Survival of the fittest is no cliché, but rules the light-speed world we live in today. While monolithic and gigantuan organizations and institutions are struggling along, some are finding that survival is about how brutal and honest you can be with pushing yourself towards progress and sustainability.
By many accounts, Uniqlo is an amazing business creature of Japan and increasingly worldwide. Its head, Tadashi Yanai, is a billionaire and much talked about business leader, frequently featured on television and in print. Uniqlo sells understated, wearable and classic clothes and accessories, suitable for most people who work, study, or play. Their clothes aren't leading fashion headlines, but they don't need to be. Their clothes fulfill a daily need for most of us, wearable clothes at decent prices. I own a few pieces of their clothes.
In the regional version of Time magazine recently, I read an article about the leadership practices of Yanai at Uniqlo. Yanai was also presented as one of the 100 most influential persons in the same magazine for 2013. His insights closely parallel what I believed all along (though not usually echoed by many others for a long time), that survival of the fittest is about embracing change, and the ability to put in hard work and play as a team.
Public relations (PR) has been a field that went through gradual changes, just as mainstream media has as well. However, PR is fast changing as traditional media becomes increasingly hard-pressed and even sidelined by the explosive growth of mobile phones, tablets, and online video.
For the most part of 2012, I was struggling to re-engineer our PR agency to be ahead of the small to mid-sized space, in terms of in-house capabilities. It wasn't easy, because online video, live web streaming, post-production, web and native app development, tend to be expertise areas outsourced by agencies to specialized production houses. I believe that these capabilities are necessary for a new wave of public relations and managing brand reputation, whether you are large, or small. Video and mobile are two areas that will rule the near future, sidelining traditional text-centric content.
I had the choice to remain status quo, and simply continued to do the same traditional PR as before, or take a quantum leap of faith and investment forward, to equip our agency with all the right expertise and equipment to help us, and especially our clients, in embracing the brave new world of video, live content, and mobile devices. If I remained status quo, 2013 and onwards would become more challenging for us. Would our agency die if we stuck to the old ways? Probably not, but we may limp along painfully. But eventually, our agency would have died from obsolescence.
So thankfully, my long and often painful exploration and research of online video production, live video streaming technologies, website and content management, search engine optimization (SEO) especially for quality content, web and mobile app development, finally paid off, and I can confidently advise, design, develop, analyze and refine these content areas (public relations, digital media, and training) for our clients, who will benefit from what the world demands today.
Likewise, Uniqlo is extremely successful because its head honcho Yanai believes that everyone must embrace change, or die. His work ethic may seem harsh to some, but hard work, discipline, and systems, are the classical and still relevant hallmarks of success for any business or person.
Relaxing on the couch is comforting, but it is never going to get one anywhere. One must step out, move about, move quickly, and move purposefully.