In the olden days, innovations that filled consumers' unmet functional needs were enough to build a major brand. Floor wax that dissolved the old wax and applied the new in one step, for example. Shampoo and conditioner with vitamins to make your hair shiny and strong. Paper towels that soaked up spills faster than the competition. But in today's marketplace, most of those important needs are already filled by a brand, and usually by more than one.
We have a huge proliferation of choices in every category. When I took my adolescent son shopping for deodorant for the first time, his eyes bugged out of his head when he looked at the hundreds of choices. Antiperspirant? Deodorant? Roll- on or gel or stick? Which scent? Which brand? In the end, he'll choose the brand that his classmates say is cool. Or the one that has the funny ad on MTV and the graphics that grab him.
Unfortunately, the brand teams that create those products focus the majority of their innovative efforts on creating superior formulations for their products.
What they don't realize is, their target audience is looking for that and for something more.