In brand marketing, PR and anything business, the time for decisive action is now

So that big political precipice has been moved. And fingers crossed it might now have less dragon-toothed rocks at the bottom when we finally face it. This week is much as to be expected in the business world, then. March’s end always brings new beginnings.

For 2019 that goes beyond the standard 6th April fresh tax year, of course. HMRC’s push to digitise the financial records of VAT-registered companies comes into effect imminently. Complaints about lack of clarity are widespread.

Someone, somewhere, has forgotten the first rule of life and commerce alike.

Indecisiveness in whatever form is an insidious force. But the situation is ten-fold when it comes to businesses— whether that’s HR or PR. Slowness and inefficiency have the power to kill off a company. As does a lack of innovation and failure to adapt. These negative habits make brands stumble-through, rather than hurdle-over obstacles, poor preparation resulting in rushed jobs as deadlines draw nearer.  

This isn’t just my belief, though. Last year Forbes ran an insightful piece on decisiveness that outlined the relationship between lack of definite action and sub-par performance. Unsurprisingly, the bigger the firm the worse it is at enacting meaningful change and moving with the times. Vast corporations have ways of being, trying to alter those requires a huge and often-costly overhaul.

It’s the market leader versus challenger brand hypothesis. Ad infinitum.

Marvel, now one of the most valuable entertainment names on the planet, is one example of a monolith that nearly collapsed due to indecision. As the paper comic book bubble burst in the early-1990s, its chiefs couldn’t work out what to do next. Years of loss ensued, until finally sights were set on film as the new core medium.

Nokia is another case in point. The former monarch of communications failed to gain early authority in the increasingly-important phone software market. It reacted after the ‘smart age’ dawned, straying between own-brand operating systems, ill-fated Windows mobile, and hinterlands between the two. Like the company’s dominance, the rest is history and no amount of good PR is going to change that in a hurry. 

Over the last two months we have seen where indecisiveness has taken the UK. To quote a recent cover of The Economist, Brexit— if I dare mention the word— is ‘the mother of all messes’. The New York Times’ analysis from earlier this month is even more revealing: a parliament ‘at odds with itself’, unable to move because it can’t decide which direction to move in.

Smoking Gun’s Blagger’s Blog, our summary of media and marketing news and talking points published each Friday, gave more food for thought just last week. A former-Next employee was asked by the Liverpool Echo how to get the best from the retailer’s legendary sales, which often resemble a mass brawl.

 

“Try and have a rough idea of what you want,”
And that’s the point.

 

For the UK, it’s a PR fail of cataclysmic proportions, and one we could be feeling the fallout from for decades in terms of business confidence. If we’re coming away with anything— from a decent economic future, to business growth or a bargain sweatshirt— we must start with an idea of what that future, growth or sweatshirt looks like. Then we need to take clear and direct action, keeping everyone on the team informed, to pull off the plan. Fail on that and face tumultuous consequences.

 

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