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Adapt To New Opportunities – August 8, 2014

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On a recent trip to Chicago, I was waiting for a cab outside the Field Museum. I waited … and I waited … and then I decided not to wait anymore. Instead I went to my Uber app and requested a ride. This rideshare alternative sent me a confirmation as well as a notification five minutes later when the car was pulling up in front of the museum. The driver was friendly and the price was reasonable.

Uber, like many growing businesses, saw an opportunity in the marketplace. Promotional Consultant Today shares how you can learn lessons from companies like Uber to grow your niche as well. Companies like Uber are successful because they are taking advantage of open systems says John Winsor, branding expert and Harvard Business Review author. Uber saw the gap between the demand for cabs and their availability, and created its car-sharing model. The company took advantage of the flexibility of the web and social media.

There are a few things that brands can do to take advantage of the emergence of these open systems, Windsor adds. They include the following:

1. Adapt your business models to exploit new opportunities rather than try to apply your existing one. Companies like Uber are agile, in part because they see opportunities and create new models.

2. Take more control. It used to be that brands needed an agency to communicate with customers. Today, with the falling price of media and the real-time nature of the two-way conversation with consumers, brands can do more of this themselves. Some of the best-known brands, including Apple, are building their own in-house strategic agencies and taking control of strategic and creative leadership while using an open system to collaborate with great outside talent. While there is still a need for agencies, brands are taking the lead.

3. Seek out great ideas wherever they are. Companies and their brands need to get away from “idea myopia,” the notion that one outside organization, usually an agency, must be the sole creator of marketing ideas. Not only do your most passionate fans have great ideas and the tools to communicate them but there are ideas to be found from distributors and other outside partners. Likewise, internal team members have some of the best creative ideas but are sometimes afraid to participate.

As you focus on your brand, follow these tips and look for those missing opportunities.

Source: John Winsor is a leading strategic marketing and product innovation thinker especially known for his work in collaboration, co-creation and crowdsourcing. He is also a respected author of Baked In: The Power of Aligning Marketing and Product Innovation , Spark: Be more Innovative through Co-Creation and Beyond the Brand: Why Engaging the Right Customers is Essential to Winning in Business. He is also a contributing blogger to the Harvard Business Review blog.

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