Avoiding disruption

Small steps are the key

“I’m not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change.” goes Ken Cheng’s winner of funniest joke @ the Edinburgh Fringe.

There’s a weird human paradox at the heart of market disruption. We love the path of least resistance. Google. Click. Pay. Done. Brilliant!

The paradox is that at work the ‘path of least resistance’ is to carry on doing what we’ve always done. Because change needs thinking about and we don’t like that much. ‘88% of change initiatives fail’ says Campbell Macpherson in his new book ‘The Change Catalyst’.

It’s the big stuff that fails. I’ve delivered technically successful SCV projects but marketing teams have remained siloed by product. Result? No customer focused action. Asking humans to make big changes = failure. Big change = big decisions. And big decisions take time.

So make small changes. Snack giant Modelez has shifted innovation from long term projects to small pots of funds and a test and learn approach. This makes sense as it overcomes our natural preference to cock-up big changes. Digital tracking ensures we rapidly learn what works and what does not. 10 changes of 2.5% spread over a year are a lot easier to achieve than a one 25% Howitzer that 88% of the time gets hooked into the rough.

Foxtons' site evolution demonstrates small and regular in action. In Dec ‘15 a landlord offer was the main feature. By Dec ‘16 the carousel had gone, April ‘17 Trustpilot appears; now the site includes a neat ‘jump the queue’ feature.

This need for constant evolution is having a knock-on to the agency landscape. In his predictions for the ad industry Lord Smith said "bigger doesn’t always mean better… the most creative work will come from small, fleet-of-foot innovative agencies that aren’t dependent on a larger entity. We may even get to the stage where these provocative battlers are increasingly the ones where some of the big corporate money goes".

I asked a client recently why, other than for our warmth, charm, and good looks, he works with us. “Flexibility” he said. “I can get good things done quickly”.

 

 

Post by

Alan Thorpe