This Week in Business and Brands: Risk, Rock, Rollbacks and More

spacex rocket leaving earth's atmosphere

Big Story of the Week: Risk and Reward with Elon Musk

Satellite, Orbit, Spacex, Aeronautics, Nasa, Space

When you’re always “going where no man has gone before,” where do you go next?  For Elon Musk, some fear the only answer is “down.”  Whether he’s harnessing the power of the sun in Solar City, taking the electric car to the streets with Tesla, or shooting for beyond the moon with SpaceX, Musk has certainly already faced the possibility of total failure, many times over.  And while any one of his ambitious endeavors alone could prove too much for one man, his only seem to beget more and more futuristic projects (see: the Hyperloop).  But as he adds more to his plate, some cynics/pragmatists are starting to see further investment in Musk’s enterprises as nothing more than a bad bet with a good charlatan.  Then again, if he succeeds, he’ll only be securing the future of the entire human race by colonizing Mars…so we’re thinking we’ll take those odds.

Getting It Right: Thinking Outside the (Big) Box

In a big move to “roll back” its traditional storefronts, retailer giant Walmart is preparing to make a huge investment in e-commerce – to the tune of $11 billion, no less.  After enduring some lackluster returns in recent years, the mega-chain will be pivoting from brick-and-mortar to online marketplace, meeting modern customers where they actually do the bulk of their shopping.  In CEO Doug McMillan’s words, “I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say we are going through a transformative period.”  Sounds about right, considering the brand will open only half as many supercenters as it did last year, instead sending its capital into improved technology and customer service.  Meanwhile, competitor Target is aiming for a different tactic, poised to open even more storefronts (albeit smaller versions of their superstores) in urban locations across the country.  Only time will tell which move is a step in the right direction and which is simply missing the mark…

Going Digital: Not Just for B2C Anymore

While transforming a long-established business from the analog to the digital is no easy feat, it’s now become an absolute necessity for brands looking to keep up with the competition.  And while the evolution has been mostly embraced by B2C industries, the B2B sector is now starting to catch up with its own digital metamorphosis.  Those companies taking the plunge earlier than others are reaping big benefits, through a number of ways: digitizing at the strategic level; creating consistent experiences for both on- and offline audiences; harnessing big data for their sales forces; and much more.  Check out McKinsey’s latest report above to learn what your B2B firm can start doing now – before getting outpaced by the rest of the pack.

Lessons in Leadership: Turning Brand Loyalty Inside-Out

This week also gave us an abject lesson in business strategy from the top down by turning brand affection and enthusiasm inside-out.  From Vivaldi’s own alum Enshalla Anderson, we’re reminded: “Successful brands must treat employees like customers – understanding their needs and wants and inspiring employees to make a conscious choice every day to be part of the team.”  Looking at the success of the massive Hard Rock enterprise, it’s easy to see these tactics at play – from “creating an active culture” to “being the bait” and cultivating an alluring workplace, the natural effect of internal support and compassion can’t help but make its way right to the external customer.  When it comes to creating that genuine impact, it seems the old mantra still holds true: “Change comes from within.”

Video Victory: Delighting with Diversity

That’s all for this week!  We’ll leave you with this look at the campaigns from the big winners of the ANA Multicultural Awards, who found creative ways to connect with audiences of all kinds in an effort to celebrate heritages across the world.  Enjoy, and have a great weekend!