Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017...The Year Of Disruptive Change

There will be little limited change taking place this new year.

Instead, tightened the seat belts and prepare for disruptive change that will challenge many established norms.

I am not making this up.   

During the ‘Tween week between Santa coming down the chimney and the Time Square ball drop, I had an opportunity to meet up with a couple interesting prospective clients.

 While each in their own unique category and market, all four of the firms shared elements in common. 

Who they are today is due to a family member in the past starting up the company and expanding it.

The firms have built customer equity over time and each is dedicated to delivering top value customer service.

Each firm has long-term employees… some with family ties… running their marketing program. 

Each firm thrives on what they define as the mission, purpose and values.  Three of the four firms have them framed and positioned prominently where individuals entering their offices can see them.

Each firm sponsors and promotes the essence of a cause.

This sense of “stability” sounds nice doesn’t it?

Now let’s raise the scope of our vision and illustration.

There are large groups of people gathering under the umbrellas of corporations, government organizations, contract vendors, non-profit cause groups and yes… even in countries unified under a common government and iconic flag.

These groups wake up most every morning and start their days with a sense of direction and mission.

Their leadership often has deep history and roots… leadership coming out of similar past models of governance and management.

Many follow a script of action and expectation.

This sense of “stability” sounds nice doesn’t it?
About 18 months ago the early signs of a U.S. presidential election started to surface.

Two parties believed that they were prepared to win.

One party had an icon that many with some tenure in the party worshiped who would continue to employ programs from the past eight years.  The other party had a set of the tried and true.  Each party had a sense of mission and purpose.

And the candidates had already started crafting campaign strategy that combined social media of the here and now with the marketing and media models long since featured in the academic text books.

The media had already started to churn out its classic coverage and perspectives of the past.

This sense of “stability” sounds nice doesn’t it?

There were a couple of cracks in the stability that as they surfaced, grabbed my attention.

(1)  Target reported a sales decline in early summer 2015
(2)  Sister networks, HGTV and DIYTV started co-programming with Great American Country TV
(3)  Brexit not only started to be used by the media, it actually took place
(4)  “News stories” entered into social media
(5)  The use of social media by Millennials starts to decline

I could care less if a reader of this blog is a Republican, a Democrat, an Independent or a Socialist.  I could care less if you like the man or not.

The election of Trump is more than just a tipping point, but what Malcolm Gladwell cites in his best-seller is well exemplified by the election results.  Only difference is that the pace of change Gladwell cites is minor compared to what is going to take place in 2017.

Back to the prospective clients.

While each of the four firms championed who they were and how they got there, they still called me and set up a time to meet in person.

Underneath their business security blankets, I sensed more tension that anticipation. 

When I spoke of change – they all quickly took their pulpits and self-declared their sense of mission and cause. 

It reminds me a tad of Linus and the blanket.

A couple of these prospective clients might become actual clients in 2017. 

But they better have checked and made sure that those seat belts work.

2017 will be a year of disruptive change.  Models of the past will not just be re-engineered and re-formatted, they will be re-invented and re-imagined.

There’s a set of some major opportunities to capitalize on, but the brands that prosper will be brands that are brave enough to re-imagine and re-invent themselves.

Personally, what I do with EXPERIENCE is fun. 

We are not in the business to point fingers that say a brand is doing wrong, but rather to shine lights on opportunity.

We do what we do and are successful at it because we do not believe that safe-ground actions like taking tiny steps, inwardly reconfirming purpose-missions-values and standing firm on past models that are not sinking, but collapsing.

We disrupt many false perceptions of security. 

But do so because just like the guy heading into the White House says, we are here to make our clients' brands great again… and to do so, way out in front of the competition that remains in their self-defined corporate worlds of comfort.

I post this blog on New Year’s Day because tomorrow is not the beginning of another journey, its day #1 of disruptive change… and fabulous opportunity!

Be brave out there and come journey with us!