This Week in Business & Brands: Gloom vs. Boom, Slow Growth or No Growth, and More

potters looking at clay cup

Brands Facing Demise…

We’ve talked before about the individual jobs that will be replaced in the coming years – first there were the factory butchers, and then the ones on Wall Street – and now it looks like not just employees, but entire S&P 500 companies will find themselves out of a job in the next ten years. As the financial sector’s technological advances like Bitcoin make for the rise of fintech startups and the fall of traditional banks, it’s possible the backend “blockchain” tech could be their saving grace in an ironic twist of fate. No one likes to find themselves as the victims of these industry-wide evolutions, and big brands of all sectors die hard – even Richard Branson claims his beloved Virgin America isn’t going anywhere, despite its recent acquisition by Alaska Airlines. This week has truly been a tale of survival of the fittest – at its finest.

With Others on the Rise

Despite the gloom and doom, nothing can curb the enthusiasm of fresh start-ups in every industry, and we’ll cheers to that – perhaps with a shot of the newest entry to the beverage market, tapping further into a millennial well that’s yet to run dry. Make no mistake, the on-demand consumer base isn’t only made up of the younger crowd, as online grocer BigBasket serves shoppers of all ages by helping them avoid the lines when it’s time to restock their regular sundries.

The pace of growth itself can be a tricky challenge for independent producers just starting out. Not enough sales and you’ll wither away, but too big an order could do even more damage, as too much too fast can throw a wrench in the whole works. That said, houseware retailer West Elm seems to have cracked the code with their locally-sourced designers, forging strong partnerships by employing frank, open communication from the start.

Too Much or Too Little?

For established brands looking to relive the growth of these up-and-comers, it’s no secret where their next customer base can be found: on their phones. But as those precious micro-moments form the new battlegrounds for consumer engagement, what’s a traditional retail location to do? Go experiential, say Samsung and Staples, by opening massive spaces to provide not products, but productivity. Connectivity is certainly another name of the game – not just for the marketers seeking consumers in the digital space, but for the innovative product developers, always shooting for the Cloud. Then again, as Internet-of-Things leader Nest pulled one product’s (wireless) plug this week, some are left wondering: could this constant contact be too much of a good thing?

Lessons Learned

You know what’s never too much of a good thing? Big data. But for marketers, the real learning value is not in the number of tools in your information toolbox, it’s how you use them – that’s the true sign of digital maturity. It’s always said you can also learn from your mistakes, but we enjoy learning from others’: this week, HBR gives us a glimpse into one entrepreneur’s unsuccessful attempt to innovate a giant like The New York Times.

There was also a lot to glean from The Economist’s recent “Marketing Unbound” event, gathering the leaders of the industry pack to deliver sage insights on how to surf through today’s incessant waves of disruption. But if crowdsourcing expertise isn’t your thing, be sure to also check out the tête-à-tête with the CMO of Chili’s Grill & Bar, revealing how she keeps the tables from being overturned in the new era of conscious consumption.

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In the Vivaldi weekly roundup, you’ll find everything you need to keep up with what’s going down in the world of marketing. Sign up to have it delivered to your inbox every week.