In comparing and contrasting three articles from this course, I chose three that go to the crux of the business development cycle. Business in general, is a process of evolution and constant adaptations. Great ideas can become mundane and ordinary in just a few short years if not carefully nurtured. Companies that fail to recognize this can only survive when the market is “hot” and slowly lose traction when the “hot zones” shift to other sectors. Three articles that we have read “Sometimes You Get It, Sometimes You Don’t,” “Adidas Enters a Three Legged Race,” and “Getting Into the Groove at ” all touch upon this common theme, therefore I will perform my compare and contrast on these three articles.
The essential similarity between these three stories is that it teaches the lesson of evolutionary business. All business is transient, this implies that technology and company branding can never be “revolutionary” or “original” forever, and therefore companies must constantly re-strategize their product in order to stay competitive in the long run. These three articles all explain the same concept. For Adidas, the problem is that while it is the second largest sports apparel and Shoe Company in the world, its lackluster branding in the past has allowed it to carefully slip within key markets. Whereas Nike and Reebok were successful in recognizing how to brand themselves in popular sports in the United States, Adidas did not take full advantage of that market and now they have a marginal percentage of the U.S. shoe market. In this article, their three pronged strategy is to divide their company’s focus to streamline the production cycle and therefore individually attack key markets that they have limited penetration in. By doing this, they can re-position themselves within the domestic market and attempt to re-define themselves to sell to a greater target base. What CEO Hainer has done is re-evaluated his company’s overall strategy, realized that with changing times requires a different strategy to target consumers. As a result, this three divisional split was made with the intention of refocusing their brand and thus revitalize their sales. In effect, evolution pushed Adidas to change their marketing and production strategy in order to keep up with competition. Similarly, Hard Rock Cafe went through the evolutionary process. Although it is the premier powerhouse within the themed restraint and hotel industry, Hard Rock could not bank on its traditional branding and entertainment techniques to continue to win over its customers. This is because as time goes on, the attraction that their classical style had lost its luster with the younger generations. Therefore, they are trying to re-brand themselves within the digital age to appeal to a greater number of audiences and attract new fans. Just like Adidas, they must evolve in its business strategy in order to adjust to the greater changes within the market. The final article “Sometimes You Get It, Sometimes You Don’t” nicely sums up the lesson that the above articles subtly dictated by providing a plethora of examples of how this was true. Its explanation of the internet search engine boom and the audacity of many of its CEOs show that those CEOs who lacked the vision to constantly change their business practice and model were eventually thrown out of their jobs. The lesson that all three of these articles exhibited is that without a solid vision and understanding of the society and times that a business operates in, long-term success is impossible. Therefore it is important for businesses to structure themselves for evolutionary change and to constantly revitalize themselves with the advent of new cultural changes and technology changes.
Despites these similarities, the business approach for these articles are significantly different. The Adidas article for instance highlights the importance of division and decentralization within companies. Its success came by decreasing the integration between its brand products and splitting it into sellable chunks that can operate on an independent level. It is precisely because the company decentralized its controlling brands into less bulky packages that the CEO could streamline their production process and achieve greater results. However, the Hard Rock Cafe article showed exactly the opposite business strategy. Whereas traditionally all Hard Rock Cafe’s and Hotels provided their own entertainment, the new strategy that Hard Rock is attempting to create will link many of these operations together through the internet and digital feeds. They argue that this will allow customers from local venues to experience the that Hard Rock is known for. They in effect believe that greater integration of its basic operations is the key to success. This is a sound and logical strategy, because the importance of providing “big time entertainment” in local venues is a very appealing and proven method for getting more customers. Hard Rock’s consolidation strategy allows them to go to the heart of its problem, which is to revitalize its company and turn it into a more modern appeal rather than its traditional emphasis on classical rock music. Finally, the third article looks at the bigger picture by looking at the reasons many different companies across a spectrum failed and the inevitable changing of leadership when this occurs. This article articulates the danger of not having one solid vision, which is to say that sometimes companies just take the wrong approach to their market or “back the wrong horse” which inevitably causes them to lose revenue. The lesson that these three articles teaches me is that there are many different ways to achieve the similar goal of creating an evolutionary business. The solution is never a one-fit-all type of scenario. It is necessary to apply different strategies to different industries rather than attempt to stubbornly stick with the same strategy across different industries. Adidas and Hard Rock have both used evolutionary business procedure to their advantage, but applied it in completely the opposite manner, which once again shows how flexible and different businesses can be.
Applied to this course, what I have learned through these articles is that business is much like a living organism, there are many different methods to achieve similar goals, but the overall health of the business requires constant maintenance and application of evolutionary practices. The key to having a successful practice is to have the vision to understand and prepare for both times of bounty and frugality. For companies that do not do this, such as pseudo.com cited in one of the articles, the company inevitably fails. Therefore to understand business management is to not only look at case studies attempt to find out what makes a particular business successful, but extract the overall themes of what makes all successful businesses cutting edge. The implicit lesson from all of these articles is that business is about vision and having great vision is about being able to break down a company into many different parts and recognize how to put it together to streamline its production cycle, supply-chain, and overall branding strategy.
On a personal level I learned from these articles that corporate strategies are shaped by the particular business, rather than strategies shaping business. The essential difference between these two interpretations was something that I have never really thought about until case studies across these three different articles. Business, as a living organism grows and matures, it never stays stagnant and nor does the market that it operates in. Therefore, I must treat business like any evolutionary science, to observe what changes need to be made to shape business to the cultural, social and political policies of the modern era rather than keep analyzing them based on their past laurels.