Over the last few years, innovation has become a ubiquitous branding tool. Whether you are a blue-chip company or a local start-up, innovation has entered the everyday lexicon of CEOs and administrative staff. Compared to prior marketing trends, innovation is not a passive buzzword—it is critical to the success of your company.

Here are five reasons why your company should embrace the changing tide and innovate:

1. Global Competition

In today’s business climate, the playing field just got a whole lot bigger. Your competition isn’t just around the corner, it’s across the globe. We can credit this expansion to the internet. Clients can search for better customer service, lower prices, and faster production with a simple google search. If you’re not innovating, your business suffers because it’s no longer standing out.

2. Innovation Begats Innovation

Have you ever noticed how every top-selling smartphone comes out with a new model each year? The iterative process of innovation inspires creators to think one step ahead by asking themselves, “How can we do this better?” With each new innovation, a company learns new ways to adapt to their customer and anticipate their future needs. This process of raising the bar affects the entire market and in turn, let’s no one settle for stagnation.

3. Baby Boomers are retiring

According to this article in Forbes magazine, 3.6 million baby boomers will retire in 2016. And if you’re wondering who is going to replace them, the answer is simple: Millennials. Time magazine wrote, “Millennials are interacting all day but almost entirely through a screen.” This begs several questions: Does your company have a website? Is it mobile responsive? Is the content updated regularly? Their expectations of what businesses should provide are vastly different than their predecessors. This younger population is looking for your brand to be reflected digitally as well as in the office.

4. Better Ideas

As your customer base changes to a younger audience, so will your company’s needs. Innovation extends to how you involve your customers in the process of ideation. As open innovation contests gain more traction among larger companies like Starbucks and GE, more of your customers will expect to have a voice in solving your company’s challenges. Allowing outside innovators and devoted customers to contribute to your next big idea is an exciting opportunity to see your brand potential through a new lens.

5. The “it” Company

It should be no surprise to you that when a company innovates, heads turn. When job seekers are looking to overhaul their career they are more drawn to companies that embrace change, encourage ideas, and seek the best talent. One of the reasons that start-ups are so appealing is that they turn the traditional work model on its head. This new model comes in many forms from distributed companies to eliminating hierarchies. Tech Crunch magazine wrote that “being part of an entrepreneurial team is also a wonderful way to learn how to innovate.” This is true because start-ups are willing to identify a problem and find creative solutions. It’s a win win for the employer–employee morale and brand adoption skyrocket.

Innovation delivers far-reaching benefits to your team, workplace, and brand. And, in this highly-connected world, it will keep you relevant, adaptive, and ahead of the game.

IdeaScale created this infographic that outlines the nine total reasons that innovation isn’t just good for you, but for your company, the economy, and more.

By Rob Hoehn

About the author

Rob Hoehn is the co-founder and CEO of IdeaScale: the largest open innovation software platform in the world. Hoehn launched crowdsourcing software as part of the open government initiative and IdeaScale’s robust portfolio now includes many other industry notables, such as EA Sports, NBC, NASA, Xerox and many others. Prior to IdeaScale, Hoehn was Vice President of Client Services at Survey Analytics.