Foresight and resilience, the qualities of tomorrow’s leading brands

Disrupt yourself and disrupt others… is the catch cry that is driving new market value.

Louise Kelly Founder of Thought Leaders Circle the home for ground breaking brand thinking.

Louise Kelly Founder of Thought Leaders Circle the home for ground breaking brand thinking.

Disruption is often referred to in terms of game changing technology, but it is equally applicable to the shifts in social norms, beliefs and the ground breaking ideas that change the way we perceive value.

In short, a disruptor brand is any brand that becomes today’s “must have” nudging yesterday’s “must have” aside to take the crown.

There are two critical ingredients that will position your brand as today’s and tomorrow’s must have, foresight and resilience.

Foresight to pick some winners

We need not just insight but foresight.

Foresight is our ability to look ahead, spin scenarios, and ask what if.

Foresight in addition to insight, is the key to maintaining relevance. It also provides a brand with buoyancy, allowing your business to be carried by the flow of changing market forces.

Foresight allows you to position yourself be to exactly where the opportunity is moving forward.

Foresight is that ability to look ahead, at all the factors that are impacting on change with a view to consider the lessons, opportunities and threats they pose for your business.

We have said goodbye to Kodak, Nokia, Sony and other must haves for more adaptive technologies such as Facebook and Apple, which lend themselves to the growing market preference for streaming video and user generated content.

But it is not just technology that is disrupting, values are being disrupted at a faster pace than ever, as social media amplifies more socially and environmentally virtuous brands.

The concerns about white sugar, is a key value disruption, making significant shifts in market value and product appeal. Coca Cola has responded to this value shift around sugar values, with shifts in their formulation to include Stevia, and a change in packaging from red to green.

It is a repositioning to win over a target market that increasingly prefers coconut water over Coke and it is one they may struggle to win. Just like the sugary breakfast cereal market category fell around 10 years ago, now the sugary drink category is under threat from an increasingly health conscious consumer.

Resilience is the key

In order to be resilient and change ready, an organisation needs to be open and willing.

New ideas bring change and change challenges the status quo, in particular the current distribution of power and opportunity.

For an organisation to be a disruptor it has to disrupt itself, which includes the realignment of talent. It is something John Chambers, CEO of Cisco and number three in HBR’s 2014 list of the world’s best performing CEO’s, is well aware.

Cisco has a long history if reinventing itself along the lines of changing technologies such as mobile, cloud computing and the internet of things.

Successful foresight and adaption to change has been a deliberate intention of Cisco’s business. In order to achieve this, Cisco has opened the business with mechanisms that make it able to receive and implement new ideas, such as their entrepreneurs in residence program and their spin in program for company acquisitions.

Cisco also perform above the market average in the successful acquisition and merge of sunrise technology companies that have built capabilities in the space they wish to enter.

Cisco’s spin in program creates a start up mentality in the newly acquired company. Spin in pulls the team from an acquired company into a project, with financial incentives to success, giving them the opportunity to incubate new ideas, while drawing on the legacy of the newly acquired company.

Resilience also requires two other qualities, which are innate resources of the people involved in the change.

The first is mindfulness, which is our ability to observe ourselves experiencing the world around us. This mindfulness enables us to pause and evaluate what is happening against our desired business principles and practices.

The second is positive affect, this is our ability to emotionally charge those with whom we work with openness, a positive can do mindset and by being in the solution not the problem. Positive affect is transmitted person to person and is something that can be more easily generated by an emotionally mature, empathetic individual that focuses on win-win in business partnerships. Win-win is the basis of positive rapport and ultimately trust.

Positive Affect has a powerful capacity to bring about a willingness in others to change and the mark of a true leader. If you want to build your capacity for positive affect, you first need to learn to be able to give this to yourself.

Louise Kelly

Founder Thought Leaders Circle

Managing Director

Hearts and Minds

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