Do you know who these guys are?
Which one of them is best related to your business?
Let’s compare some details on them, with the greatest of respect to both of them.
A true Vegas style performer, was huge back in the day has sold over 125 million records on a solo basis, doesn’t really do collaborations, prefers to keep to his style.
Obviously as this guy is 82 his style is somewhat dated, but he sticks to it, his last big hit was approx 8 years ago, does very little TV or promo work.
Sir Tom Jones
At 78 there’s not too much difference in years, but in mentality they are miles apart, he has sold over 150 million solo records with a further 100 million in collaborations, he changed styles over 20 years ago when his son became his manager, and since has been in huge demand.
With all new and established bands and solo artists requesting to work with him, Sir Tom is a regular on TV as judge in The Voice franchise program. Incredibly current and a genuine music legend with the capability and willingness to adapt to today’s trends.
I‘m sure you get the idea and the picture now, if not imagine two restaurants, one that has literally never changed the menu or style in 40 years and one that constantly updates the menu redecorates and introduces exciting new options every time you go back there is something different to try?
That’s the Engelbert / Tom Jones scenario.
So is your company a Tom or an Engelbert, both good but one is stuck in a time warp refusing to change to market trends and the other being the polar opposite.
There is a wonderful British expression “flogging a dead horse” sadly this seems to be the norm for several companies and indeed even industries, fortunately in today’s rapidly changing world we have something called “disruptors” Airbnb, Uber, Tesla to name just three of them.
The Disruptor Effect
Disruptors would be the musical equivalent of a new and very young band, who like the music of the established artists but can just see so many ways it could be made to sound better, they have no fear of failure just a total conviction and belief in the product they are creating, complete with the security of knowledge that they are not alone in the world and there are others who will appreciate this new mix.
Their MO is normally very similar, take out the good things, throw away the out dated and non effective parts, bring today’s technology into the mix, market via influencers and social media create a whole new vibe around something that actually isn’t that new, just shaken and stirred in
Amazingly simple, followed with the formula that popularity and importantly global exposure (Instagram, You Tube) brings success and new clients listeners whatever the target market is.
The challenge for an industry when a disruptor comes along is, should they stick or twist, do they go Tom or stay Engelbert?
A great example of going Tom Jones.
The Hotel industry took huge hits from Airbnb, they could have sat back and waited for their ever shrinking market share to check in, instead they went Tom Jones, reinvented themselves adapted the product to today’s market trends, utilised influencers, became the coolest place to be seen and be photographed in (Instagram), in fact they used the methods of the disruptors and now they have Airbnb completely on the back foot.
Kudos to you guys for having the balls to do it, I would add at this juncture that the age factor of the decision makers is irrelevant, with the majority of industry leaders being “mature” the good thing being business acumen isn’t an age related quality.
An equally significant example of staying Engelbert Humperdinck.
The challenge is to recognise when change is needed, waiting for it to become necessity is dangerous as you can literally disappear overnight, take Kodak they monopolised 100% of their market, didn’t see any reason to change and suddenly Hey Presto they were gone.
Too many companies have closed minds to fresh ideas, using that immortal line of “We’ve managed to get this far doing things our way, we’ll be fine” how many times have you heard that, swiftly followed by the liquidation sales notices being stuck on the building windows.
We can be Heroes
Going back to the music genre for a moment think David Bowie, he was so chameleon like and so in front of trends, inventing his persona and then changing and reinventing so many times, always keeping his fan base wanting more and guessing which Bowie would they get next, from Ziggy Stardust through to the Thin White Duke, he managed this for over 50 years.
Even in the timing of his unfortunate demise he saw and exploited an opportunity for promotion of yet another facet of his multi persona, the man was a musical and business genius.
There is another commonly used phrase, “if you’re not growing your dying” think of the life-cycle of a plant it grows and when it stops growing it dies, easy really, however, in business we should know that the easy road is usually the wrong one, so obviously the secret is to keep on growing, why not disrupt yourself, what stops you from doing that?
If you are not the CEO then you can always point the finger at management, you have options, you can climb that corporate ladder to reach a level where your input has significance, if that route it too much of a long and winding road, then maybe the choice is obvious.
If, or even when, the day comes and you find that you are in danger of becoming Engelbert Humperdinck then maybe then it’s time to make the change and go full on Tom Jones.
Kevin Wash is a partner in VOS Consultants, an International Business Consultancy specialising in Hospitality and high end shared ownership opportunities. Having lived and worked on 4 continents he is ideally placed to have an opinion on everything, and has no qualms about verbalising them.
Website – www.vosconsultants.com
LinkedIn – Kevin Wash