Change is Good: Why You Should Always Challenge the Status Quo
09.22.2015 / Posted in Articles, Strategy
“We’re happy with the way things are now.”
This statement may seem harmless, but the idea it represents – maintaining the status quo – is essentially kryptonite to the growth potential and future success of your company.
What is the Status Quo?
Simply put, the status quo is the tendency for companies (and people) to resist change. It is based on the psychological principle that people like what is familiar and “safe” instead of what is new and “dangerous.”
The reality in business, however, is that doing nothing can often be more disastrous than trying something new. Competitors’ products and tactics change. Customers’ wants and needs change. Government policies change. Companies who stay the same will inevitably fall behind.
Avoid Complacency at All Costs
It’s easy to see why companies can become complacent with their place in the market, especially if they are profitable and have a steady stream of customers. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, right?
Unfortunately, we can pretty much guarantee that at some point, a major change will occur that will turn your business upside down. If you’ve become reliant on the way things have always been, it will be extremely difficult for your company to stay competitive.
Not convinced? Let’s look at a couple examples of well-known companies who have fallen victim to the status quo.
- BlackBerry – We all remember when BlackBerry was “the” mobile phone to have, especially for business professionals. Way below its peak of 20% in 2008, BlackBerry now holds a market share of less than 0.5%. How did this happen? BlackBerry believed that certain aspects of their products, such as a real keyboard, would always be valuable to customers. Thus they ignored new technologies, such as touch-screens, until it was too late.
- Kodak – Once the primary distributor of photographic film, Kodak’s failure to react to technology changes resulted in the company going bankrupt. The interesting thing about Kodak, however, is that the company actually invested a considerable amount of money into developing new technologies themselves. The problem? They were so attached to their “cash cow” that they failed to capitalize on their innovation out of a fear of disturbing the camera and film market.
Unfortunately, the stories of BlackBerry and Kodak are quite common among one-time market leaders, especially in technology industries. By relying on the success of the product(s) they have at the time, these companies fail to evolve with their industry to the detriment of their business.
Keep Your Company Moving Forward
So what can your company do to avoid the pitfalls of maintaining the status quo?
Start by analyzing the risks associated with doing nothing. When FrogDog puts together a marketing strategy, we evaluate industry trends, our clients’ competitors, and the preferences of your audience(s). Research in these areas allows us to look at a client’s situation as a whole and clearly identify current opportunities and threats. Opportunities usually involve areas where your company can grow – untapped markets, increased demand for a product/service, etc. – whereas the threats represent predictions of what could happen to your company if they stay in the same place.
Many companies only look at the opportunities, in which case the costs associated with entering a new market or developing a new product, along with the uncertainty of the market response, can seem daunting. When weighed against potential threats, such as a competitor moving into a market leader position or a shift in what your audience wants, these risks will appear to be much smaller and make it easier to implement change.
Consider a Partner
Challenging the status quo is a large project to take on for any company. Sometimes, working with a partner who is an expert in their area (such as R&D, management, or marketing) can give your company the perspective it needs to stay on track. After all, it’s often easier for an outside organization to see an unbiased picture of a company’s situation than it is for an internal group.
Need help overcoming the status quo? FrogDog to the rescue!
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Sira Anamwong