Rethink – reinvent; what’s so new about that?

One of the effects of the global crisis has been the near incessant cry in recent months for businesses to rethink or reinvent themselves.

I am a great fan of several of the Financial Times columnists. Yet they have been plying this theme until it has nearly lost its meaning. According to the newspaper, HMV, the CD retailer, is at it. So too is the trendy named New Covent Garden Soup Company. Even the French President has been talking about reinventing the world economy.

Dan Kennedy is another favourite of mine. In his latest posting, he also refers to the need of “continual frequent rethinking of what your business is“. Boring.

My own take on this is slightly more cynical. This afternoon, I read an old story about Procter & Gamble. In 1967, the makers of the successful “Formula 409” learned that P&G were about to launch a competitive product on a trial basis in the Denver area. To cut a long story very short, they changed their strategy overnight.

  • They withdrew their product from Denver, thus insuring that P&G recorded inflated and unreliable stats.
  • Then, when P&G’s product was launched nationally, they sold Formula 409 at unbeatable prices.

Clever, and the multinational backed down. And why was it clever? Because they were able to process new commercial info quickly, rethink, and then revamp the way their main product was sold……….over 4 decades before we have become subjected to these latest buzz words from current managerial gurus.

Bottom line: Don’t get lazy or complacent. Ensure you have the resources to keep you one step ahead of the game. Some people pay thousands to earn an MBA in order to learn this obvious piece of commercial common sense.

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