Blame the internet for the Great Divide: 1995 marked the before and after of how brands and consumers exchange information, communicate and interact. It turned the broadcast model into a two-way conversation with community second opinions, put us in control and smashed age-old business savvy in favour of digital-first experiences. It ended the monopoly of communication that big brands had, and gave ‘power to the people’ - for a while at least.
Everybody became a publisher; everyone became a brand. It turned people into businesses, increased the leverage we as consumers had over the system, turned employees into experts and ambassadors, increased operational efficiencies and delivered new disruptive business models.
And it hasn’t stopped. According to Forbes, 52% of Fortune 500 companies went bankrupt, were acquired, ceased to exist or dropped off the list due to digital disruption since the millennium. Change is always violent, and the question is about where you find yourself when it hits.
So now when I help businesses to successfully apply digital transformation to retail and thrive in today’s digital-first marketplace, I always remember the ongoing shifts of power between the broadcast and the audience, which are in a permanent state of fluidity. Who holds the power, this time?