Change is constant is a common adage that applies to both individuals and companies alike. Like ordinary people, companies must also react and evolve in response to environmental changes (think the pandemic), changes in customer needs and behaviour, technological advances, and so on. Again, like people, not all companies evolve the same way or at the same pace. Smaller companies can pivot in one go and evolve faster than large enterprises, where change is a series of connected baby steps.
Our latest Time for a Reset – Inside Marketing Transformation – podcast Episode
Adam Wright is the Head of Digital at Beiersdorf, a holding company for skin care brands like Nivea, Coppertone, and 8×4. He leads the digital team responsible for full-funnel digital activity, including retail media and DTC for NIVEA and NIVEA Men. In our latest episode of Time for A Reset podcast- Inside Marketing Transformation, Adam shares how a reset and transformation at global enterprises is a calibrated and step-by-step process rather than a big-bang change.
Transformation at large enterprises isn’t localised to one point.
Instead, it plays out across different levels, from the overarching corporate transformational agenda to local teams across geographies. Change at enterprises is preceded by an internal evaluation and a holistic view of organisational structure across hierarchies and functional matrix, tech stacks assessment, and individual team level. Transformation happens top-down and bottom-up simultaneously, and it is organic in one case while highly structured in another.
Companies must identify the levers that will help in driving the adoption of change
Since companies are essentially a group of people working together and most people by nature are resistant to change, companies that are looking to evolve need to identify the levers that will help in driving adoption of change across companies. Sometimes change becomes inevitable and critical for survival, and the pandemic is an example where customers shifted online, and companies needed to adapt overnight. At other times when change is more measured, the most significant lever for securing buy-in is to build trust in change at the team level.
The best way to secure the adoption of change is to build trust across individual teams in the organisation. Transformation at large enterprises is akin to changing the course of a very large ship at sea. Change is triggered by a series of small steps rather than as a silicone valley-inspired big-bang event. The idea is to start with small experiments and learn from those changes, and every experimental win builds trust in the process. Change at these companies is incremental and often spread over a two to ten-year cycle. It’s also best to spread the experimentation across business verticals to evolve into an organic change over time.
A meaningful change starts with a compelling vision, and it’s implemented across organisations on a piecemeal basis. The person who creates the vision drives its adoption across the company. Not all groups will adopt it at the same pace; in some cases, some markets may not be ready for the change. A piecemeal adoption is recommended for thousands of employees to pivot and change course.
Upgrading technology is part of the process of change at companies. However, an evaluation of internal mindsets and skill sets should dictate the tech stacks one acquires. Getting the most sophisticated tech stack with the skill set to manage it would make for a bad investment.
With data, Adam feels that most companies generate enough data that they can mine and analyse to gain business insights. The underlying problem at most companies is that this data is siloed and disconnected. The solution isn’t to buy another tech stack but to connect the internal data and ask the right questions these changes are part and parcel of a company’s transformation journey.
Another thing to remember when transforming is that the company doesn’t need internal skills for all business functions. Companies should focus on the core competencies required for business operations and to work with external agencies and consultancy firms for functions on the fringe like creative skills and the retail media landscape A good consultancy model and help in accelerating the pace of change by allowing the company to focus on its core business areas.
Transformation can often feel like a bit of a revolution, but it’s important to only change what needs to be changed. Companies should conduct an internal audit to identify functions and processes that are working well; these should be isolated from change, and transformation should happen around these areas.
To learn more about transformation at enterprises, tune in to the Time for a Reset podcast, where host Athar Naser, Marketing Consultant at CvE sits down with Adam Wright, Head of Digital at Beiersdorf, to discuss how a reset and transformation at global enterprises is a calibrated and step-by-step process rather than a big-bang change. Adam also shares insights on how to drive buy-in to change and build trust across the organisation. They also discuss some common barriers to change and how to overcome them.
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