Why is transformation important for brands and agencies?
Why is transformation important?
There's an easy answer to this. Pop down to your local town centre
and ask the blacksmith. If you can't find the blacksmith, look for
the town crier and ask him.
If you don't look out for the
inevitable consequences of external changes to your business, then
you'll end up in the same place as those two once flourishing
The pace of change now is such that
every business must have an agile approach to transformation.
If you do, particularly if you are the
fastest or the first, then it can be a competitive advantage. In
the 20th century you needed a USP or unique selling proposition to
have a competitive edge. Now the agility of a business to adapt to
real time changes can be, in itself, its USP.
In the past a USP was a product
attribute ("the sweet that melts in your mouth, but not in your
hand") or a positioning statement ("we're number two so we try
harder"). Now it may be the brand's ability to change its messaging
in real time, or its variants to suit fashion, cultural memes or
season fast enough.
In the 20th century you needed a USP
or unique selling proposition to have a competitive edge. Now the
agility of a business to adapt to real time changes can be, in
itself, its USP.
This requires a reallocation of resource in the business. A change
of focus and a new set of key performance indicators including one
about speed of delivery.
Customer experience in buying and
using the brand too must be a key consideration, of course, and as
important as the brand personality and idea.
Sometimes this is out of marcomms
scope or sub-contracted. Customers, often with better tech in their
pockets than businesses offer their employees, will not be patient
or understanding about inadequate mobile experiences or poor
delivery or complaints procedures. If a business puts the web
experience in a different silo to the marketing then it needs to
Recently tech giant Gartner declared
that the biggest threats to innovation are internal politics and an
organisational culture that doesn't accept failure, or ideas from
outside, or change. As Gideon Spanier stated in this Raconteur
special report, "companies must be willing to think, move and
This is not to suggest that any
business should throw the baby out with the bath water. Anyone with
a memory that dates back to the turn of this century will remember
watching organisations chuck money at ill-advised internet
initiatives that failed to deliver any lasting change, let alone
transform those businesses.
You also don't have far to look for
businesses that did transform their offer, but failed to do the
same for their business plan. The solution is to transform with
agility. Don't replace current processes designed to deal with
anachronistic silos with a lengthy elaborate redesign of new
processes or more elaborate matrix management.
Work in sprints with minimum viable
products and individuals who can respond to change. Create a
culture where people enjoy working in project teams rather than are
stuck with tribal and defensive department structures. While this
is easy to design it is harder for traditional businesses to
deliver. Working on a very human and empathetic level to deliver
change is essential.
Or carry on as normal, and look out
for whatever happened to the blacksmiths.
By Sue Unerman, Chief Transformation