We are living in disruptive times. This is not the first time.
History has been a witness to numerous disruptions over the centuries. The three thriving great classical civilizations of Rome, Han China, and Gupta India disrupted, collapsed or declined. However, unlike the classical civilizations of India and China, the Mediterranean civilization suffered a complete death. “For Greece and Rome had not put together the shared political culture and bureaucratic traditions of China that could allow revival after a period of chaos. Nor had Mediterranean civilization . . . generated a common religion that appealed deeply enough, or satisfied enough needs, to maintain unity amidst political fragmentation, as in India.”
History is the master tutor. Mystics and intellectuals have all emphasized the noteworthiness in knowing your past. Know earn history and you will master the art of thriving.
"Study the past if you would define the future.” ― Confucius
“Nescire autem quid antequam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. (To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child.)” ―Cicero
And my favourite: “History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” ― Mark Twain
Our contemporary disruption saga sure rhymes with the classical disruption of 600 C. E. The only difference: disruption now happens within few years. It does not take 600 years.
If you are a brand, master the art of thriving.
Starting with Netflix, a brand that has emerged as a giant in the entertainment industry with a revenue that tops 1.1 billion in 2013 proves that business as usual does not cut it any more. The company, that started with DVD rentals being delivered to your mailbox, as a viable alternative to Blockbuster is now a major player in the entertainment industry. In 15 short years Netflix suffers disruption only to evolve as one of the legendary brands of our times.
"We think of the technology as a vehicle for creating a better, more modern experience for the content we have. What we're really competing for quite broadly is people's time."— Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix
Another brand that has attained the legendary status in our times is amazon.com. Starting as a competitor to Barnes and Noble, now valued at 140 billion, Amazon has completely changed the way we read and the way we shop. One strategy that has paid off really big in disrupting the brick-and-mortar realm is by developing a mobile app that allows users to "showroom" (compare prices with Amazon's) while shopping in traditional stores. This way Amazon successfully diverts away sales from non-digital competitors!
"Any plan won't survive its first encounter with reality. The reality will always be different. It will never be the plan."— Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon
Harnessing the social aspect as a precursor to the streaming service, Spotify is now an ultraversatile one stop shop for music lovers where they buy concert tickets and build a social media experience. No wonder they have bagged over 550 million in revenue during 2012 a whopping 128% increase from 2011....not bad for a fledgling music subscription service, introduced in 2011 in the Unitd States, launched in the shadow of sreaming giant Pandora.
"The trick was to think through the social aspect of the service from the very beginning. We didn't want it to be an afterthought."— Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify.
As dimensional brand managers, the lesson that we learn from these legendary brands are phenomenal.
1. Internalize this fact, “Brand is typically the most important driver of customer purchase in both B2C and B2B.” It is the "set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”
2. Create a road map for your brand. Be nimble. Seize opportunities. Netflix did not hesitate to jump on the straming wave at the right time, offering on-demand programming for its subscribers. Trade shows are great avenues to gauge the pulse of the buyers.
3. Embrace Obstacles. There always usually is a way out. Faced by the obstacles created by enterainment studios, Netflix decided to create its own content. Result: House of Cards and Orange is the New Black is the most watched original series.
4. Your clients are your MVPs (Most Valuable Players). Treat them as such. Take a cue from the Amazon Prime Program that delivers convenience, perks, premium content and brand identity to its members. Make it worth for your clients to visit you at trade shows. They will be instrumental in spreading your brand awareness
5. The reality will always be different. No amount of planning will meaure up to it. However you can furiously proactive in changing the course. When a mis-guided branding effort and price increase caused a massive loss of subscribers, Netflix very quickly corrected its course
6. Keep Innovating: "The market will always be searching for something new—and you, not your competitor, must be the one to give it to them." Tony Robbins.
Constant and strategic innovation is a must. Here at Skyline, by thoroughly understanding customers’ problems – that they may not even realize they have a problem – we provide a solution that helps them exhibit more successfully than ever. This has increased our sales by 18%, way exceeding projected industry growth by approximately 4%. Stay ahead of the curve by regularly attending trade shows and see how competitors' products perform compared to yours, examine the relationship between your product and your buyer behavior.
7. Socialize your game: There is a reason why Spotify encountered a growth of 128% in one year. "In order for a service to be social, you've really got to start from the ground up. The fact that almost a third of the U.S. population have even heard of Spotify is really because they've seen it on Facebook and friends have been sharing." Read more as to how.
At the end of the day define the uniqueness of your brand. Find extraordinary ways to express your brand. And, finally, find a way to "fall in love with your ideal client."