Guest

How to Stay Relevant In an Accelerated World

By: Guest | April 3, 2012 | 
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Today’s guest post is written by Steve Kaplan.

As I motor around today’s social media and mobile outlets, I’m both encouraged and discouraged by what I see.

I’m encouraged by the number of people who have found a way to become, and remain, relevant while building a solid credential behind their personal brand.

I’m discouraged because, while more and more people are actively building their brands, the overall percentage is alarmingly low.

Keeping your brand (you) relevant is the same challenge faced by companies as they seek to keep their brands relevant in an ever changing and accelerated world.

I’ve spent a large part of my career working with new products for large companies such as Procter & Gamble and Hershey’s. Along the way, I’ve often wondered why very few people engage in new product development for their personal brands.

Why don’t people actively work to reinvent themselves for the (marketplace) world in which they live? Why do some brands have the ability to change with the times and remain relevant while others simply fade away?

The answer is pretty simple. Some brands make it an ongoing priority to redefine who they are and what they do, while others are too focused on the bottom line or other short-term priorities to care.

Those brands still here after decades are the ones who understand what their customers want, have a concept of the world around them, assess their products’ place in the world, and evolve or create new products to meet the assessment.

In other words, they stay relevant.

Remember Blockbuster and Netflix? Blockbuster lost sight of what the marketplace was doing, partially because they were tied up in real estate with their stores and couldn’t fathom people not showing up at their doors. By the time they embraced the online purchasing frenzy, Netflix was annihilating them, with others soon to follow.

The Blockbuster brand image was that of an old brand behind the times, tarnished almost beyond repair. While they have somewhat clawed back, it came at a heavy price, and in no way are they back to where they were before the switch to online rentals. Perhaps if they would have made staying relevant a priority, they might have seen things coming a little sooner and been able to salvage more of their brand image.

A ‘staying relevant’ rule of thumb here for everyone is this: If you are truly relevant five years from now you will not be doing the things you are doing today in the same way you are doing them today.

The lesson for us all is to remember to not rest on our laurels, to always remain focused on the world around us, and to remain relevant. As for those of you not building your brand, I offer one piece of advice:

Get in the game.

How are you working to stay relevant in an accelerated world?

Steve Kaplan helps businesses and individuals achieve success by writing about his experiences, speaking around the world, and consulting. He’s a two-time New York Times bestselling author and co-producer of the Broadway musical Leap of Faith, opening in April 2012. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and visit  his website.

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