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Marketing

Brand Intelligence: When small companies collide with the big boys

Last week I went to the Creative England Live 2016 event held at Google's London headquarters. There was a common theme that emerged throughout the day about how smaller companies and larger firms can work together.

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On the day, Karen Blackett OBE, chairwoman of MediaCom, gave a great speech about what happens when small and large businesses collide.

She said: “For any business to remain relevant and vibrant today it must innovate… to sustain growth, increase market share and deliver shareholder return. They need to… behave like a challenger brand.

“Customers change, competitors change, technology changes. If you do not do anything new, competitive products and services will catch up and overtake your products and services. Innovation is a matter of necessity.”

It is precisely in this area of innovation that she explains is where small and large companies should be looking at colliding.

When some companies become big they start taking a more conservative approach to innovation and tend to think what they are doing is okay without the need for improvement.

But the reality is these big businesses can suddenly find themselves being left behind if a challenger brand suddenly starts to provide a product and service that appeals to the masses.

For example, companies which were once start-ups such as Airbnb and Uber are now billion dollar businesses through being able to challenge the business models of the traditional hotel and taxi industries.

This is the type of scenario where big business can learn from the SMEs. Equally a partnership with a big company can help a SME through giving them access to new markets which they might not have had before or providing them with the financial might to develop new products which otherwise would not have been possible.

Blackett’s speech had lots of interesting points which both large and small can learn a lot from.

We live in a society that is constantly changing and if firms both large and small do not continue to innovate they may be left behind.

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