Embrace change as if it were your best friend, for it will be your constant companion.

Not only is the rate of change in society and technology accelerating, the places we go to for
information about that change are changing themselves.
For examples of how true that statement is,
just look in the newspaper?  Perhaps not. Newspaper advertising revenue in 2011 was less than
half the level in 2006. Traffic to online news sources is growing steadily. New formal and
informal media outlets are continually springing up. At the same time, TV broadcasters are
competing with an ever more diverse and sophisticated offering of content from Internet and newly
born cable media sources.

Of course, change isn't confined to media and information. Products and services and they ways
those are delivered are changing as well. Consider air travel. Yes, airplanes have become safer
and more efficient - even if not more comfortable - over the years. But, the parts of the business
that touch travelers the most have little to do with aircraft. Gone are paper tickets, calling ahead
for flight status and paying for drinks with exact change. (Also gone are free meals and free
baggage.) Today, mobile apps provide real time ticketing and schedule information. Boarding
passes can be printed at home or just shown on a smart phone. Each of those changes provides
efficiency for the airline and for the traveler. How competitive would any airline be without those
innovative customer touch points?

 Innovation isn't an option. It's a necessity.
What does technological and social evolution mean from a marketing perspective? It means every company and organization needs to be constantly innovating - updating products, services and
brand image. That's the marketing part - interacting with your customers and your market in a
contemporary manner. Whatever your activity, you need to stay current with the thoughts, needs
and trends of your customers and competitors.

When you think of innovation, maybe you first think of high tech companies, like Apple, which
produce steady streams of new products with leading edge features. But, there's more to this need
for innovation. Because your customers are exposed to a rapidly changing world and all of its
elements, they expect constant improvement in processes, communication and image as well as

Look at McDonald's. In order to stay relevant and current, they've recently undertaken the largest
store-by-store remodeling in the company's history. Restaurants are being remodeled with a more
contemporary, comfortable appearance and feel. And look at their menu options and features with
more choices and nutritional information. Of course, Ronald McDonald isn't alone in embracing
change. Even very traditional organizations are forced to evolve. Pope Francis is on Twitter.

What can your organization do to foster innovation?

First, stay connected and stay informed. Don't shy away from the events around you. It doesn't
matter whether you prefer high or low tide. The tide is going to rise and fall, regardless. So, learn
to expect change and take advantage of it. Key individuals in your organization need to be attentive
(devoted would be better) to contemporary trends and developments in your market and in society.
Plug into social media as well as review sites, news sites and blogs. Find information sources
related to your industry and market and track them online. Watch your competitors for industry
trends or disruptive developments.

Second, be open minded. Be alert to any refusal to see beyond the current models of thinking. Be
bold enough to examine new concepts and new ways to do anything. Make "what if" a well worn
phrase. A successful action wasn't necessarily the best or most long lasting. And
the failure of a particular action doesn't mean it can't be modified or simply attempted again.

Third, be active. Encourage a culture of change in your organization. Be sensible, but be dynamic.
For example, appoint a "Manager of Innovation" or create an "Innovation Committee" to
recommend evolutionary or revolutionary steps. The way you do business needs to continually
change in many small ways and occasional big ones. Set regular objectives and reviews to
motivate and track change. 

Bottom line: Markets are changing. The ways we interact with them must change as well.

Posted by Peter on 9/26/2013 5:05:42 PM