Consumer behaviour is changing fast. While we have no way of knowing which behaviours are going to stick and which aren’t, savvy entrepreneurs and businesses are placing strategic bets on the future based on more long-term assumptions.
They’ve realised that growth can't come from doing more of the same. They need a creative leap--which can sometimes be destructive of the assumptions and principles that served them well in the past but which now hold them back.
Here are a few creative leaps that I see accelerating:
- New creative partnerships born of scarcity.
At a time when resources are scarce, brands and businesses are forming mutually beneficial partnerships to create new forms of value. By sharing skills, expertise, capability, influence, celebrity, manpower, creativity, good will and even just physical space.
Zomato and Swiggy are piloting an effort to take street food vendors online as many of them have seen their livelihoods take a hit with COVID.
- Personal brand as business.
People with fame, expertise or niche followings are using their personal brand to attract business for their ventures. While those joining the ranks of the newly independent workforce have realised the need for a personal brand to create new opportunities for themselves.
After announcing his retirement from cricket last year, Yuvraj Singh has re-invented himself as an entrepreneur. He has invested in nutrition startup Wellversed, and will be involved as brand ambassador to help scale the business.
- New business models driving product and service innovation.
Conventional wisdom has it that iterative improvements to product and service constitutes innovation. However, the single greatest factor for leap-frog innovation is the business model itself.
During the pandemic, online food delivery brand Rebel Foods pivoted from an offline quick service restaurant brand (Faasos) to a full-fledged cloud kitchen model. It is betting heavily on robotics and kitchen automation to experiment at a lower cost and gradually scale multiple food brands.
- Direct to consumer everything.
It's never been easier to start a DTC business, but it's never been harder to scale one. With VC funding drying up, unit economics and profitability trump revenue growth--prompting founders to go back to basics.
Meanwhile legacy consumer mega brands have expanded digital distribution on e-commerce platforms. Reliance is betting on digitizing kiranas to take on Amazon. While the Tata Group is reportedly developing a “super app” that would bring all its offerings—that include food and grocery, fashion and lifestyle, electronics, insurance, financial services, education, healthcare, and utilities—together on a single platform.
- The home as hub.
As our dependency on the home increases, it's role changes. The home is the new hub where we are the boss, the worker, and also the product.
Floor plans are changing. People feel like they need more privacy and space in which to work and keep kids busy. Demand for OTT content and e-learning is rising. Vacuum cleaners and dishwashers are selling like hot cakes as Indians are forced to do their own chores. Home chefs are taking orders to supplement their income. And people are taking to gardening to soothe battered nerves.
As a founder or leader, how are you making decisions? What are the new assumptions you are taking forward? And what are the consequences to the way you invest, operate and think about things?
We’d love to hear about the creative leaps you are taking to capture the next wave of growth.