Friday, 5 September 2014

The Importance Of Being In Beta

While looking for an important document this morning, I found my little BlackBerry Curve buried under a few files inside a drawer.  I loved this little phone. This was my first smartphone, my entry into the world of nonstop access to Internet on the go!  

I remember a time when only senior management and other god like creatures had the power to posses this super efficient handheld device. Their emails, which they sent on the go, invariably let the receiver know their status in the corporate world, as a tag under the email would mention that the mail had been sent via a handheld BlackBerry. While some sneered, others envied.

I must admit I envied every BlackBerry enabled individual. The way their fingers glided over the Qwerty keypad, access to emails at all times and above all, the label that screamed that they had arrived in the corporate world – was a matter of aspiration for me.

As time went by, as certain as measles, chickenpox and common cold in childhood, a corporate BlackBerry happened to me. But pretty soon its magic wore off as around the same time, I acquired a first gen Android phone with a touch screen – the novelty of the time. 

Looking at this dead device on my table right now, I am thinking of all the iconic brands, people, companies that have fallen from the limelight only because they mistook their current success as eternal. Size or popularity no longer guarantees immortality. In every category, the rules are being rewritten everyday, not by the leaders but by the nimble and agile upstarts.

The only way a brand – be it a person or a product can hope to survive in today’s world is by being in Beta always. There is no running away from re-invention. It is a new value that everyone has to imbibe. Stability and conformity will only lead to one state of certainty - death. 

Before your brand is put in a little box of nostalgia that contains valuables such as Ambassador cars, typewriters and even a BlackBerry phone, it might be good idea to look around and see if you and your brand is ready to be in a state of perpetual beta. If not, then its time for a shake up. Time to change. 

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