Disrupt Your Industry

In the world of enterprise technology, one name towers above the rest – a mammoth. It’s a company whose hands are in so many profitable pies, it’s easy to wonder how it keeps up. Its product have changed the way we live, learn and interact. It has opened up tremendous opportunities for information distribution and sales.

Despite amassing huge wealth, the company’s motto remains “Don’t Be Evil.” That company is Google, a disruptive organisation.

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Disruptive companies are the rave. They radically upturn existing ways of doing things. They look at business models and ask “Why are things done this way”? They say, “We’re going to do things differently and create new paradigms”.

Disruptive companies rip the corporate rule book to shreds, rewriting a whole new book.

According to Clayton M. Christensen who coined the term disruptive technologies, a disruptive innovation helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically first by designing for a different set of consumers in a new market and later by lowering prices in the existing market.

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How low-end disruption occurs over time.

In contrast to disruptive innovation, a sustaining innovation does not create new markets or value networks but rather only evolves existing ones with better value, allowing the firms within to compete against each other’s sustaining improvements.

There are three lessons we can glean from Google’s disruption and apply to any industry or market. They are:

  1. Create a new market or ecosystem

Google created a profitable business from search and online advertising, deepening the industry and pioneering a new monetization model for “eyeballs” and “click throughs”.

The lesson here is that while product originality matters, the creation of a monetization model that actually works is what qualifies you as a disruptive innovator.

  1. Scale up to own the product pipeline

Google’s successful product offerings include but are not limited to:

  • Gmail
  • Google Drive
  • Google Docs
  • Google Maps
  • Google Now
  • Android [acquired in 2005]

Each product interacts with the other and the idea is to own the customer so completely that it would be disruptive (see what we did there…) to go elsewhere. So as you use Gmail, it makes sense to attach heavy files with Google Drive. You also use an Android phone so your Gmail syncs seamlessly.

Apple employs the same methodology with its “i-ecosystem” – you can seamlessly buy music on iTunes and sync with your iPod. You can even buy that iPod with Apple Pay.

While other companies may have their own versions of some of Google’s products, the inventiveness and originality of thought that goes into providing an interrelated pipeline of products which create a market system is the hallmark of a disruptive company.

Take Google Now for instance. Google Now is one of the more ambitious evolutions of Google’s search software. The idea is simple — it predicts what you need to know before you do based on your habits, stored information and search history. It will show you upcoming appointments or tell you when you need to leave to get home on time.

It will give you a preview of your route, with one-button navigation. It will also show upcoming birthdays and anniversaries. Or, it can display weather information for upcoming travel destinations. A bit creepy…yes. And that’s just the beginning. Using its advantage in search and its rich store of consumer data, Google is set to create new markets in data mining and predictive sales.

  1. Drill down to develop promising new markets

Although Google is known for big bets, it also has incredible depth and coverage in niche areas. For example, the company created an interface for Cherokee speakers (a language of about 20,000 people). In doing so, it is poised to become a preferred service provider in that market.

If Google’s tremendous success over the years is anything to go by, disruptive innovation is definitely the way to go for organisations that wish to make big plays into new markets and industries.

Personal Brands as Political Equity

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The election season is almost over in Nigeria and political jingles will soon cease renting the air. Until then, the usual suspects huff and puff as they jostle for the limelight of public attention.

Elections in Nigeria are typically colourful for many reasons – the promises made by candidates; the achievements adduced as reasons for votes and the social media bants amongst others. They also throw up personalities – the old guard reasserting their relevance and upstarts who scream, “away with gerontocracy”! This time around though, other personalities have jumped into the fray. The political stage is playing host to crooners, thespians and comedians – and not just as brand ambassadors or endorsers. The Glitterati, banking on the power of their personal brands are determined to actively trade them for political equity.

Abolore Adigun (9ice), Desmond Elliot, Kate Henshaw and Tony Tetuila to name a few are towing the footsteps of their western counterparts – Al Franken, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ronald Reagan and Clint Eastwood as they make the transition from big screen and stage to Government house.

A famous example of an entertainer turned politician is Arnold Schwarzenegger of the Terminator Trilogy fame. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush appointed him to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, in which he served from 1990 to 1993. He was Chairman of the California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports under Governor Pete Wilson and in 2003, he won the recall election against Governor Davis to become the Governor of California. Schwarzenegger was then re-elected in California’s 2006 gubernatorial election, to serve a full term as governor, defeating Democrat Phil Angelides, who was California State Treasurer at the time. However, his approval ratings hit an all-time low of 27% in 2009 and 22% when he left office in 2011, with a state budget deficit of $28 billion.

Another example of an actor turned politician is Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan initially chose a career in entertainment, appearing in more than 50 films. While in Hollywood, he served as president of the Screen Actor’s Guild. In 1964, he began his political career as a Democrat. He announced in late 1965 his campaign for Governor of California. Ronald Reagan accomplished in 1966 what US Senator William F. Knowland in 1958 and former Vice-President Richard M. Nixon in 1962 had tried: he was elected, defeating two-term governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, and was sworn in on January 2, 1967. Shortly after the beginning of his term, Reagan tested the presidential waters in 1968. He was re-elected Governor in 1970. Reagan became president in 1981 and served for two terms. His approval ratings in 1988, shortly before he left office, were at 63%.

