Never Waste A Crisis...

About 3 years back, I presented 5 big opportunities that our connected consumer presented to the leadership team of a large FMCG company. The presentation was well appreciated, and the org started pushing for transformation. Today, a focus on leveraging digital for not just consumer engagement but as a larger source of business is a necessity. It still may be leaving some big growth opportunities underleveraged if we stop there!!

Sometimes it may need us to self-destruct what may have been a source of competitive advantage to build anew before someone else does it. For example, over a decade ago, much before PET bottles became an industry norm, the lead players in the beverage industry had a choice to pivot to leverage the PET trend and get a huge headstart or to keep pushing their legacy returnable glass bottle business model and let PET grow at its own pace. New players with no investment in glass bottles pushed the needle on PET and made big gains. 

In these last few years, in India and globally, many start-ups have created billion dollars businesses while the established players seem to watch from the sidelines. Why?

Disruption is easier when you do not carry the baggage of a legacy business model. It’s harder to push for scale transformation while running a business-as-usual. Indeed, if we think about it, none of the large banks were able to do what #Paytm did to how we now pay, the world’s largest travel houses did not usher in a change in how we vacationed as #Airbnb or #Makemytrip did and of course retail giants did not start the Ecommerce revolution like #Amazon did. 

Now that Covid has disrupted business-as usual, most companies have had to overnight ramp up their ecommerce capabilities and partnerships. I strongly believe that this disruption is indeed an opportunity to relook at our business and reorient to usher in strategic shifts that can ready us for the future?

But are we really listening-in and taking this opportunity to pivot or are we just happy to survive? 

The partnership of Reliance Jio with Facebook has been in the news recently but Reliance had charted its strategy to leverage consumer digitization in a well planned manner over the last few years. It started with strategic investment in mobility infrastructure, followed it by affordable plans for rapid consumer adoption. It has been building a unique retail model to leverage digitization for commerce vs. just riding the ecommerce bandwagon. This is by far the most dramatic pivot anchored on deep understanding of the way Bharat lives and operates and an outstanding example of an organization leaping towards the future.

Not all of us may have the liberty or the resources to reorient completely. However, we can all leverage the opportunity a connected consumer provides by becoming a truly integrated digital organization, no matter which industry we operate in! For some others, it may be about going back-to-the-basics and investing in building consumer trust and relevance.

Are we ready to listen-in? Do we want to pivot and change the game? Are we looking for ways to remain relevant in our consumer’s life? Let’s not waste this crisis….