If there is one good thing about the difficult times in which we live, it is that they give us the opportunity to reinvent our products, services and even our businesses to face the crisis and be able to remain competitive.
In the 1990s, some companies that had reinvented the sectors in which they operated experienced very substantial growth: ZARA in the world of fashion, NH in hotels, IKEA in home decoration and ING in banking are just a few. examples.
In the last decade we have also witnessed the reinvention of many products and services. For example, Nintendo has reinvented video game consoles with its Wii, and Apple has reinvented mobile phones with the iPhone.
How to face the crisis and take advantage of it to grow?
If you are thinking: how can I face the crisis and reinvent my product or my sector? Here is some advice based on the keys to success that the previous examples have in common:
1. Take a chance
Half measures are not worth it. If the stakes are high, the chances of success are greater. The previous examples show us companies that avoided the easy path (doing more of the same) and took risks with innovative proposals. But there was also a lot at stake in the process.
If the Wii hadn’t been successful, it would have meant the virtual disappearance of Nintendo from the realm of video game consoles, just like SEGA did.
Likewise, if it had failed with the iPhone, Apple would have suffered a major setback in its future strategy, since mobile phones are replacing mp3 players and even computers. This poses a threat to the iPod, which is today one of the company’s mainstays, and to its line of computers.
2. Escape from the conventions of your sector
Look for different and better ways of doing things. Rethink everything: although PlayStation had broken a few years earlier with the conventionalism that video games were only for children and adolescents, these were still individual experiences, even isolating those who played. The Nintendo Wii was created from the ground up as a social and inclusive experience for the entire family and groups of friends.
Likewise, Apple broke with several conventions with its iPhone: the way of interacting and browsing the Internet with a mobile device, the way of acquiring and activating the product, the relations with the operators.
3. Lean on your strengths
That legitimizes the result: Nintendo has always been a different brand in terms of the type of games it develops. One of the keys to the success of the Wii is that it is a platform for a type of game that is very different from the traditional ones.
Apple has made a phone that is actually a computer, and it is more attractive for what it is like a computer than for what it is like a phone.
4. Think about your customers
Create products and services that connect with the consumer because they respond to latent needs. The Nintendo Wii, thanks to its natural interface (ease of use) and a new type of games, has encouraged people who had never tried a video game to do so.
Apple has created a winning combination: phone + mp3 player + mobile Internet access device + GPS. An all-in-one that its users appreciate.
5. Whatever you do, make it attractive and easy to use
Product design plays a very important role in the two examples analysed. By design we understand not only the visual aspect of a product, but also the way in which people interact with it. Today this is a differential factor in many product categories. Invest in design and you will not regret it.