By Geoff De Weaver, CEO + Founder of Touchpoint Entertainment Inc.
Today, Uber is the world’s largest car company yet owns no vehicles, Facebook is the world’s most popular media owner, with some 1.5 billion members but creates little to no content, Airbnb the world’s largest accommodation provider doesn’t own any real estate and Cirque du Soleil is a circus but, doesn’t tolerate cruelty to animals and caused a massive Paradigm Shift to the entire circus and entertainment experience.
In fact, Cirque du Soleil’s innovations included removing the animals (and cruelty) of animals in traditional circus environments AND removing the concessions, the stagehands and the old-school three-ring format of traditional circuses. e.g. Barnum and Bailey Circus.
Importantly, Cirque du Soleil refined its focus to the dramatic essence of the circus’s unique and stunning performances to enable them to charge significantly more for tickets than traditional circuses — and customers have been coming in droves.
Note: To illustrate watch: High Bars Act from Alegria | Best of Cirque du Soleil following:
Because I have worked for over 20 years on innovative and disruptive brands such as: Microsoft, Nike, Ferrari, Coca-Cola, TiVo, E*Trade and IBM for example, I often get asked – ‘How do those brands get so big and go from Good to Great’? Although that’s a huge question there are some common elements, today’s great brands and business models have some common, key elements.
Let’s face it, not all of the old familiar brands and business models are as durable as they used to be. These once great brands are now subject to rapid displacement, disruption, and, in extreme cases, outright destruction.
Digital Disruption and Paradigm Shifting have become commonplace in 2015 and beyond.
As I see it, the key characteristic’s of today’s best brands (post ‘Mad Men’ days) such as: Uber, Facebook, Airbnb, Netflix, Tesla, Snapchat, GoPro, SolarCity, etc. commonly have major points of similarity, focus and benefits including:
- EMOTION: They generally connect with customers through something fundamental to the human experience.
- INNOVATION: They focus on innovation, quality and constantly lifting their own standards and innovation.
- CERTAINTY AND CONVENIENCE: For example, Uber adds certainty and convenience to an uncertain and inconvenient transportation experience, customers are willing to pay an average of 50%-75% more than normal cab fare for an Uber experience. And, Airbnb provides lower cost accommodation than expensive hotels by providing access to large houses or unused rooms to provide a lower cost alternative accommodate for people or travelers.
- BE AUTHENTIC: Authentic brands are able to find a universal truth and create content that inspires those ideals among consumers.
- DATA-DRIVEN: The challenge for brands is less about collecting data and more about how to leverage it to optimize current programs and inspire future efforts.
- BEING CONSTANT: By being always-on, marketers can tap into how people live every day and respond to their audiences’ wants, needs and values in a way that is true to their brand’s story and their objectives as a marketer. (Mobile competency and execution is vital today)
- LISTEN AND COMMUNICATE: Know how to engage, converse to build relationships through their messaging and content. Being a great conversationalist today means being a great listener.
Think Amazon.com, Airbnb, Salesforce.com, Facebook and Google. Or newer companies like Fitbit, Uber, Tesla and GoPro. They are ‘Category Killers’ because they are the companies that are largely responsible for designing a new market and slaying most of the competition along the way.
In fact, Tesla even pioneered a new mode of selling cars—direct to the consumer instead of through dealerships. And it is attempting to integrate vertically by constructing its own massive battery factory.
Today being digital isn’t about just working to deliver a one-off customer journey. It’s about implementing cyclical dynamic processes and capabilities that are constantly evolving based on inputs from the customer – all of which will foster ongoing product or service loyalty.
I believe the wise entrepreneurs, VC’s, executives and investors will focus on building and investing in ‘Category Killers’, e.g. the companies that shape our lives and businesses while reaping much of the rewards for doing so. They invent amazing new products and services, while at the same time dominating a big new market.
In a recent article written by Marc de Jong and Menno van Dijk via McKinsey Quarterly, Marc stated: “Examples of companies that have turned an industry belief on its head include the following:
- Target:What if people who shop in discount stores would pay extra for designer products?
- Apple:What if consumers want to buy electronics in stores, even after Dell educated them to prefer direct buying?
- Palantir:What if advanced analytics could replace part of human intelligence?
- Philips Lighting:What if LED technology puts an end to the lighting industry as a replacement business?
- Amazon Web Services:What if you don’t need to own infrastructure yourself?
- TSMC:What if you don’t need to develop your own process technology or invest in your own infrastructure?
- Amazon Mechanical Turk, TaskRabbit, and Wikipedia:What if you can get stuff done in chunks by accessing a global workforce in small increments?
- Tencent outcompetes in Internet services through micro-transactions
- Uber sidesteps the license system that protects taxicab franchises in cities around the world
In conclusion, Cirque du Soleil is a complex and emotion-laden brand — one that touches audiences’ hearts and imaginations BUT, if you want your business to become more innovative or a Paradigm Shifter, make sure, you might want to follow the brands I mentioned above too.
Cirque du Soleil’s innovation and creativity in your organization’s overall business plan. Because, there is no room for compromise at Cirque du Soleil when it comes to innovation, creativity and artistic expression, or to strong business development. Maintaining the delicate balance between these principles is a continuous process.
If you want to be the next paradigm shifter, here’s a model via McKinsey & Co. to help you get started:
Bottom-line, whether you are a start-up, mid-size company or a big company, innovation must be at the forefront of your corporate agenda. There’s no going backward now as digital disruption and paradigm shifting are escalating, and will continue to do so.
Unparalleled customer experience, convenience and certainty must be your high priorities today. Constant Innovation efficiency improvements are a prerequisite for a healthy bottom line and a successful brand today.
More About Geoff De Weaver:
Hailing from New York; Geoff De Weaver is the driven, passionate and charismatic entrepreneur, lifestyle guru behind Touchpoint Entertainment Inc. Geoff is a catalyst for change and a strategist for success.
As a CEO + Founder, Geoff is always on the lookout for the latest business innovation, sporting trends, music trends and for the latest ways to engage with people; from mobile and streaming technologies, to live events, music, sports marketing, entertainment and customer/fan experience.
Geoff has a global 25-year background of representing some of the world’s most iconic worldwide brands including: Coca Cola, IBM, IMG, P&G, Microsoft, Nike, British Airways, Wells Fargo, EA Sports, MasterCard, E*Trade, Nestle, Air France, AT&T, VISA, Unilever, EA.com, Ferrari, American Express, P&G, Trend Micro, Acer Computers, BMW, Shutterfly.com, Mars, Pfizer, TiVo, EarthLink Internet, Telstra and others.
- Top 0.5% Worldwide on Twitter Globally
- Top 1% Influencer on LinkedIn and 32+ million network on LinkedIn worldwide
- Top 1% Most viewed profiles on LinkedIn
- Geoff is a Digital Pioneer, Data-Driven, Entrepreneur + Innovator.
A selection of self-penned published e-books exploring such spheres as: Social Business, Social Media, LinkedIn etc, all currently available at: Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Geoff-De-Weaver/e/B007DAEKFG
Feel free to get in touch with Geoff for further information:
- Personal Website: www.geoffdeweaver.com
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- Twitter: @geoff_deweaver
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