So, can personal branding readily translate to political success? Here are a few considerations:

  1. The political system must be mature enough to give political neophytes a shot. The rules must be clear and celebrities must meet the requirements.

In 2001, Wyclef Jean, a Haitian rapper, musician and actor established “Yéle Haiti” a charitable organisation known legally as the Wyclef Jean Foundation and incorporated in Illinois. The foundation became active in the aftermath of 2004’s Hurricane Jeanne, when it provided scholarships to 3,600 children in Gonaïves, Haiti with funding from Comcel. On August 5, 2010, he announced his bid to run for President but on August 20, 2010, his bid for candidacy was rejected by Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council. He was turned down because he did not meet the residency requirement of having lived in Haiti for five years before the November 28 election.

  1. Making the leap to politics takes a lot of planning no matter how strong a personal brand is.

Voters need to buy into the ideas and promises of celebrities. Volunteers must be organised and political apparatuses set up.

  1. Celebrities must have a clear and working knowledge of the issues and challenges faced by their would-be constituents.

To succeed in politics, Nigerian celebrities will need to address all three of the foregoing considerations and add a big dose of tenacity to garner the political equity required to successfully run for or perform well in office.

Sometimes, celebrities are called upon to play the role of technocrat and not politician like Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD), in the role of Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in Delta State or Weird MC, vigorous campaigner for Rauf Aregbesola, Governor of Osun State and a Special Assistant for Culture and Tourism.

In conclusion, a strong personal brand is potent political equity and is an incredible asset if parlayed alongside other political structures.

Alder Strategy | Revisualise your Brand

Putting your business on the road map to success requires effort and consistency. Even after defining the corporate essence and raison d’etre of your business, attention should be given to other strategic aspects that will ensure long term focus. An important aspect of a business owner’s branding strategy is the business vision. There are 3 methods you can employ to define your brand vision. One is the Possibility Exploration Approach. It employs the use of your imagination, and helps situate your business in the future. For example, American IT Corporation, HP’s business vision statement is “To view change in the market as an opportunity to grow; to use our profits and our ability to develop and produce innovative products, services and solutions that satisfy emerging customer needs”. hp logo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another method for crafting your vision statement is Comparative Revisualisation. You think of a successful company in your genre, and tell yourself, “I can be like them…” You parallel your dream to their size, scope, depth, reach and character or flavour. Just like Stanford University whose vision statement is “Become the Harvard of the West”.

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Another approach to envisioning is the Introspective Approach.  This method requires a great deal of visual introspection and meditation. When married together with biographical and aspirational fragments, it yields a high level of potency. You can read up stories on great brands like Apple, Google, Toyota, and Ferrari.

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As you read these stories, idea words and phrases jump at you to stimulate your thinking. As you keep on thinking, a visual character will emerge. As you keep on meditating and exploring the dimensions, the future is made clear, teased as it were from infinity. You then need to put your thoughts down in writing.

As you read about the businesses that interest you, also study the men and women behind these companies. The more biographical the stories are, the more beneficial they are to you in envisioning your corporate future. Ultimately, your business vision is a story being told into the future, starting from now. It is progression and not just a statement.

Here are some lessons to note:

Avoid unrealistic vision projections. Reappraise your vision to suit your changing environment.

Once you’ve achieved a vision, you should review it and set another.

You need to reach into yourself to pull out the vision.

 

Alder Strategy is a blog on brand strategy for businesses and brand practitioners

Copyright Alder Consulting 2013. All Rights Reserved.

Alder Case| Access Bank: An evolving brand story

A feature synonymous with Access Bank seems to be a constant yearning for change. As one of the top ten most capitalised financial institutions in Nigeria with over 300 branches in operation, Access Bank Plc nurtures the ambition of being the most respected financial institution in Africa.

In 2006, under the leadership of Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede & Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director and Group Deputy Managing Director respectively, Access Bank launched a new logo to signify an intention to reposition itself as a lead player in the Nigerian financial services sector. Alder Consulting redesigned the logo and developed the brand strategy for the Bank.

We present the visual identity evolution of Access Bank since then:

The Beginning: 1988-2002

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This was the Access Bank logo before the management team of Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede & Herbert Wigwe took over the reins.

The Transformation: 2003

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The logo designed by Alder Consulting represented simplicity, future focus and forward motion. The grey colour signified an extremely efficient, no frills organisation with a passion for excellence.

The Evolution: 2006

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Following an international expansion and a focus on retail banking, Access Bank unveiled a new brand identity with a colourful flair.

The Present: 2013

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With its customer base hitting 6.5 million, Access Bank has undergone another brand identity redesign. The white background represents a shift to a more transparent and open institution. The 3 chevrons remain, signifying forward movement while the lower case typeface typifies accessibility and humility.

Access Bank’s brand evolution portrays flexible and responsive branding in line with expanded vision, strategy and customer base.

Alder Case is an initiative of Alder Consulting centred on branding case studies and applications for businesses & brand practitioners

Copyright Alder Consulting 2013. All Rights Reserved.