WARC has released its Effective Innovation Report, highlighting four key trends that are driving success in the marketing industry.

These trends were observed among winners of WARC awards in the Effective Innovation category. Studying the metadata around all the entries, WARC observed that innovation—while bringing its own challenges—has become an increasingly popular and effective driver of brand growth.

The Effective Innovation Report identifies four key trends that marketers can learn from and apply to future campaign efforts.

Innovation That Appeals To Influencers

WARC observed that many of the top-performing campaigns that won were designed to be shared among millennial influencers. The Grand Prix winner, “7-Second Resumes,” focused on young professionals and giving them a voice. The campaign was created for the Ad Council and featured real job applicants who shared their skills and traits in seven seconds—the average time a recruiter spends reading a resume.

Partnering with influencers can greatly improve organic reach, but brands should proceed with caution.

“Persuading these communities to invest their influence on your behalf is an acid test of a marketing team’s preparation and ingenuity,” said Christopher Yu, jury chair and VP of integrated marketing strategy, innovation, and technology for US Bank.

Innovation That Builds Brand Equity

Rather than focus on “wacky or weird,” innovation should strengthen a brand’s appeal by problem-solving and bringing that brand closer to its purpose, WEC notes.

Fulfilling a brand promise or purpose should be the top priority, as demonstrated by “Odds,” a campaign launched for Adidas. The campaign brought awareness to the fact that many amputees only need one shoe, resulting in wasted money and product. “Odds” offered these consumers a pair of two left or two right shoes and opened a worldwide discussion about “evening the odds.”

Product-Led Innovation That Drives Growth

Brands can often find success by integrating products into their campaigns, even if they don’t own those particular products. WEC used the example of Royal Caribbean’s “Seek Deeper” campaign that used Snapchat Spectacles to inspire young consumers to book cruise vacations. The video ad highlighted the beauty of the ocean depths with technology that young consumers already know and accept.

Utility That Helps Build Connections

WEC also recognized the trend of creating tools to help customers connect with a brand. Offering new products and services can be an effective alternative to traditional campaigns.

“By starting from a perspective of utility [and] being in the service of others, you can reach new audiences, find new relevancy and change perceptions,” says juror Howard Pull, strategic development director of MullenLowe Profero.

One example from the WEC Awards was “Bank in a Box,” a campaign for IBM that offered customer service, infrastructure, software and services ready-packaged for new digital banking projects.