Innovate or lose, companies told-A A +A
Sunday, August 18, 2013
WHETHER you are a startup company or one that’s several generations old, you have to adapt to changes in the business environment to stay competitive and relevant, said speakers of a business summit last week.
“Innovate or lose,” said Jacqueline Alexis Thng, chief executive officer (CEO) of Singapore-based Lexis Branding.
She emphasized that in today’s competitive and global market, small and big companies should reinvent.
“Change is something that employers and employees fear but this is the one thing that will prepare them for the future. I tell my clients to engage change in the business because this will defend their position in the future,” she said.
Thng’s Filipino clients include Goldilocks. She was one of the guest speakers during Mandaue’s Business Summit last Friday at the Cebu International Convention Center.
Thng said the reason brands fail to succeed is because they failed to stay “in touch” with the market. She cited Kodak’s downfall saying that it did not move into the digital age fast enough.
“It was complacency that killed the business,” Thng said.
She said smart consumers these days buy products based on trust, which means meeting and exceeding the expectations of the customers.
“If you fail to deliver this aspect, then yours is just like any other brands, they come and go,” said Thng.
She cited the Starbucks chain as an icon in innovation, because apart from delivering coffee, the company created a new culture of coffee experience.
“Suddenly the coffee shop became a host to various occasions of people’s lives, like little meet-ups or reunions, business meetings or a home extension, a study area,” said Thng.
What entrepreneurs should also understand about branding is that they can’t be a brand to all people.
Thng noted that the McDonald’s successful entry into the Japanese market was through the Quarter Pounder. Nike, on the other hand, coped with the changing times by incorporating technology in their shoe products.
“Business should adapt to the changing environment of the business,” she said. “If you will not change you will be forced to change.”
Last week’s business summit carried the theme “Engaging Change: Be Fit. Be Connected Be Ahead.” The whole day summit was attended by the public and private stakeholders.
In terms of handling change in the workplace, Tita Puangco, chairperson and CEO of Ancilla Enterprise Development Consulting, said companies should focus on the welfare of their employees to succeed in managing change because “people need special attention and assistance as they go through endings, the neutral zone and new beginnings.”
While downsizing is a major change that impacts employees’ lives, Puangco said employers should come up with “change and care assistance” for those who will need to leave and those who will stay. She said employers should exercise sensitivity towards people experiencing radical change and they should act as “bridge” to move forward.
“The employees are the company’s biggest asset. Employers should also address the multi-faceted aspect of the employees,” said Michael Angelo Lobrin, author and president of Life Enrichment Consultancy.
Lobrin encouraged employers to take good care of their employees as they are crucial in the success of the company. “Make the employees feel they own the business so that they will take care of it,” he said.
He also advised top executives to mentor best-performing employees instead of feeling threatened by them. “Good leaders, duplicate themselves. This is an important factor in the success and longevity of every business,” said Lobrin.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 19, 2013.