Leigh Tymms
Leigh Tymms 1 July 2019
Categories B2B, B2C, Customer Experience

You Can’t Hide From Disruption

Disruption. You can’t hide from it, you can’t out-spend it. Disruption is the new normal, so it’s time we embrace it. Businesses have always seen innovation as a way to make life better, bring down costs and increase convenience, but now they need to do even more, given that today’s consumers are empowered from every angle.

Nowadays, consumers have a library of information and comparisons available just a click away, with technology making communication and purchasing faster, smarter and more accessible. The ability to buy virtually anything, from anywhere, keeping you constantly connected, won’t be slowing down anytime soon. New generations place increased emphasis on different values. For example, shoppers now expect next-day delivery as a given (and in some cases even same day delivery!). With this also comes the expectation of being able to communicate 24/7 to anyone anywhere in the world.

Together, these trends create the perfect storm. People want to consume more, at a lower cost, and expect instant gratification, which collectively is affecting the pace of change.  

For many businesses and brands, an incremental approach isn’t enough. Take many of our beloved national retailer brands, which have been slipping by the wayside in national media headlines almost daily. Recently Debenhams issued a profit alert as its sales continue to slide, and the truth is people have little reason to suffer the inconvenience of hitting the high street – they can get better prices and choice online or in-app. So how can your brand avoid falling behind others who are already adapting to changing consumer behaviour?

Short-term actions, such as a tactical offer, a new campaign or promotion isn’t going to cut it – you might drive a small uplift temporarily, but when the tsunami of undeniable trends and behaviours increases, the only option is to ride the wave. To do this, maximising customer centricity and relevance is paramount. In the retailer example, frequently this involves gearing-up to an increasing multi-channel experience – a “wowing” showroom, a place to try, to have meaningful face-to-face interaction, to build a community or deliver a service before potentially completing the journey online.

With the right insight and direction, this can be a time of opportunity, to re-define, to be increasingly relevant and to find new ways of monetising and communicating brand equity and assets – future proofing your brand for the long term.

There are a number of key steps to take:

  1. Identify the trends affecting your brand. How will these converge and play out?
  2. Interrogate examples set by other disruptors and those that have been disrupted, where does your brand fit? What does this mean for your business and how you’re positioned?  
  3. Analyse the surrounding market dynamics and what this means for your brand in its new competitive environment.
  4. Set out a clear path, that reflects a distilled and highly actionable plan for success from a brand, marketing and communications perspective.
  5. Differentiate and communicate your brand in a way set for success.

Taking steps towards transformation can be painful, it’s a roller-coaster, but the challenges your brand faces always have the potential to be turned into an opportunity. Now is a time when disruption has never been so rapid and all consuming, and organisations must continue navigating this change to help their brands survive and thrive into the future.

Brands need to continually question the relevance and viability of what they’re offering. Disruption is increasing, it’s here to stay and there’s no way we can hide from it – but embrace it head on and great things can happen.

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