The ability to adapt and innovate is part and parcel of life for all businesses looking for success and longevity, especially in a rapidly changing and complex world that we live in today, otherwise known as a VUCA environment.
The term VUCA, which stands for ‘volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity’ originated in the US military. It was quickly adopted by the business world due to having similar characteristics with businesses needing to cope with rapid change and uncertainty.
In recent years we have seen traditional methods of marketing become redundant and overshadowed by the digital age. Whilst the digital age has enabled businesses to evolve at a faster rate, it has also disrupted basic commercial principles. For long periods of time, businesses have been able to succeed within a VUCA environment. This is changing rapidly.
The way in which we as marketers serve, promote and communicate with our target audiences has drastically changed over the years. With no signs of a decrease in pace on the horizon, now more than ever, marketers must be able to adapt and be agile to an ever changing environment.
So how do marketers remain alert to uncertainty and ambiguity?
Effectively, it all starts with adopting the values of “what if” or “why not” which will encourage the type of culture required to become an agile marketer. For businesses it is essential that you promote the correct behaviours and reward creative work. In order to kick start this creative thinking, the tone must be set by senior management who must act as role models as they sell their new ideas to other departments within their respective businesses.
Once these values are ingrained within top level management, a company is therefore responsible for making sure that these values are instilled in all levels of the workforce. It starts during the recruitment process, by only accepting candidates that show creative signs and can adapt to different environments. It also means investing in your existing workforce and empowering them through recognition of their achievements.
Successful marketing ultimately derives from a firms’ ability to be flexible and bold. It involves taking into consideration new ideas that come from all levels within your business and being brave in trying them out.
It also means that business and marketing plans need to flexible and regularly revised. Companies that adopt these values will thrive in a VUCA environment.