What it takes to be a ‘game changer’
A recent report – Game Changers – by International Brand Consultants Wolff Olins and featured on news24, sets out to examine the world’s high-growth businesses and what sets them apart. The research includes 500 global business leaders in 14 sectors across nine countries with big brands like Nike, Apple, Google, Amazon, Lego and Facebook taking part. What the report finds is that the ‘new normal’ has become normal, and as a consequence companies need to adopt five new behaviours in order to become true “game changers”.
1. Lead with purpose
In an increasingly global and social world driven by technology and consumer activism, levels of transparency have greatly increased to reveal the inner workings of corporations both good and bad. This means “game changers” need to invite employees and customers to take part in the vision of the organisation by using their brand as a positive driving force and actively aligning the company’s operations with global goals.
This means “define your organisation’s purpose beyond profit to stand for something that inspires and motivates people on the inside and outside or your business.”
2. Be useful
Thanks to growing global connectivity, information is no longer disseminated from single sources. Rather it is broadcast from person to person in a very open, socially networked way. It is therefore crucial to create valuable and useful product experiences that enrich customers’ lives. A new generation of ” ‘useful’ companies empower customers and stakeholders to make smarter, more effective use of their time and money.”
Today you have to “go beyond what customers want to buy from you, and understand what they want to do through you.”
3. Be in a perpetual experimental state
For years businesses have looked to case studies of industry counterparts to reproduce success. The idea was to get it right the first time by copying best practices to replicate success. However, this attitude is changing, with the best of today’s businesses realising that they have to be experimental by “trying new things and risking failure in order to stay relevant.”
The goal of today’s brands is to “encourage teams to expand their comfort zone by taking time to pursue experiments.”
4. Live boundaryless
Having a successful business used to mean removing inefficiencies, grouping like with like and keeping interdepartmental friction to a minimum. This is changing. Companies now have to focus on what they do well, and embrace partners, customers and outside forces to complete the package. Businesses must create value by going boundaryless and “developing an ecosystem that builds value by extending its reach.”
There is an imperative to “find an ecosystem of partners who share your values and a common ambition.”
5. Change the game through value creation
Businesses routinely fret over command and control. Most use a fixed set of tools to manage the expectations of customers and employees alike and expect a single strategy to create value.
The new approach is to be value-creative. In this new mode of thinking the key is use your values to define your strategy – delivering to a vision and not to a traditional product line. These companies are “less worried about living up to what they are known for, and more focused on creating value for their purpose.”
This means: “define value for your organisation based on your brand purpose and values”.
What business around the world is slowly learning from these five behaviours is that real game changers are wired differently. They are motivated, structured, creative thinkers. And whether they are start-up or established organisation, they are using their values to drive growth – and to make a difference in the world.