Written by Colin Withers on December 16, 2014
in Brand Strategy, Events

Today, I had the opportunity to attend Hyper Island’s Toronto Meet & Learn workshop with my colleague, Senior Account Director Lisa Lewis. Several Ariadites have taken Hyper Island’s famed Master Class in New York in the past and recommended the course, so away we went. The workshop was led by Buz Sawyer and Hazel Swain of Hyper Island, and focused on one overarching message – that the rapid growth of digital technology is changing everything, and those that fail to innovate will not survive. Further, companies need to live their taglines and focus on their customer-centric visions, rather than protect their existing revenue streams and define themselves by their current product offerings.

In other words, the workshop focused on what we tell our clients every day—that you must pivot from the question of “how can I help myself sell?”, and instead ask yourself “how can I help my buyer buy?”

Here are a few highlights from today’s that we’d like to share:

  • The average life expectancy of an S+P 500 company in 1937 was 75 years. In 2012, it was 15 years.
  • Even a single technological innovation can impact a huge variety of businesses and industries. For example, if 3D printers are introduced in hospitals to create medical supplies on-location, that would impact the salespeople, supply chain, shipping companies, production factories, industrial designers, and a host of other professions all because of a single invention. Now, multiply this across all industries at increasingly rapid rates.
  • Disruptive customer behaviour is also shifting the way companies reach their customers. Do you have a strategy for wearables? The sharing economy? The increasing shift towards TV “cord-cutting”?
  • Everyone has a fear of becoming obsolete, and that’s a good thing. Fear forces change, makes you takes risks, and spurs innovation. If you aren’t afraid of obsoletion, you’re doing something wrong.
  • Companies need to have the courage to live their taglines. For example, Nokia’s tagline of “connecting people”. If they were really dedicated to “connecting people”, they would have been first on the smartphone bandwagon.
  • Avoid harmful organizational beliefs to stay ahead of the curve. Some of these include: “our products define our business”, “we need to do more of what made us successful in the past”, “our brand will keep us safe”, “we must protect existing revenues rather than look for new ones”.
  • Are you an expert or an explorer? An analyst or a maker? In both cases, you need to be the latter.
  • Shift from doing what you’ve always done and know, to what your buyers want and will want.
  • Companies that succeed are able to celebrate instead of penalize failure. For example, Ben & Jerry’s have a “flavour graveyard” outside of their head offices in Burlington, VT. Without the failed flavours and the will to keep creating, they would never have invented the flavours that were hits.

Colin Withers is the Brand & Communications Manager at Ariad Communications.

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