Brandgevity : How brands can stay sustainable in the Digitally Disrupting World
Digitalization in this decade will function at quantum speed, with its applications being cross-functional and transformational. It’s quite sad because basically a lot of naive brands will gradually phase out or become disrupted within this decade.
Two decades ago Bill gates wrote and I quote ” if your business is not on the internet you will go out of business”. Well now, there is a twist to that, digitalization is not only functioning as a business enabler, but it is also defining how businesses are being built and sustained. Industries with high barriers to entry are being disrupted and penetrated effortlessly. Only brands with agile governance and fast adaptation to digitalization will thrive amidst this transformational transitioning. Competition and competitors are being refined and redefined.
As a case study, Let’s run an X-ray on the banking industry in Nigeria;
It is only instructional that when banks develop their corporate strategy, their competitor analysis will not only include banks (which are known direct competitors), or Fin-techs (which are known, indirect competitors). It should include any and every digital platform with up to 10 million users and above.
This is a rigorous process they have to follow through in other to deduce unique positioning and strategy to maintain future relevance.
Nairabet and Bet9ja, for instance being the top sport betting companies in Nigeria, have close to 85 million users with monthly revenue that is on consistent double-figure billions in Naira. With their pool of ever-growing users, their liquidity, and understanding along with the application of financial technology in various forms like digital wallets and payment routing and settlement, the probability of them venturing into digital banking are extremely HIGH.
So they are evidently strong and probably unknown indirect competitors to the banks in Nigeria.
Which Is Why Banks Should Keep a Close Eye On Opay.
Opera Software, the makers of Opera mini who recently celebrated 100 million daily users of their browser in Africa have the vision to replicate the success Wechat has in China in Africa starting from Nigeria. Opay is a digital bank where you send and receive money from your accounts, pay for utility bills, top up your data and airtime, pay for online and offline purchases with their Opay Mastercard and Visacards, while you can also order for food from Ofood a section on the app.
Apart from their cash injection, attractive incentives, guerrilla marketing tactics using cost leadership, they are building a Lifestyle App whose core is an interconnected yet diversified digital banking and financial solution.
Their recent integrated partnership with major sport betting platforms like Nairabet and Bet9ja should be a thing of concern for players in the Nigerian banking industry.
And this is because they are not only positioning themselves around various lifestyle interactions and touchpoints of their users, they have also ventured into the corridors of huge and consistent streams of digital financial transactions using their platforms, thus positioning as a FinTech brand to be reckoned with in the nearest future.
All these are to highlight the extent to which digitalization is defining businesses, their competitions, and their sustained growth.
So the question is, WHAT IS THE WAY FORWARD?
In other to stay ahead, Businesses must seek to answer two questions:
1. How can we increase brand visibility and accessibility using Digital media
2. How can we Digitalize business processes and core deliverables?
Asking the Right questions creates possibilities to present the right answers.
Decision-makers and leaders of major corporations are advised to:-
1 – Accurately analyze, then carry out a strategic digital transformation and transitioning of business processes and brand deliverables, then ensure top-down brand enculturation and acculturation while implementing digital transitioning. This is a gradual process that requires time to get full emancipation from previous operational modalities.
Note: Engineering and maintaining a laser beam focus on cultural shift during digital transitioning is extremely important because “culture eats strategy for breakfast”
2 – For top established corporations and organizations there are a series of bottlenecks that hinder seamless digital transitioning and not to mention a possible nosedive of revenue during these processes. To mitigate this, companies are advised to implement the following:
A – Set up venture capital arm of the company that solely invests in digitally inclined startups that are building businesses in line with the digital future of your industry. This will ease your company’s future transitioning and dominance of these startups when they eventually become industry phenomena.
Blockbuster did not recover from passing over the opportunity of buying over Netflix for just 50 million dollars. Years down the line, Blockbuster had gone bankrupt while Netflix peaked a market valuation of $206 billion dollars in July 2018.
B – Build a startup that is distinctively separate from your current establishment but is in line with the forecasted future of your industry, then use your resources and industry influences to instigate a faster go to market strategy of the startup, but as a different brand.
While Implementing this, have a corporate strategy focused on either Integrating the startup into the current establishment and running it as a hybrid or, evolving strategically towards the startup, positioning it as the future of the current establishment.
Digitalization is the bedrock of brand longevity in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Brands that must thrive and have sustained relevance must make digitalization a culture and a core of their essence.
However, regardless of the route businesses navigate towards, expert consultations and interactions with industry subject matter experts are pivotal to the successful implementation of these strategies.