Charles Darwin once said about human evolution, “It’s not the strongest that survive, nor the most intelligent; but those most responsive to change.”
In this way, brand longevity is very comparable to human evolution. Survival of the fittest is a simple fact of life for every brand, no matter how popular it is during its golden years. So says Michael McQueen, an award-winning speaker, social researcher and bestselling author.
Michael delivered a hard-hitting, highly insightful and engagingly humorous presentation at AIM Brisbane in 2013. Aptly named Change Management: Survival of the Fittest, the presentation began by exploring why brands must change in order to survive.
According to Michael, no brand is safe from the generational shifts that occur naturally over time. The most common shifts that Australian businesses need to watch out for include:
- Technology Shifts – e.g. the effect online shopping has had on physical retail stores
- Marketplace Shifts – e.g. when new startups become your strongest competition
- Demographic Shifts – e.g. the changing wants and needs of Generation Y
- Legislative Shifts – e.g. the new rules and regulations governments bring in every year
Michael went on to explain that although we cannot stop the ever-impending impact of these generational shifts, we can control and influence certain factors. In fact, there are four key actions that businesses can take in order to stay relevant, fresh and up to date:
1. Re-calibrate: You constantly need to be asking yourself if your brand is still on the right path and heading in the right direction. It’s also smart to refocus exactly what kind of business you are in.
2. Re-engineer: This is all about changing the way your business or organisation does things. It’s time to turn off autopilot and deconstruct your current practices – a change of strategy may be in order.
3. Re-frame: Perhaps it’s time to see things from a new perspective. The easiest way to do this is to take advantage of a fresh set of eyes – new employees can be a great source for re-framing.
4. Re-position: Don’t be afraid to alter your brand as the wants and needs of the marketplace change. Of course you should stay true to your goals, but sometimes transformation is necessary.
As Michael explains, there is no reason why your brand cannot survive and thrive through times of change. You must simply embrace the change and see it as a new opportunity for success.
As a leading specialist in demographic shifts, change management and future trends, Michael McQueen features regularly as a commentator on numerous TV and radio programs and has written three best-selling books. His newest release, Winning the Battle for Relevance offers a revealing look at why good ideas and great companies become obsolete and how to avoid their fate.