Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Changing From The Inside Out

Peter was telling me this morning about a Agency that was trying to make significant changes in how they work and their go to market strategy. And I've heard a bunch of these more than usual lately because of the panic about where dollars are shifting.

In some cases it's technical digital pure plays who want to become more creative and brand driven.

In some cases it's creative mass advertising agencies who want to shift towards the digital future.

What strikes me in all cases is how they go about it. A few thoughts on it.

You cannot buy change

Companies often try to buy the new vision that they have for themselves. Maybe it's a traditional agency buying a digital shop or a digital shop buying a branding shop. I can't think of one example where the 'buy' and integrate has worked to change the original company in any way, shape or form. I can however, think of many great places that ended up being destroyed by being purchased by a company that didn't understand the fundamentals as to why the company they purchased was successful in the first place.

You cannot hire change

The other strategy many companies look to, is to hire for change. I know, let's put a traditional marketing person as our Managing Director and that will change our production focused digital shop into a more integrated Agency. Or how about, we make our chief creative officer someone from a digital pure play and have all our traditional creative directors report to them? I've got one word for that. Oy.

You cannot rebrand your way to change

Changing a logo, and writing new brand values and promise will not change who you are unless you operationalize it. If you've redone your brand lately, ask yourself if anything else has changed? Have your HR policies changed? Has your new business approach changed? Have you changed your management style? Your language? Anything? Bueller? Anything?

You cannot process change

I recently had someone in my office who was telling me about a company that was trying to become more strategic vs. executional. The solution? Take a few of the strategic people, separate them out from the general organization and then have them try to re engineer the overall process and then mandate that to the rest of the group none of whom report to them. Oh dear. Recipe for disaster.

How does change happen?

Change happens from looking at your very DNA. You cannot change from the outside in. This is not a shallow exercise. It cannot be one thing. It cannot be top down. It cannot be about a colour palette. True change has to be from the inside out and has to be about actions and like i said just the other day, it has to be reflected in every decision that you make every day.

More on this later.

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