Quit or Change

If you are set in your ways and like things the way they are that is fine, but when the market changes you will be forced to make a decision; roll with the times or quit.

If you are willing to hire a young team of web developers to run your online presence whether you like it or not this may be the only way to keep your brand in the public eye.

If this is not for you then that is fine also you will just fade into the background and be surpassed by the people that are willing to roll with the pinch.

Do you think that any of the people that run the Saks Fifth Avenue Facebook page are in any way related or even born when the store first started advertising.

Having a vision is great as it creates something special and inspires other people, however if the time comes you need to be able to change your vision if for example the main focus of your brand awareness moves online this is where you may have to take it. Even in the short term if cannibalises your business model. If not someone (a competitor) will come and take it from under your feet. For example Love Film and Netflix. This raises the question why did Blockbuster not create this.

Love Film and Netflix are digital versions enabled by the Internet and the near marginal costs that it allows. (There are some more in-depth consumer behaviour points that I would like to include here, but they are not mine from when I started writing this almost a year ago) These services offer unlimited renting and multiple views before you return them with no late fees – to quote the adds.

Blockbuster would have been reluctant to adopt this because they had a large infrastructure in physical stores, staff and stock that would have become redundant and require deconstructing. But instead of embracing the new technology and business models that it presented, Blockbuster left the door open for others to move into the space and Blockbuster are all but gone from our highstreets!

Another prime example is the media industry that is still living in the stone age in the way content is produced. The hierarchy of organisations and time it takes to get stories out in print. I’m not saying its dead it is just not keeping up and needs to adapt. It can’t keep doing things the same way when the world and more specifically consumption patterns are changing. The real challenge is cutting thought the noise and perhaps this is where print will always have a place. no more ’20 more tweets’ since you searched.

As data networks improve and streaming on the fly becomes available, native catalogue and music libraries will become a thing of the past and move in the direction of Spotify and Last FM (much more social). iTunes needs to become software plus services and have the distribution and the clout with the record companies to carry it off, but will they ever make the leap. me thinks not this kind of this is usually taken by a new company who will follow the business life cycle and be replaced.

Will Apple undermine their business model, that ultimatley saved them and put Apple back on the map, to keep them top of the game? What I mean is that they will move away from charging from tracks and albums, which is just a digital version of what we had in the first place. This will most likely be something that will be determined by the age of the population and their shopping habits.

Note – what is interesting since I drafted this post November 2010 (Evernote is great for storing ideas but it has left me with a year of unposted content.) Apple has release iOS 5 that goes someway to solving this problem and providing part of the service that I had in mind.

P.S. Having just listened to Chris Anderson’s ‘Free’ There are a couple of good points that I would like to include.

The theme of this book is the concept of ‘Free, Gratis, Libra and £0.00’ and how the zero (or near zero) marginal cost of the digital word has facilitated an economy around the cost of free or zero pounds and zero pence (or whatever you currency of choice is).

The first point that struck a chord with the theme of this post (that I’m quite glad of as it has added a lot of credibility to what could otherwise be disregarded as a my general musings) is how incumbents in a certain market would be unwilling to embrace to concept of free and incorporate it into their business model.

The main reasons they would reject this echos the sentiments above and how embracing this concept would cannibalise their current business and reduce or remove their current revenue streams completely.

The best and most common example of this is the music industry, that are unwilling to give their music away and monetise through gigs and merchandise as they are so used to charging for the CD they can bring themselves to give them away!

The example discussed in the book, this the death of the encyclopaedia industry that used to make a lot of money for a few people but has been replace with a little immeasurable increase in wealth for a lot of people, in Wikipedia.

This leads quite nicely into this next point, when the technology changes and jobs get taken, because they are automated by machines, and become obsolete you need to move upstream and in Chris Anderson’s words apply yourself where the human touch is still required. This has most recently been brought to light here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15486300 showing the 25 years since the ‘Big Bang’ and the trading City of London was computerised.

That was almost a post in itself, but thought is was worth adding!

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