History shows that as most organisations age and grow they focus increasingly on internal matters, struggle to free themselves from legacy thinking and process, and gradually shift their priorities from reinventing to simply running the business. But energised, non-traditional competitors, with new business models powered by disruptive technologies, and are making reinvention and re-energising a vital priority.

So, how can your organisation and brand regain its energy? How can it develop its potential for growth, innovation, and thrive in the future? And how can it strike the balance between short-term deliverables and long-term investment? Experience shows that reenergising a business has financial, organisational, and cultural benefits that support each other.

Energy: the force behind future growth

Sustained value creation demands growth. In the short run, you can create value by optimising costs or products/services. But in the long run, value creation derives mainly from top-line growth, which accounts for over two-thirds of total shareholder return in FTSE100 companies over a 10-year period.

Even in today’s uncertain business climate, sustainable growth is still possible for traditional/non-tech businesses such as those in the built environment. Of course, what makes one company thrive tomorrow is different from what made it succeed yesterday. Relying too much on rear-view data can be deceptive; current performance isn’t predictive, and many established businesses remain vulnerable today despite their strength and length of past performance. Sudden collapses happen, and now more frequently than ever.

To survive, and ultimately thrive, businesses need to nurture, develop and build on their potential for reinvention and growth. They need to stay energised. There are three key building blocks to achieve this:

  • Constantly developing future ways to grow. This is the main way for a brand to stay energised, despite the age and size of the organisation behind it. You need to constantly review, renew and revitalise your corporate plan, encouraging an entrepreneurial attitude that leads to constant exploration – even while you’re capitalising on the benefits of a previous exploration.
  • Rethinking your strategy. Instead of focusing too narrowly on maximising short-term gain, successfully energised organisations focus on exploring longer-term goals. Future-focused strategic thinking has been proven time and again to lead to better growth over time.
  • Committing to building the right capabilities. Successfully energised organisations stay up-to-date with relevant emerging technologies. They also choose transformative, rather scale or cost-driven, mergers and acquisition when necessary. By absorbing smaller, faster-growing companies they stimulate growth and inject new capabilities into their brand.

Reinventing your business while running it

Energy alone isn’t enough for organisations to sustainably thrive and grow. You need to optimise current performance while building the potential for long-term growth. In other words, reinvent your business while you’re running it.

It’s not easy. Especially for large or mature organisations where the current business model dominates mindset, resources and talent. As organisations age, successful behaviours from the past tend to fossilise into fixed processes and rigid thinking. Decision-making can slow, aversion to risk can grow, and it can become difficult to attract and retain entrepreneurial talent. Also, organisations can become blinded by the pursuit of profit; exploration can look unattractive compared with the alluring financial metrics of an established business. The risks can look uncertain weighed against the possible returns. And investors can develop expectations of continued short-term cash returns, encouraging management to focus on optimising short-term financial wins over long-term investments – prioritising current performance over reenergised reinvention.

Three steps to boost your brand’s energy

Reenergising your brand, and the business behind it, is essential for established organisations that want to survive and thrive. Even when assessing short-term health, energised brands lead the way. From 2011 to 2016, the top 10% most energised organisations in the FTSE100 outperformed their peers by 5% per year in growth and 10% per year in investor return.

To become a more energised organisation, company leaders need to follow three steps:

1. Assess the current energy focus of your business.

  • Start with a clear understanding of how your organisation is doing today, looking from the outside in as well as the inside out.
  • Ask: does our strategy include exploration of long-term ideas? What is the growth potential of those future ideas? Are we developing leading capabilities in our industry? Are we prepared to challenge the beliefs and methodologies that made us successful in the past? Are we brave enough to hire new talent that makes our organisation more cognitively diverse?

2. Strengthen or renew your sources of energy.

  • Create a range of growth options for the short, medium and long-term. Be prepared for some of these to fail; people need to feel inspired and confident to explore these options.
  • Build and adapt your organisation’s capabilities. Companies are often good at dealing with traditional strategy and execution, which are still needed. But the uncertain of today’s business environment demands a more adaptive approach. You need a system that lets you seed, test, and scale new ideas quickly and iteratively.
  • Invest in technology. Your technological capabilities are more important than you may imagine. This is usually an organisation’s biggest weakness.
  • Maintain diversity. The diverse way your organisation is organised isn’t enough. And diversity of people’s backgrounds doesn’t guarantee innovation. It’s also necessary to encourage diversity of thought and open sharing of ideas.
  • Disrupt yourself before it happens. Research shows that only one third of organisations survive and thrive in the face of disruption. Survival depends on pre-empting the inevitable by creating a sense of urgency and a determination to self-disrupt before disrupted occurs.

3: Reinvent while running your business

  • Choose the right strategic approach for each part of your organisation. Mature businesses need to take a very different approach than emerging ones. Yours need to be built based on the specific business environment that each part of the organisation faces.
  • Allow for several strategic approaches. Be prepared to try different approaches to strategy and execution at the same time, in each part of your organisation. This way, you can continue to run your business well while simultaneously re-energising it.
  • Manage investor, member or stakeholder expectations. In response to pressure on the business towards short-term gain, the leadership team needs to prove how current performance is on track and the business case for future investment is sound. This buys time and permission to pursue re-energising strategies.

With so much uncertainty in the market, the need for greater brand energy is greater – and more valuable – than ever. By balancing efforts between current performance and future re-energising, organisations can do better than survive this year – they can thrive and grow sustainably.

To re-energise your brand and the business behind it, talk to the established brand agency that specialises in your sector. Ask about CMDi’s Brand Builder programme >

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