For the world’s best brands and fastest risers, growth may seem in the stars, but in today’s complex, customer-centric market, it takes a focused plan and decisive action. Clear business strategy plus exceptional customer experience is the winning formula for growth. And while the destination is singular, the ways there can vary dramatically.
Most organizations will face similar obstacles in their lifespans: pressure from competitors, challenges from disruptors, shifting global markets, and the evolving needs of customers. When we look at the questions all companies face, some common growth challenges emerge, which each require distinct, but programmatic solutions.
The three Growth Challenges
You’ve grown too big or are spread too wide, urging you to refocus on your core competencies.
In many instances, global businesses are finding they’ve grown too big (too soon) to maintain the laser-like focus on customers that’s essential—especially those managing complex portfolios. Such companies are streamlining to refocus on their core capabilities—and customers.
Diversified companies like Unilever, P&G, and GE have been at this for years. GE divested over half of its businesses in order to focus on its industrial roots, pushing innovation in that sector. Focus is embedded into the company’s “culture of simplification”: GE prioritizes lean management while continuing to streamline its business.
You’ve scaled quickly, but momentum has faded and you need a boost to reach the next level of growth.
Fast growing businesses or those on the brink of breakthrough risk going from major disruptors to just another brand—or worse, a bust. How do you sustain growth as your operations, market, and customer demands become more complex? For some, it’s an injection of resources—whether that’s raising capital or hiring a COO. For others, it’s expanding or selling, tapping into new markets, or building partnerships to expand capabilities. In all cases, it’s about leveraging the strength of your brand to keep growing in the right direction.
For brands that were breakthroughs not long ago, the sheer rate of growth can be the challenge. Uber disrupted a category when it launched in 2009, but with increasing competition, it’s leveraged its brand to expand into new categories with new on-demand services (UberEats, UberDelivery), B2B offerings (Uber for Business), and research into vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) developments that could rocket ride-sharing into the future.
You’re feeling pressure from all sides and have to rethink your business proposition to ensure future growth.
Established companies may feel like they’ve lost their relevance or are being squeezed out by players that aren’t even in their competitive space. This may require reinventing your business proposition or operating model. The challenge now is to change—and we know change can be painful. But there are methods of reinvention that are careful and orchestrated.
Entire sectors now face this challenge. Auto companies must differentiate in their current markets, while tapping into new growth markets, and keep up with innovation inside and outside the space. Take tech giants like Google and Apple, which are furiously iterating autonomous driving, electric vehicles, and connected systems, while emerging auto-tech companies (Nauto, Cruise Automation) and the Ubers of the world are rewriting the future mobility.
Ford showed it’s forward-thinking, especially in the face of recent slows in auto sales. It announced the launch of new subsidiary, Ford Smart Mobility LLC, in March 2016, and is expanding its business model to become “both an auto and mobility company.”
While reinvention isn’t easy, especially for brands with major legacies, it can start at the heart, with the brand.
The Growth Accelerator – a programmatic solution
While most questions plaguing businesses at all stages can be mapped to these three growth challenges, the answers are not one-size-fits-all. Growth is personal.
The Growth Accelerator is Interbrand’s proprietary solution for getting you to the next growth phase, fast. The ability to scale to brands of all sizes is fundamental to the way the Accelerator works, because it’s built to design and deliver both clear strategies and amazing customer experiences. This is how:
- Data and diagnostics
Looking at both transactional and behavioral data is key to getting a sense of how healthy your brand and business really are. We do this across 10 measurable dimensions, which provides a holistic analysis of your brand’s performance.
Once we identify the causes of stagnated growth, we engage in workshops with cross-functional teams (e.g. marketing, sales, HR, digital, retail, sponsorship, etc.) designed to challenge assumptions and uncover ideas that will shape the strategy going forward. This deep dive into your brand and business determines how you tackle your particular growth challenge.
- Building a roadmap
This is where we draw a line between growth strategies and their manifestation in the world. That’s why The Growth Accelerator is powerful: it identifies key initiatives, prioritizes budget allocation, and builds an action plan that aligns the entire organization. This roadmap doesn’t just designate, it delegates growth by making it everyone’s business.
- Activating growth
A fancy roadmap won’t get you far if you don’t have the necessary vehicle for change. The Growth Accelerator is that too—whether you’re re-focusing, re-fueling, or completely re-inventing. Based on the roadmap, we design signature experiences for your customers, connected across all touchpoints.
The Growth Accelerator is not a broad solution, but a tailored and scalable program that can help solve all three growth challenges. It makes growing your brand and business a more seamless—and painless—experience. You can’t always rely on the stars, but if you believe in your business, so do we. By tackling your challenges head-on, we can align the stars that will guide you to your next growth chapter.