Eric Favre, a former Nestlé employee, designed the now-famous Nespresso coffee capsules. Favre launched his idea with two main objectives: First, to use technology to offer the highest quality of coffee, and then second, to turn that product into a lifestyle.

After an unsuccessful launch of the Nespresso machine in the service industry, Favre tested his product in the luxury goods sector. In the new market, he was able to find a taste for his coffee capsules, offering a delicious, convenient coffee option to enjoy at home. Today, we enjoy Nespresso in a whole new way, centered around a total customer experience built around consumer taste for a more conventional luxury coffee experience.


When Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ron Wayne founded Apple in Jobs’ family’s garage, they never imagined the impact their idea would have worldwide. The first wave of this revolution came in 1984 when they launched the original Macintosh computer, which introduced the idea to people bringing the technology into their homes. The latest game-changing wave came in 2007 with the launch of the first iPhone, which brought that same innovative technology straight into people’s pockets.

Since then, there’s been no going back from the mobile technology that makes up so many of our daily experiences. Innovation research continues to be fundamental for a company that never ceases to tune in to the needs of its millions of users.


Like many other stories, Netflix’s trajectory begins by chance: when its founder, Reed Hastings, rented a movie and the video store fined him for delivering it a few days late. He recognized that many people, just like him, could benefit from a more flexible movie-rental solution. What started out as a subscription DVD-delivery service has since become a multi-billion dollar streaming service that delivers content tailored to user tastes. And to this day, that giant shows no signs of slowing. And as evidenced by the growing catalog of international movies, series, and original productions, the platform regularly taps into its international users’ tastes by conducting innovation research and analyzing data to keep innovating its service offering successfully.

Impossible Foods

When Patrick O. Brown, founder of Impossible Foods, announced his idea to produce plant-based meat products; he faced vocal opposition, from many sides. Why would anyone want to ‘feel’ like they were eating meat without actually consuming it? But Brown held a vision of a healthier planet and was committed to creating a meat alternative that was good for the environment. Since its launch in 2017, the trademark Impossible Burger has met and surpassed expectations. With its worldwide success, it’s clear that Brown didn’t only stay true to his vision, but created a product that met the needs of conscious consumers who are changing their habits to make more sustainable steps toward the future.

These stories show that innovation is a great driver for growth and it can create whole new categories. Still, a great idea alone is not enough to succeed. Behind any success story, there is always innovation research involved to discover untapped needs, validate new ideas, and ultimately adopt new products and services to what consumers really want.

Zinklar includes a wide range of innovation research templates, including different types of concept testingproduct testingpack testingprice testing, and many more. That way you can test your innovations easily and with confidence. Discover the platform and explore it for yourself, or get in touch with our team to find out more.

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