4 Considerations When Adding Trends to Your Growth Strategies
By Laura Patterson - President and co-founder of VisionEdge Marketing, Inc.
Thursday, 4th April 2024

The allure of innovation and the pursuit of the next big thing can be intoxicating, business leaders often find themselves captivated by the promise of novel technologies, trends, and strategies that promise instant success.

That certainly seems to be the case with the current rage – AI.

Not long ago the next big thing was business management applications such as CRM, email, office applications like Google Workspace, productivity applications like Slack, customer self-service like Zendesk, and integration software like Zapier. With a longer lifespan than fads, each of these reflects trends, not fads, and are therefore worthy of pursuit. Trends, including AI, are worthy of pursuit and deserve a plan.

The caution around chasing "shiny new objects" is that it can lead to a phenomenon known as Shiny New Object Syndrome (SNOS), where businesses constantly chase the latest trends, sacrificing consistency in their growth strategies. Before you embark on the chase, beware of potential pitfalls that come with succumbing to the new and flashy and the implications on your growth strategy.

The 3 Major Perils of Shiny New Object Syndrome

Without question, agility, and adaptability are key capabilities for long-term success. When not part of a change management plan, chasing shiny new objects can negatively impact focus, resource allocation, and customer experience. All three of these ultimately impact productivity and costs.

1/ Lack of Focus: One of the primary drawbacks of constantly chasing shiny new objects is the lack of focus it creates within an organization. It can create confusion among team members, decrease productivity, and hinder the achievement of long-term objectives. A recent study by the Economist found that lack of focus is costing American companies close to half a trillion dollars annually.

2/ Resource Drain: Each new trend or technology comes with its own set of demands, whether it is financial investment, time, or human resources. Constantly diverting these resources to pursue the latest fad can drain a company's financial reserves and leave it scrambling to catch up. To make matters worse, many process and transformation projects fail. Deloitte found that 70% of all transformation projects fail.

3/ Inconsistent Customer Experience: Shifting from one trend to another can result in an inconsistent customer experience. As businesses adopt new technologies or methodologies, customers may experience disruptions in service, changes in product offerings, or alterations in communication channels. This inconsistency can erode customer trust and loyalty. Diminished customer trust can affect retention and referral rates.

4 Considerations When Adding Trends to Your Growth Strategies

Intuitively, most business leaders know that when an organization maintains a consistent growth strategy everyone remains focused and aligned. A consistent growth strategy allows for the efficient allocation of resources, ensuring that investments are made strategically and with a clear understanding of the long-term benefits.

It also fosters a stable and reliable customer experience, building a strong foundation for lasting relationships. Yet, there are times when it will be critical to pursue and integrate a new trend into your growth strategies. In this instance, take the following four considerations into account.

  • Impact on Your Brand Reputation: Carefully consider the impact of any change on your brand reputation. Brand reputation is the perception and opinion that your stakeholders and members of your ecosystem have about your brand based on its actions, performance, quality, and values. Growth strategy consistency helps build a strong and recognizable brand reputation. Consistency fosters trust and credibility, making it more likely that customers will choose a product or service from a company they perceive as dependable and steadfast in its approach. Chasing a trend that results in significant changes to your strategy brings both risks and opportunities for your brand reputation. Give thought to the potential challenges and benefits of the change, and how they might affect your brand reputation and the customer experience. Use tools such as SWOT analysis and scenario planning, to identify the risks and opportunities.
  • Impact on Your Long-Term Vision: A customer-centric growth strategy is rooted in a long-term vision for the company. It provides stability and a roadmap for navigating the challenges and uncertainties of the business landscape. Companies with a well-established growth strategy are better equipped to weather economic downturns and industry shifts. Solid and consistent growth strategies should extend beyond short-term trends. Take time to consider how trends that will become how your business will be conducted going forward will affect your vision, mission, and purpose.
  • Employee Engagement and Alignment: Employees thrive in environments where there is clarity of purpose and a sense of direction. A consistent growth strategy provides employees with a clear understanding of the company's goals and objectives. This, in turn, enhances employee engagement and alignment, as teams work cohesively towards shared goals. Communicate how adopting and integrating the new shiny object will facilitate the growth strategy and its role in the process.
  • Optimized Operations: Operating with a consistent growth strategy allows companies to optimize their internal processes and workflows. Teams can refine and improve their operations over time, based on the continuous feedback loop provided by a consistent strategy. This optimization leads to increased efficiency, reduced costs, and a better overall performance that contributes to sustainable growth. Adopting a market trend may have process implications, especially for your customer-facing processes. Review your process maps before implementing changes to understand what process modifications will be required.

The Bottom Line on Shiny New Objects Syndrome

Shiny New Object Syndrome can have detrimental effects on focus, resources, and customer experience. Before you chase a shiny new toy, assess whether it is a fad or a trend. Trends are worthy of pursuit. Pursue them deliberately and thoughtfully with a plan on how you will decide whether to adopt the trend and its implications for your customers’ experience, employee engagement, and resources.

If you decide the trend merits adoption, determine how you will integrate it into your growth strategies and its impact on your brand reputation, vision, employees, and operations. Remember to leverage risk and change management best practices. The ability to balance innovation with a steadfast commitment to a well-defined growth strategy is the key to sustainable success.

P.S. AI is a rapidly evolving trend worthy of pursuit and a plan. As with any new and transformative technology, it’s good to know where and when not to use it. To better guide CXOs and BODS in developing and implementing their growth strategy plans, I completed the Northwestern/Kellogg for the AI Applications for Growth program. Ready to get started?

For information on how to create your growth strategy and plan to optimize the upside and minimize the risks, please email me at laurap@visionedgemarketing.com with the subject line "AI Plan"

Laura Patterson is president and co-founder of VisionEdge Marketing, Inc., a recognized leader in enabling organizations to leverage data and analytics to facilitate marketing accountability.

Laura’s newest book, Marketing Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization (Racom: www.racombooks.com ), is a useful primer for improving marketing measurement and performance. Visit: www.visionedgemarketing.com

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