I find myself at this time of year reflecting, more than I usually do, on all the change that has happened and is going to happen in the years ahead of us. The media is awash with the predictions of the great soothsayers for us to read and absorb. As I have been reading, absorbing and trying to make sense of it all, I am reminded of a wonderfully evocative quote that rather sums it up for me.
“Every morning in Africa, a Gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a Lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a Lion or a Gazelle... when the sun comes up, you'd better be running”
We all know that we need to continuously adapt to the changing brand environments around us in order to remain clearly differentiated and relevant but we must also deliver our promises through all the inwardly focused changes business and brands face.
One of my hopes for 2014, and beyond, is that more organizations use their brands and their vision for them as powerful drivers of change in order to deliver their position in the minds of their customers they seek to own. Too much change is driven purely from the cost perspective and not enough by the needs and unmet needs of the customers leading to the brands having their position eroded not just by competitive activity but through the decisions and actions taken within the business.
It doesn’t matter what sector you compete in we can see the brands that are too immersed in their internal hubris rather than respecting and focusing on the need and unmet needs of their customers. It’s all there in the outcomes brands are delivering just consider a few European brands – the slow runners of Ryanair, Tesco, M&S, as opposed to faster running Easyjet, Sainsbury and Aldi or Lidl.
Our brands need to continuously listen and learn in order to avoid running too slowly to stay ahead of your predators or to catch up you’re your next meal.
The one thing for sure is that when then sun comes up on the New Year we all need to spend a little more time outside the businesses we work in and a little more time out there on the exposed plains that make up each and every one of our market places, no matter what sector we choose to hunt in.