Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The new job guarantee: there isn't one. Why even the strongest brands must evolve or die
Was reminded about the pace of change today in reading Seth Godin's blog on the fate of the Singer Corporation, which once employed more than 12,000 people in a single plant. Business today moves at the speed of light, and the only guarantee for workers today is this: there are no guarantees. When was the last time you took inventory of the brands that have come and gone in your lifetime? Are you old enough to remember Underwood typewriters, or even the IBM Selectric? How about film? Or most recently Gottschalks? Pontiac is going the way of Rambler and Packard.
From Seth's blog:
"When was the last time you even thought about Singer (or a sewing machine for that matter)? The cycles are far shorter now than they were during the century that Singer was a shining light for corporate success. More now than ever, success today is no guarantee of success tomorrow.
"Sometimes we spend more time than we should defending the old thing, instead of working to take advantage of the new thing. I bet you can list a dozen "critical" industries that will be as relevant to life in 2020 as Singer is to our world today."
Big media is also an endangered species. I thought about this earlier this week when I followed the entire first day of the Iranian protests on Twitter: raw, unfiltered and often first hand accounts. By the time I tuned into the NBC Nightly News, Brian Williams had nothing to tell me. It was clear to me then that CNN, NBC and the other networks are just as endangered as newspapers: if they don't change.
Change is hard, it's traumatic and it often turns your world upside down. But at the end of the day, we don't really have any other options.
As Seth concludes:
"The key difference is that back then, managers and shareholders could stall and fumble and wait out the transition until after they retired. Now, it's almost an annual event. Hiding isn't working, and neither is whining. The best marketing strategy is to destroy your industry before your competition does."