The Tragedy of Losing Relevance
Disruption is somebody coming out of nowhere and eating your lunch.
Relevance is customers no longer vibing with what they perceive your business makes. Loss of relevance, in my opinion, is even more tragic than disruption.
Why Do Companies “Lose Relevance”?
Say a brand has developed a loyal customer base by providing a sought-after product or service since its birth. Even if that brand has reinvented its product over and over, if it’s no longer desired, a company can quickly lose relevance with customers.
Take Snapchat, for example. It successfully built up brand recognition by creating a service no one knew they needed or wanted. For a few years, they were as relevant as any of the other social media heavy-hitters (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.). What happened then? Why are they no longer thriving? Simple. They lost relevance.
When it launched, Snapchat showed promise as a longstanding tech giant, with innovative ideas like filters, ephemeral messaging and “stories.” But long-term, they couldn’t hold up against leading social media corporations. Why? Because they no longer offered a service anyone cared to consume. They still have an unbelievable product, but they lost the culture. They lost their swagger.
The market noticed and their stock has been plummeting. A business could have the most delicious and cheap cereal in the world, but if everyone is eating avocado toast, you’re out of luck!
How Can Businesses Stay Relevant?
So what’s the secret to staying relevant?
Well, a few things. Most are obvious, but all are difficult to implement. First thing’s first: you need to know where your audience is headed. Brands that have stayed relevant for years have done so with accurate predictions of where their customers’ desires might lie in two, three, four, five or even 10 years.
Second, it’s about being fast. We live in a world where speed is the currency. The organizations that can implement technologies quickly and respond to customer demands will give you another chance to remain relevant.
The bottom line is, it may seem daunting to face and conquer the threat of irrelevance. But there’s something even more terrifying — becoming irrelevant.