How can YOU be a game changer? Do you wish to change the status quo in your industry? A game changer is someone who challenges the status quo and wins. They change the game by creating a new market structure. Allow me to show you how to do it. The risks are high, but the rewards are HUGE!
In business, the status quo is defined by how business is conducted in an industry segment…a grouping of similar businesses like convenience stores for example. Infrastructures within each industry segment rely on the status quo. They’re based on it. Businesses implement and utilize these infrastructures for their day-to-day dealings. How can you possibly change something like this? The status quo can be deeply ingrained in an industry. Millions and sometimes billions of dollars are invested in the infrastructure that’s based on the status quo.
Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp challenged the status quo and won back in 2009. They each became a game changer after creating the Uber app.
In the taxi cab market structure, cabs are hailed with a waive or summoned with a phone call. Then, taxi drivers get paid at the destination. Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp challenged this entire structure successfully, with Uber. Using a simple app, you can drive for Uber or get a ride from an Uber driver and it’s all handled online. Location-tracking, payments, safety, and ratings are all dealt with in this online app.
Compete with the status quo
The object here is to compete with the status quo instead of your competition. When you compete with them, you must convince your customers to pick you over your them. Unfortunately, many customers choose to not make a purchase at all. They may decide to just keep things how they are. It’s an expense, an inconvenience, and they have other priorities. They’re inadvertently waiting for a game changer.
Be a game changer by presenting a new and exciting way to do business in your industry. Provide convenience or value in the market structure rather than with a special product. Your competitors can quickly imitate hot new products but, they will be blind-sided by changes in the status quo. Their infrastructure is based on current market structure…the status quo. Be a game changer and make them trip!
Amazon’s game changer
A game changer will open up a new paradigm for the public to explore. Using the internet, Jeff Bezos created the largest book vendor in the world. It’s completely online. Jeff Bezos is Amazon’s game changer. Utilize the internet, but don’t try to make that your game changer tactic. Many internet infrastructures are now based on this new status quo…wink, wink. Just remember, people resist change, so your plan needs to make your customers instantly react with “wow, what a great way get that!”
Paradigm shifting triggers
Be a game changer by providing an idea that causes an epiphany in your customer. An epiphany is an instant awareness which changes the way you see things. It changes your perspective. Instant clarity! Causing an epiphany in someone is very difficult, which is why attempting to be a game changer and change the status quo can be risky. But there are triggers to explore to help make it happen.
1. Emotional triggers
Tap into the emotion which has the strongest hold on your customer and reverse it. Having a product that will make them happy is not enough. The fear of change is usually a stronger emotion and that will prevent them from embracing your concept. Be a game changer by creatively showing your target audience how revolutionary and evident you idea is first. It must be obvious and straightforward to them. Portray the happiness or relief they will gain from it, next. Done effectively, this can have a viral effect and allow you to become a game changer!
What are the emotional connections of your target audience to their status quo? Research this with a carefully crafted focus group by presenting them with an example of the existing market structure…have them go through the motions of conducting business in your industry. Record their behaviors and feelings. Then, present a concept that makes it more difficult, and record the same data. This will provide you with emotional indicators to tackle.
The status quo is comfortable
Realize that the status quo is comfortable for most people in your target audience. Even if the market structure has disadvantages that cause discomfort. There will be an emotional attachment to the way they are used to doing things. That is the greatest challenge here.
To capture your customer’s attention, present a problem with the current status quo in a way that creates a feeling of dismay. Then display a nice, simple solution. This is another example of how you can use focus groups. Test reactions and calibrate your idea and your presentation of it until you start to see those epiphanies occur.
2. Logical triggers
Show your customers why plan B is better than plan A by demonstrating the advantage of the market structure rather than the product. With Uber, the product is common. Pay for a ride from here to there. There is an appeal to how Uber is structured, and that causes the change in perception. Start thinking like a game changer.
