#FutureofBrands: Agile and responsive brands

Recently we here at OM ThreeSixty needed to make an important decision very quickly which would enable us to take advantage of a great opportunity. Being an organisation at the start of its life, agility is a strength for this startup.

Management consultants Nicole Dufft and Christoph Zohlen recently quoted a survey of large German enterprises wherein 52% of managers said that “lack of agility” in decision making was the primary barrier to transformation.

Dufft and Zohlen concluded that:

The key challenge therefore is to create and promote an organizational culture that encourages people to actively embrace change and continuously fosters organizational resilience. The ability to quickly adapt to new market trends and opportunities – may they arise from disruptive technologies or changing customer demand and behavior – is pivotal. Creative innovation beyond customer expectation is indispensable for survival.

As an organisation grows, decision-making becomes increasingly complicated and can inhibit the ability to innovate, lead or even respond to opportunities. The size and structure of organisations can stop agility and responsiveness in its tracks, sometimes unnecessarily or even unknowingly.

Here are a three important ways you can transform your brand and culture to become more responsive and agile:
 

1. Scrutinise your decision-making processes

 
Examine your decision-making processes. Are you taking unnecessary steps to arrive at a decision? Moving forward or moving quickly is often hampered by a convoluted model of decision making, which has usually grown over time, rather designed through intention.

Lack of engagement, lack of defined issue ownership, incorrect or unsuitable stakeholders and over-consultation can impede speed or strength of idea implementation.

Remove barriers and streamline your process. Making decisions should be efficient, enabling you to respond to the market and to your current and prospective clients.
 

2.Structure a governance process that allows for agile solutions

 
Reviewing governance structures and board priorities can add significant value.

Innovation or decision-making can sometimes be impeded by only focussing on the bottom line rather than also including short and long-term value for the brand.

We see decisions which may feature low expenditure but significant value for organisational brand reputation and engagement sometimes de-prioritised at board level due to the perceived low impact to the bottom line.

Advocating for a governance process which embraces brand strategy as synonymous with organisatioal strategy will add value through agile decision making.
 

3.Encourage and enable true collaboration

 
Collaboration cannot just be a new buzzword colouring the walls of your offices. It needs to be a cultivated promise which empowers staff and clients alike. The 2005 McKinsey Survey of Global Executives showed that only 25% of executives thought their organisation was effective at sharing knowledge, while 80% of executives noted that collaboration is vital to their organisation’s growth.

As organisations grow, collaboration becomes difficult as silos form and people begin to look after their group rather than the overall whole. Hierarchical structures or the lack of perceived reward for innovation can also impact individual and group collaboration.

One of the most difficult transitions toward fostering true collaboration is learning to embrace healthy conflict and debate while working cohesively toward a shared vision.

 

For brands of the future, creating structure which allows for ‘creative innovation’ within an agile and responsive culture will enable your team and organisation to take advantage of meaningful opportunities.