Change or Become Irrelevant

What do all of the following have in common? Hudson, Henry J., Crossley, Packard, Studebaker, Oldsmobile, Plymouth. They are all automobile brands that are no longer produced. At one time some of these were significant players in the automobile industry. So what happened?


When these companies were successful they were relevant to the auto world. At one time some were highly successful. Although they all ended their run at different times, they all have something in common. They lost their relevance in the sense that people stopped desiring these vehicles. But why did this occur?


These companies failed to sufficiently grasp the ideas that they had to change or risk becoming irrelevant. Think about people. Every one of us is continuously changing. If we didn’t we would not be alive. Sometimes we have to rapidly change our thinking and practices to adapt to the current world. In a sense a company or brand is alive. That is, it does have to change. These automobiles failed to keep up with the changing taste of consumers. Consumers became increasingly interested in styling, safety, fuel economy, dependability, value retention, and other things. Other brands were simply better at meeting consumers’ desires. Change involves risk but is essential (see Taking Risks is Essential to Business).

The Issues are even Greater Now

When a company or brand becomes less accepted and competitive there is often more to it than just the product. Change is a broad-based concept. While it is true consumers are often looking for the latest and greatest in appearance, benefits, and features, that is not the total story. Consider big department stores. I won’t mention any names, but I’m sure you can come up with some on your own. While many of these stores offered the products people wanted, they failed in how they marketed, sold, and delivered. The internet changed things drastically. Right now it is hard to imagine another method of reaching consumers and fulfilling their needs and desires that is as disruptive as the internet, but it may well happen. Catalog sales were once big business but have now largely been supplanted by the internet. Sure, there are still catalog sales, but the internet continues to encroach on both catalog and brick-and-mortar sales. Even the internet continues to evolve in how people find things, how they search, and how companies use individuals’ and demographics’ searches to fine tune their marketing approach.

The postal service has also been severely impacted by the internet and private shipping companies. How many companies have failed to keep up with new methods of manufacturing in order to improve efficiencies and reduce costs?

As you can see, failure to keep abreast of how things are changing and adapting can doom an organization or brand. It truly is a case of change or become irrelevant. The risk of not changing is too great to ignore.

Are you looking ahead to asses how you may need to adapt to remain relevant?

If you want to know more, contact AimCFO – Contact

As always, your comments are welcomed.


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