The value proposition
What customer experience does your target audience expect? How can you propose a way to beat it? Reveal your concept in a way that shows the advantages and benefits. Show the differentiation, and then the proof of concept. Have a well crafted positioning statement prepared, and include a tagline with it.
I recently delivered some good insight on how to craft your positioning statement and your tagline. I also revealed the differences. Read Effective Marketing Strategies to see this detailed insight for yourself!
When you come up with a better way of doing something in an industry, present the pros and cons in a simple way. Your target audience must understand it quickly. Make it sound logical. Reveal the effectiveness of your solution. Be the game changer with the simplest approach.
3. Social triggers
Influence, in the social sense, makes a difference when setting out to be a game changer. It affects the opinions, behaviors and also the emotions of your target audience. Social influence is used in marketing and sales as it causes conformity and it persuades. As a game changer, you must cause your customers to internalize your concept. That is when they develop a belief in your idea. There are many types of social influence you may utilize as a game changer. I’ll present two of them:
- Minority influence rarely occurs due to indifference by the majority. A minority or individual must influence the majority to accept their behavior by presenting a proof of concept. This is where innovation comes from.
- Majority influence is the conformity to the behaviors of others in that majority
Priming, which is a short-term subconscious idea implant, can be effective in the advertising of your concept. Once you know what type of epiphany you wish to cause as a game changer, use wording in a strategic manor. Cause your target audience to realize a thought process ahead of time by using words that implant that thought process. Then, when you convey the new way of thinking, they understand it quickly…the epiphany! Examples of priming are:
- Semantic priming is the presentation of related meanings which affect later thoughts…”shoe” primes the mind for “foot”
- Associative priming offers a link to your concept. A cue association. For instance, “key” is associated with “lock”
- Repetition priming is when an idea is repeated to influence future thinking. Example…”Think of an egg…realize you’re afraid and don’t wish to cross the road…what are you?” I probably don’t need to provide the answer to this one: A chicken
Celebrity endorsement is another social trigger you may utilize as a game changer. It delivers impact. When a famous person is somehow associated with your industry and they endorse your concept, the rewards are huge.
Previous thought processes typically shape your future outlook. The way your demographic acts in the present and how they will act in the future is based on their legacy thinking. Moving forward, in reverse. They are facing the past as they travel into the future. This is because it feels safer to know how they did it previously. It takes something personal to change this mentality. Be a game changer by shaping the future outlook of your demographic.
Tragedy is a more extreme example of how personal experience causes changes in thinking. If you’re diagnosed with type-two diabetes for instance, dietary and physical activity changes occur immediately. Unfortunately, that’s what it usually takes for someone to go on a permanent healthy diet and exercise routine. A game changer may find a way to invoke this solid change in thinking using a tragic display vs. a tragic event. A game changer knows that prior to the type-two diagnosis, most of those who were diagnosed already knew about the importance of good diet and exercise. They simply didn’t fear the consequences yet.
When resistance to change occurs, spend time doing some introspection to get to it’s root-cause. Examine the mental state that causes this resistance to change. Then, you can devise a viable solution and be a game changer.
Provide an affirmation of the legacy thinking. Reveal why there is value to it. Call the valuable legacy thinking “timeless laws”, and then show how your concept complements those laws. When legacy thinkers can identify with your concept through this approach, change will become desired.
Status quo within your organization
Being a game changer within your organization can be difficult for many of the same reasons. Employees are used to the way they’ve always done things. Sales staff are set in their ways regarding their approach to selling. Marketing may have a set of proven recipes for successfully promoting products and services. Utilize the game changer approach here internally as well.
Get your staff excited
Your staff may state “I don’t believe that will work and we shouldn’t take a risk.” Keep your staff excited about your concept. Be a motivational speaker for your company! Your staff will be more responsive to you and your customers. When your target audience gets the feeling that you and your staff are excited about your idea, that excitement can spill over…especially when it’s consistent across all points of contact with your company…cross-channel customer experience.
