Image by: Adam Foster
By Michael Sterling
Reinvention is hard, especially when you think there’s nothing to change. But if history has taught us anything, it’s that survival of the fittest is the number one rule of lasting in business. If you’re not up to date with trends, culture and technology, you’re sure to be left in the dust. As a business owner, it’s crucial to crave reinvention. Take a look at what some CEOs have to say. You might look at it with a whole new perspective.
Never Forget: Your Profits Come From Your Customers
“You can’t cure a patient until you know what he suffers from. First, diagnose what went wrong. Based on my experience, I would say most importantly, listen to your customers. Profits come from customers, so start with what they’re willing to pay for.” – Alex Backer, Founder & CEO, QLess
Any fool can tell you where the money comes from, but unfortunately many business owners have a hard time letting go of a failing strategy. Take McDonald’s, for example. It’s hard to believe that they were suffering drastically in Europe and Canada only a few years ago. With its cheeseburgers, French fries and McNuggets, the fast-food chain was seen as a grotesque American export.
The company’s response was to invest over $1 billion to overhaul its European menus, updating its décor and offering diversity by adding salads, spinach and parmesan stuffed chicken tenders, etc. Almost instantly, the company grew customer satisfaction in Europe overnight.
Bottom line? Change your customer’s opinion. Every from of reinvention is based on an already set public opinion. Use these opinions as a blue print towards creating an image that is an obvious upgrade. Not a new interpretation of what was already there.
Innovate While You Negotiate
“It’s imperative not to slow your company’s innovation momentum while you figure things out. Encourage it. Feed it. If you don’t stay ahead of the industry or, at the very least, keep pace with it, you run the very real risk of being left in the dust.” – Charlie Nooney, Chairmen & CEO, MobiTV
Every decision you make towards reinventing your brand must consider the times. And in this current digital age, it’s all about technology. Innovation is all about being a problem solver. If your company doesn’t make people’s lives easier, why the hell would they pay you money?
While you’re reinventing an image, one of the greatest things you can do is to play the hero card. You, not your competitors, are coming to their rescue and saving them from utter regret. With so many options to choose from, never underestimate your consumers. They’re smarter, braver and know they’re in control.
Turn Your Flaws Into Opportunities
“There are a lot of strategies for ramping growth – some only relevant depending on what your company ‘counts’ as growth. For us, it’s all about acquiring users. We see user growth coming from two primary strategies – one achieved by spending money, and the other by creating a mutually attractive value proposition/opportunity.” – Guy Goldstein, CEO, Check
Sit back and investigate what’s wrong with your company. Whether you gain this knowledge by reading customer feedback or studying money gain vs. money loss, pinpoint the areas that would be considered flawed. Perhaps a “reinvention” isn’t a total reconstruction of your company, but merely fixing what’s broken.
You’d be surprised at how different your company will be viewed simply by fixing the things that are wrong, or even making light of it. PR professional Jocelyn Broder has her own philosophy: turn a crisis into an opportunity.
Broder used the company Etch A Sketch as an example. Two years ago when a spokesperson for Mitt Romney compared the candidate’s views to an Etch A Sketch, the company wasted no time putting forth a statement that strengthened the brand’s message. “Etch A Sketch has right and left hand knobs,” the statement said, “We speak to both parties. And together we can draw circles.”
Start looking at the world crookedly. It’s only here you may see an opportunity before your eyes. By making your statements, philosophies and messages relatable to your consumers, you might be staring directly in the eyes of an incredible opportunity. Don’t ever back away from it.