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Right now, we’re in a turbulent time of brand transformation. New generations of consumers are seeking fresh, exciting experiences and are demanding new ways to interact with brands, particularly through digital innovations. Technology is a linchpin when it comes to providing customers with more powerful digital experiences. We’re seeing retailers interpret this by creating more open and interactive spaces with experiential stores, as well as investing more heavily in new tech integrations like smart mirrors. Restaurants are increasingly focusing on engaging eater-tainment models, blending food and interactivity. And every company, regardless of industry, is navigating how to integrate the latest and greatest tech capabilities to better serve, and impress, the modern consumer.
In fact, in late July, legacy Tennessee-based restaurant chain Cracker Barrel Old Country Store announced investment in an unlikely new industry entrant: Punch Bowl Social, a trendy restaurant concept group focusing on upending the typical restaurant experience with experiential food, games and entertainment.
While the contrasting partnership was initially met with some surprise, it critically signifies the awareness of emerging industry trends and the importance of not falling behind with the modern consumer. Whether or not eater-tainment becomes the future of restaurant success, its strategic flexibility proves it can identify changing consumer values and is confident enough to make the leap and adjust accordingly.
With all industries rapidly resettling with today’s digital and social media transformation, this strategic flexibility is a top metric in considering a brand’s overall durability. Especially for larger brands, which tend to be strongly rooted in static strategies, change can be difficult to initiate quickly enough to catch up to current industry trends. However, in order to keep up with today’s innovative startups and survive the changing landscapes, the question isn’t whether to revamp your strategy, it’s how.
Corporations, like people, often have a hard time admitting they could improve. However, as with people, there’s always room for improvement and this is even more true in our current marketplace where industry disruption has become the new normal. The modern consumer’s needs and desires are changing faster, and are higher than ever before. Keeping up with them demands full-time consideration.
Brands should start by taking a hard look at their current strategies and throwing out any preconceived notions of what needs to stay or go. Adopting the lean, untethered approach of a modern-day startup allows legacy corporations to make the big decisions necessary to stay as strategically flexible and innovative as newer competitors.
Actively voicing areas that are becoming outdated or could specifically benefit from newer tech capabilities or experiences will help launch a brand forward, keeping them relevant for the modern-day consumer.
Many brands are able to complete the first step of the process, recognizing areas in need of transformation, but struggle to follow through with the actual integration once capital and real plans to make a strategic change are solidified.
When current strategies become outdated, initiating swift change is paramount to remaining relevant because new trends are always on the horizon. By nature, innovation is a continuous process, not a one-time jump.
Brands should focus on building out the capabilities to execute these timely strategic shifts. Just as brands maintain optimal supply chains to quickly push out product as necessary, so too should they work to sustain an innovation process that can quickly initiate new strategies.
In the business of innovation, it’s important to remember that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Each strategic change is impactful, but a brand’s corporate adaptability to stay in tune with consumer’s changing needs and have the confidence to adjust accordingly, is a sign toward its long-term resiliency.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.