Sep11

How To Survive Digital Disruption

Posted by Kelly Kirkham

When it comes to sink or swim time, water wings come in the form of websites, social media and great content…

Once upon a time, a great idea was born. In 1825, Nicéphore Niépce figured out that he could use a photo-engraved printing plate to create what would eventually be known as a photograph.

This idea grew, until fifty years later, a man named George Eastman showed the world how gelatin dry plates could expose and develop film at great convenience with little mess.

His company, Kodak, thrived until BOOM the digital camera hit the mainstream and the industry changed. Kodak, as a company, only just avoided bankruptcy, with the real irony being that Kodak’s research labs originally developed the digital camera in 1986.

Kodak are a prime example of how the evolution of technology has skyrocketed some to success while leaving others in the dirt. In other terms, they’re a perfect specimen of digital disruption.

digital camera

Digital disruption is defined as ‘a rising class of disruptors who exploit digital tools to offer new value to customers’ The term was coined a few years ago now and people have written entire books on the subject. However, the concept is only really just becoming mainstream.

So why do some digital disturbances erase some companies from our memories? Remember Napster? How about Blockbuster?. And how do some industries survive the ideological disruption created through digital evolution? There must be a common denominator somewhere along the crosshairs of the businesses that swim versus those who sink.

Brian Solis, a well-known digital analyst and bestselling author once said…

“Digital Darwinism is the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than some companies’ ability to adapt.”

A great example of this idea has dominated most newsfeeds this week. I’m talking about the technological mammoth known as Apple. Not only has Apple learned to evolve from their early days of Macintosh box computers and Dot Matrix printers, they have also propelled out beyond the technological curve to pave the way for new ideas and tools. Apple has, in theory, set the pace for the evolution of the rest of the world.

Tim Cook, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer as well as Chief Executive Officer, said…

“Companies get confused, they think their goal is revenue or stock price or something. You have to focus on the things that lead to those.”

This idea alone encompasses the difference between setting the pace in the world of business and stomping on the gas in an attempt to keep up.

By providing a competitive edge in business there are ways to be sure that your company will be the fittest, and will not lose out to the bigger and faster pace of modern business. The world is ever evolving in every industry, even the oldest businesses are finding ways to invent new products, partner with other leading companies, and aggressively compete in the digital world as a form of adapting to current struggles.

Harvard Business Review outlines some simple steps to surviving digital disruption, as well as tips on how to “chart the path” to form a strategic response. They advise…

Identify the strengths of your disruptor’s  business model

Investigate exactly what the ‘disrupter’ is providing customers. Is it convenience, money savings, or purely brand strength? By pointing out exactly what is causing your disadvantage and their advantage, you can create an action plan to actively compete in the market. Exploring new marketing, products, and availability can open a world of opportunity.

Identify your own relative advantages

Find out exactly why your clients chose you for their business. What is it that you offer better than your competitors? There are many new systems to harvest customer feedback as a way to see exactly where you provide the competitive edge.

Evaluate the conditions that would help or hinder the disrupter from co-opting your current advantages in the future.

This is the ‘Tim Cook’ step. Get motivated and take the next step to push your business further than necessary. Be inventive and intuitive to be prepared for the next disruptive threat. This is especially important for small businesses teetering on the edge of expansion. Don’t let would-haves, could-haves, and maybes be the stopping point. Some risks are worth the jump if it moves your business to the next level.

In other words, now is the time to start that website, write that content, and market furiously with the help of social media. These three simple tactics can revolutionize the pace of expansion and development within your company.

You’ll find everything to get set up online on the Midphase website.

 

 

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