To Succeed, Change and Change Again

Change and focus were key themes at the Hispanic 360 Conference, the GMA Executive Conference and the U.S. Open tennis tournament, all of which I attended in August.

They offered similar lessons with respect to adapting to change and the focus on fundamentals and basics that translate to success. To succeed, apply your knowledge and experience, and adapt as you acquire new information in a changing business environment.

The Hispanic conference emphasized how to understand evolving Hispanic demographics and apply them to new, progressive business models. GMA assembled the most influential leaders of the CPG and retail industries to cover ways to achieve growth through improved collaboration. And at the U.S. Open, the world's best tennis players showed how to win by persevering and changing strategies on-court.

Although these disparate events embraced different businesses, structures and cultures, they embodied the same goal–to grow and build value by overcoming competition.

Specifically, the takeaways included:

  • l Information technology is expanding rapidly, resulting in instant knowledge as well as conflicting conclusions and options.
  • l Differentiation is a two-way street involving not just obtaining consumer insights, but also sharing information about your company, products and capabilities with customers. Establishing a point of difference is essential to success.
  • l Old traditions are rapidly giving way to more choices for customers. Shoppers tend to gravitate to big reliable brands or toward lesser-known brands that offer personal choice and customization. The brands in the middle have become more vulnerable.
  • l Brands' intangible, emotional values influence buyers and often transcend logic.
  • l Major barriers to growth center not on the industry or marketplace, but with the management teams' ability to increase revenue, balance cost containment with investment needs and commit to doing what's necessary for growth.

The key elements that tie these August events together are clarity in communications, continuity, consistency, predictability and accountability. Overriding all of this is a notion I subscribe to: All of the strategic planning, financial re-jiggering and number-crunching in the world won't help if it can't succeed in changing human behavior. And that, it seems, is the hardest thing of all to do.

It was a very interesting month.

To succeed, apply your knowledge and experience, and adapt as you acquire new information in a changing business environment.

– Harry Stagnito,

President and CEO, Stagnito Media