When your organization debates the risks of the new strategy…the paradigm shift, also debate the risks of not changing. Discuss the possibility of your company becoming irrelevant in the future if changes don’t occur. Be a game changer who reveals the reality.
Change the status quo, not the action plan
Inside the workings of a company, there are two concepts for changing. Changes in the status quo, and changes in the action plan. Unfortunately, the important changes, those regarding the status quo, are very difficult to make. Just as unfortunate is the fact that action-plans change easily, and that must be resisted. In my article Business Ownership – Cons Before Pros, I speak about need to avoid action-plan spin-out:
“Sometimes you will find a better solution, or you may realize a better plan, so use a formal process to test your new idea and then formally amend your existing plan. Plan changes should be the exception…changes must be resisted. Avoid plan-execution-spin-out, which is my fancy term for loosing sight…loosing your focus…being distracted by new ideas. Keep your eye on the ball! You’ve done your due-diligence already, so trust it, and stay focused.”
“Follow your plans and strategies daily, and be strict about it. The business with the best plan will always lose when they suffer from plan-execution-spin-out.”
On the surface, this may seem contradictory but it isn’t. Once you’ve developed a plan to change the status quo, based on all of the due-diligence you’ve put forth, resist changing your action-plan and stay focused.
Historic examples of game changer accomplishments
As mentioned earlier, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp challenged the status quo and won back in 2009. Now I’ll list some other examples of those who’ve become a game changer. I’ll provide some historical details about them.
Ford Motor Company
Founded in 1903 by the game changer Henry Ford, Ford Motor Company revolutionized the manufacturing process. He established “assembly line production” in 1913 after realizing that building cars one at a time was too expensive. That approach only catered to the rich. This change in the status quo was one of the largest in history. Although it is now largely automated, assembly line production hasn’t changed in concept and is used by almost all companies around the world.
Founder Ray Krock, a game changer in his own right, was quoted “I put the hamburger on the assembly line.” Like with Henry Ford’s Model-T, Ray Krock produced a consistent, inexpensive hamburger that customers could receive very quickly. He then replicated his business model nationally, and then globally. Even today, McDonald’s is the largest global fast food chain.
Now the largest Internet-based retailer in the United States, Amazon humbly started with an idea to change the status quo in retail. Founded in 1994 by the game changer Jeff Bezos in his garage in Bellevue, Washington, Amazon started by selling books at a low price-point. It got it’s name from the Amazon River which is the largest river in the world. As Jeff Bezos put it, the Amazon is an exotic and different place. Amazon quickly diversified. They always stay ahead of their competition by having an infrastructure based on the new paradigm they established from the beginning.
Starbucks, founded in 1971 by Jeffy Baldwin, Zey Siegl, and Gordon Bowker, each of whom are considered to be a game changer, is the largest coffeehouse company in the world. The founders were enticed by the idea of selling high quality coffee beans and equipment. They were inspired by coffee roaster Alfre Peet, who taught them how to do it. After selling the company to their employee, Howard Schultz, Starbucks expanded outside of Seattle and grew very quickly.
They continued to change the status quo by incorporating a mobile app which now accounts for over 10% of their in-store purchases. Then “Tweet-a-Coffee” put them on Twitter. Impressive agility with market structure indeed!
Best for last
Ideas from a discussion in SUCCEED
I recently started a discussion in a LinkedIN group called SUCCEED where a diverse variety of entrepreneurs have provided some good insight into being a game changer and challenging the status quo.
The risks are high, but the rewards of affecting or changing the market structure in an industry would be huge, right? Game changing! What are some examples of companies that have done this?
Thank you Emily Israel for choosing this discussion as your “Manager’s Choice” and for featuring it.
Please check it out. There are some good ideas in this discussion from other members of SUCCEED, Powered by Staples!
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Game Changer – Changing the Status Quo
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