Change It Up
The only constant is change. How does this affect your brand strategy?
In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ironically, stopping and looking around is what can help you keep up with the pace of change.
And keeping up with changes in technology, your workforce, and the marketplace are essential to maintaining a relevant brand. So, take note of these trends.
Leadership is changing
A whole new set of leaders is emerging. And they’re not just millennials growing into leadership positions. They’re also people who have been previously denied access to these roles. They’re more diverse, they’re more inclusive, and they think differently.
That means the way things work will change. How we approach and solve problems will change. The voices we get to hear will change.
The workforce is changing
When and where we solve problems has been changing for a while. Work isn’t just from 9 – 5 anymore. (Was it ever?) That little computer in your pocket follows you everywhere and so does your job. Required response times are shortened and vacations are never really vacations. But, it’s also likely you have more flexibility during work hours. Maybe you can even work from home.
The gig economy means everyone is piecing together their own entrepreneurial endeavors. And priorities are different these days. We all want meaning from our work and to believe we’re making the world a better place. Money is both more important and less important. It’s more important because of staggering debt from higher education. It’s also less important because the “picket fence/fancy car/2.5 kids and a dog ideal” isn’t as appealing as it once was. Many are looking to simplify their lives in any way they can.
Customers are changing
Just as the norms inside your company are changing, so are the wants and needs of the people buying your product or service. This means you might need to make some changes. You might need to appeal more to niche audiences through customization and inclusivity.
The days of staying neutral on social and political issues are over. Customers want to know the companies they buy from share their values. This means taking some risks and potentially alienating some of your prospects. But, when you define your company this way, your die-hard fans will retain their loyalty.
You can change too
As mentioned earlier, the way to keep up is to slow down. Don’t be reactive and jump on the first bandwagon that rolls by. Take a look around you and notice these trends or others within your own organization. How do they affect your business? Listen to your employees and customers about different ways of doing things.
See what’s coming down the road by keeping your ear to the ground and keep yourself surrounded by people with differing backgrounds and opinions. If everyone at the table looks the same, came from the same place, and has the same economic history, you’re not going to be able to pick up on the nuances of what will appeal to your customer.
The good news is that quick changes are easier than ever to make. New technologies allow products to come to market quicker. Prototyping techniques allow you to fail faster. And social networks let you get your message out in an instant.
So, stop, look, and listen. Be open to learning new things, taking risks, and sometimes failing. That’s how you get better. That’s how we all get better.