If Your Brand is Losing Out, Where Does the Problem Lie ?

We live in a world that is fast changing. What was relevant last year doesn’t hold ground this year. Changes are taking place in every sphere of life be it in terms of society, values and lifestyle or the products and services that we consume. Post industrial revolution, our life style changed dramatically with the introduction of automation and use of products in day to day life. Today technology is changing our life as well as changing the rules of the game in business.

If you look at the global markets, it has become very common to read about sell out of Companies, Joint Ventures, Mergers and closures. Companies that were brand leaders yesterday have found themselves losing their position overnight and shutting shop. The latest news of Nokia trying to sell its Mobile Phone division is proof to the fact that they have been losing out to competition in the global markets.

If you analyze the reasons why such brand leaders lose out to competition in the market and are forced to shut shop, the reasons can be many. Pricing wars are said to be one of the major contributors. However what we miss out on identifying is the increase in costs and lack of recognition on the part of the Organization to swing into action to find cheaper ways of making the same product with same quality. It is not cutting costs but finding alternative methods to produce at cheaper rates without compromising the quality that becomes the game changer.

If you analyze the various market segments in any industry, you will find that we are no longer in sellers market and the customers are not the same anymore. Their needs, wants, affordability as well as knowledge have changed. The question is, are the Organizations aware of what is needed to grow and retain brand leadership in the changed circumstances?. It is quite obvious that not many Companies know the difference. Organizations are not tuned into market realities and more importantly they do not have an inbuilt culture that is sensitive to innovation and changes at the level of product, services as well as their business processes and more importantly as management.

The ground reality with most of the Organizations is that the Sales & Marketing Managers as well as the Business Heads are busy chasing the numbers. The sales targets mean everything to them and the same goes for the rest of the Management too. The absence of a culture, discipline and process that is sensitive to the market at the Organizational level makes the Organizations ignore the threats coming in from competition. A good example is the rise of Japanese, Taiwanese and other Asian countries in the automotive as well as electronics and computer businesses. While American and European companies chose to rest on their laurels, the Japanese build their business by first imbibing a organizational discipline and culture that is sensitive to the customers and were able to use innovation and low cost to sweep the markets.

Take a look at the Business news and you will find large Organizations shifting their senior leaders and shunting out CEOs unceremoniously quoting lackluster performance. It is quite likely that the Management has been busy chasing numbers and reached a point where they were not offering a viable value proposition to the customer or to keep up with aggressive competition in all spheres. Suddenly they find themselves falling in terms of sales, their margins take a beating, overnight they lose their brand value and then the Management wakes up to start damage control exercise in the form of offering discounts, improve customer service and introduce new products in the market as a knee jerk reaction to stall falling market share.

In all cases, what is required is a change at the Organizational level through the senior management as well as the line managers in terms of making a paradigm shift in thinking. Managers need to realize that the old book rules do not apply today and their operating culture as well as style needs to change. The starting point of the exercise begins with the change of management philosophy and culture that is competitive and embrace a marketing discipline that can lead the way forward.

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