The Need for Speed in the Age of e
The advantages of moving fast and being first have never been more apparent. Our world is moving at the speed of e. Information is shared instantaneously and globally. Markets are affected by minor shifts in supply and demand overnight. There is little time for lag time in our e-driven environment, and no putting off until tomorrow what must be done today.
Who will the real winners be?
All this spells good news if you REALLY want to take a position of brand leadership. If you move fast, you can strike first and take a leadership position. You just have to keep up to the minute with market trends and opportunities, and be ready to seize the moment at any given moment. Don’t worry about the size of your business. The smaller you are, the more agile you can be, making it that much easier to capitalize on e-branding opportunities. Search marketing, social networking, podcasts, blogs, and other e-branding tactics take large corporations months and meetings to bring on stream. Small and mid-sized companies are nimble enough and entrepreneurial enough to make them happen today.
If you win the race, you own the space.
Remember, first is where you want to be, no matter what business you are in. Because he or she who wins the race, owns the space. Once you’ve staked your claim as leader of a specific business segment or category, no one else can be first. You own the top spot, and the market recognition that can only be claimed by category leaders.
Now, not everyone can be first. So if you just happen to get caught one step behind, don’t drop out of the running. Take full advantage of being second, instead. Tell the world you wanted to wait just long enough to learn from the other guy’s mistakes. Or, do what Avis has been doing from the dawn of the rental car business: turn being second into your pledge to try harder for your customers.
Whatever you do, do it fast.
Don’t over-think things when it comes to communicating your brand. The world-renowned scientist and lecturer, Edward Lorenz, who died earlier this year, shared this piece of wisdom with his adoring students, “You’re only wrong if you never make a decision in the first place.”
When it comes to branding, it is always better to take action, and then adjust your actions along the way, than to agonize over perfection and miss an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage. We’re living in an age of instantaneous change. Every time you delay a branding initiative – whether online or offline – there is probably a competitor out there not delaying – taking swift action instead, and building new customer relationships that could be yours.
Perfecting your brand is a process, not an event.
Of course, consistency and continuity are critical to strong brand development. But don’t sweat the small stuff at the expense of what really matters. There’s always the opportunity to keep refining your image along the way. Even the Coca Cola’s of the world keep evolving. Don’t waste time trying to make everything perfect. The famous and highly successful film producer Joseph E. Levine put it this way, “If I tried to make my movies perfect, I never would have finished a single one.”
Your business can’t afford to wait for you to make it perfect, no matter what “it” is. You just have to keep making the best decisions you can, based on the best information at hand. But do so quickly, because in the age of e, tomorrow’s too late.