The high-end home category was dramatically and fundamentally altered during the past several years – not only by changes in consumer behavior driven by the recession, but also due to the pace of change brought on by digital technology. Many high-end home brands struggled to keep up with these changes, while others adapted and thrived.
A report by McKinsey & Company highlights seven habits of highly effective digital enterprises across several categories. At the center of the piece is the assertion that brands need to get beyond the culture of digital experimentation and fully integrate digital into their businesses.
“To stay competitive, companies must stop experimenting with digital and commit to transforming themselves into digital businesses,” say the authors of the report. “Management teams need to…focus on ‘hard wiring’ digital into their organization’s structures, processes, systems, and incentives.”
I think that these insights are spot-on – and can provide a “gut check” for home brand marketers. How would you grade your company on these seven habits of highly effective digital enterprises?
- Be unreasonably aspirational – McKinsey suggests that your goals need to be audacious enough to make “the majority of your company feel nervous.” Do you have measureable growth goals tied to your digital efforts? And do those goals make your palms sweat?
- Acquire capabilities – The talent to help you break through may not work for you today. In fact, they probably don’t even work in the home industry. Hire them anyway.
- ‘Ring fence’ and cultivate talent – Sometimes digital loses effectiveness when it is interspersed throughout the organization. Consider ring fencing your team in order to incubate big ideas.
- Challenge everything – You already know the danger of “we’ve always done it this way.” McKinsey suggests that you assume there is an unknown start-up plotting to disrupt your business right now. Examine all facets of your business for opportunities for digital innovation.
- Be quick and data driven – Innovation and improvement require ongoing experimentation, using bits of data to inform your actions.
- Follow the money – Remember that digital investments can generate ROI not only in customer-facing solutions, but also via back-office functions. McKinsey suggests rapid focus on those investments that create the most value – “and then double down.”
- Be obsessed with the customer – Having a great showroom, but a crappy website, is no longer acceptable in these times of rising customer expectations. “A healthy obsession with improving the customer experience is the foundation of any digital transformation,” says McKinsey.
Chances are, your brand may be doing well on three or four of these drivers. If so, let me challenge you to tackle the other drivers and really reach your brand’s potential.
If you’d like to read more about McKinsey, click here.