The Godzilla Problem
I once presented to Nokia back in the late 2000’s. The subject was how young people used mobile phones. To highlight how brands engaged I shared case studies of MTV, Disney and Red Bull.
At the time Nokia was top of the world. In 2007, Forbes ran with the front cover featuring Nokia’s CEO Jorma Ollila and the headline, “Nokia: One billion customers. Can anyone catch the cell phone king?”
After the presentation, their marketing director pulled me aside and confessed, “This is all very well Graham but we’re not a cool lifestyle brand, we make mobile phones ok? We benchmark ourselves against Blackberry and Samsung.”
Over the next 5 years Nokia slid from being one of the world’s most recognizable brands to a has-been. Nokia self-imploded.
Many times I tried to visualise the challenge facing Nokia execs in industry presentations with data but the message didn’t get through. Only when I shared stories from our “on the street” research did they pay attention. In particular, one 13 year old kid who, when asked to describe the new Nokia phone responded, simply…
Leadership in the Exponential Era Book
Agile Storytelling: stories that reinforce a narrative within a company or ecosystem that teams must be responsive, focused on solving problems and willing to fail to improve.
If you can’t deliver what customers now expect, that’s your problem not theirs.
Companies go bankrupt when they fall in love with the product, not the story.
The bank CEO on Singapore Bayfront staring out her window is worried what the competition is doing and trying to do better, thinking about that award, but all the while she’s unaware of Godzilla looming on the horizon as he emerges from the ocean.
Your category competitors are the least of your worries.
It’s Godzilla you should be worried about.
He doesn’t play by the same rules, or lunch at the same hawker centres. Competition won’t come dressed in the same clothes, speaking the language of the insiders or playing the game of incremental improvement. You won’t even see your competition at the next award ceremony.
What do you do when Godzilla shows up in your space?