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5 Steps to Success for Surviving Digital Disruption

Remember when you had to go the video store to rent or buy your favorite flick? How about having to go to the store to pick up that last minute gift during the holidays? What about only communicating with friends and family via snail-mail and email?

The advent of the World Wide Web has resulted in a new Digital Age that has connected most of the world -- and in real time. Because we are linked together in this new way, individuals, organizations and companies are constantly finding better ways to do things digitally, replacing the old standards. Often this digital reinvention even saves you some time and money, all while improving the quality and efficiency of that product or service.

That is Digital Disruption

And it’s the reason you don’t do things the same way you did them just a short time ago. Even the way we do things digitally is being rapidly rethought and reinvented. While email provided a quantum jump past snail mail, many of us now rely on texting as our preferred method of instant communication.

It’s the ability to offer the purchase and streaming of movies from your couch, eliminating driving to the video store. Or, getting next-day delivery and online purchases rather than sitting in traffic on your way to the mall during the holiday rush. Even creating and utilizing social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Skype to stay connected with coworkers, friends and loved ones.

Digital Disruption has eliminated the status quo. We are in a constant state of disruption, and therefore, a constant state of innovation. In fact, it’s one of the main worries of any executive team today, because in order to be successful in a fast-paced, innovative environment, you need to avoid being disrupted.

With the world becoming more digital and people staying connected with a mere click or swipe, it is more imperative now than ever before to make sure your brand can ride this wave.

Mobile devices are replacing libraries, websites are becoming hubs for multitasking, and I’m pretty sure my grandmother uses her tablet to stream The Bachelorette.

No one could have seen this coming. Not even my grandmother.

But what makes sites, devices or even people disruptive?

It’s a question that not a lot of people have time to think about, for fear of being disrupted.

To succeed in the Digital Age -- and to avoid being disrupted -- the best defense is a great offense: You must become a disruptor. This is the key to survival... and success.

Let’s take a look at five key tips to turning Digital Disruption to your advantage:

1) Know Your Industry: It’s imperative that you see where your industry has come from to see where it could potentially go. Thirty years ago, companies didn’t have the technology or ways of creating great digital experiences that they do today. But, it wasn’t just those improvements that made them great. It was their ability to adapt to change, to see a trend, a pain point, and pounce on it.

2) Have Peripheral Vision: No one can predict the future, but making sure that you can recognize a problem or issue from any angle as it approaches your industry separates the haves from the have-nots. Your ability to see around corners is crucial to ensuring your brand’s success.

3) Learn from the Best: Netflix, Amazon or even a star-studded ice cream stand had its shaky beginnings. Having a vision of where you want to be in the next five to 10 years is key. No matter how much “YOLOing” you do, you will be disrupted.

4) Constantly Innovate: “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll have what you’ve always had.” Thanks Tony Robbins, because being a disruptor is exactly this. Think outside the box and find ways that you can do what other competitors do, more efficiently and cost-effectively. If you own a pizza place, offer a way for customers to see when their pizza will be ready via their tablet or smartphone. Offer notifications and personalization by letting them know when each stage of the pizza making process is done and what staff member is handling their order. Staying ahead of the game while being innovative and cost-efficient makes a great disruptor.

5) Beware Other Disruptors: Ok, so you’ve done all of the above and everything is great. Now what? Well, don’t sleep on it. Celebrate yes, but be mindful that there are tons of organizations, start-ups and lemonade stands looking to be the next great Digital Disruptor, and will not hesitate to claim you as their first victim.

In this blog series, I will take a look at different instances of Digital Disruption and the lessons we can learn from stories told by brands as they battle through unchartered waters in what might be history’s most competitive marketplace.

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