By market capitalisation, the world’s five largest companies are all software companies. Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet and Facebook are all tech giants in their own right. And whether you like it or not, there are increasing levels of technology uptake in every business.
Companies must be prepared to change to stay on top. Not only that, but they must challenge the way their industry operates. The insight you can gleam from the tech world is limitless. Just because you aren’t a tech company, don’t think that your situation is different. There are four vital lessons every company can take away from the tech world.
The best technology companies got where they are because are disruptive. They do things differently. Every company would benefit from this mindset, tech or not.
Look at the finance industry in the last decade. Hundreds of new firms have cropped up. New banks are challenging the status quo and payment apps have revolutionised online shopping. It’s at the point where FinTech has become an industry in and of itself. If the traditionally untouchable financial services industry has been shaken by new tech – then no industry is safe.
Do not only look at ways in which technology can improve your industry. Instead, think of how you can use it to improve the lives of your consumers and employees. Tech entrepreneur Ewan Kirk has said, “I have worked with technology all my life. I have seen the transformative impact it has had on our economy and the lives of people”. Tech thrives on new ideas, and the lifeblood of any business is its competitive advantage. If you find a way to make disruption your mandate, you will reap the rewards.
Another major lesson you can learn from the tech industry is how to fail. Do not see failure as the end. See it as a step in the journey. Tech companies recognise this, because even the biggest players in the market fail.
Google flopped with the Google Glass back in 2014, with sluggish hardware and a product that the market wasn’t quite ready for. Amazon and Microsoft both had their share of failure with the release of their smartphones. The smartphone market is notoriously hard to get into, but even Samsung bungled it badly with the “explosive” release of the Galaxy Note 7.
The point is, these companies keep trying until something even in the face of disaster. Of course, your company won’t have the resources these major corporations might, but that doesn’t mean the same principals don’t apply.
Brands with power
Tech companies command brand loyalty. Consumers are borderline fanatical about their products. Some people are diehard Apple users, for example, while others are firmly in the Android camp. The point is – people are opinionated about their tech. And this does not happen by accident.
The sleek branding that we see from tech companies is synonymous with modernity. These companies communicate in a way that creates tribal attitudes in consumers. You need to do the same, no matter the industry.
Brand continuity is the lesson here. Tech companies’ products may change, but their brand stays the same. You could recognise Windows or macOS without a logo in sight. A company is only as good as its branding, which is something the tech world knows all about.
In tech, ideas and products evolve at lightning speed. You can be alone at the top of the market, to surrounded by competitors in no time. Just look at Pebble, one of the first smartwatch companies. It declined a $740 million offer from Apple, and suffered when it could no longer keep up with the competition before being sold to Fitbit for $40 million in 2018.
Not all industries move this quickly, but you must think on your feet. Deliver fast and respond quickly to new challenges. This is key. If you hire the right staff and measure your success against realistic metrics, you can be as agile as the big tech players.
It’s clear that often there isn’t a one to one comparison between tech and other industries. However, the more abstract concepts translate well. Think of a way for your company to be different and you will find success. It could be as simple as being cheaper than your competitors.
Accept failure, because it’s inevitable that some aspect of your business will fail down the line. Only now, you should see it coming and prepare to move past it. Take the lead of the persuasive comms tactics in tech with your own strategy. And finally, ensure your business has the agility to act and respond to these challenges. If you can find a way to instil these traits in your business, then there is no doubt you will succeed.