Reality Television and lessons for a Marketer

If you have not spent the last decade or so hidden under a rock or in a cave , then in that case at some point in time you would have come across the phenomenon called reality television , Which takes the concept of content and programming or the lack of it to a new level all together. Why is it bothering me , u ask ? It presents a very curious case . Let me elaborate .

At the last count on any major network their were atleast 4-5 reality shows if not more . Lets multiply this across channels , so we have some 20 odd major shows happening every year . And every show has a winner , so 20 new people joining various streams . Have you ever bothered to check on what happens to them after a few years ? Its only a few who do well and make something of their success , rest unfortunately are lost in folds of time , living a obscure life . Hmmmm … so is this a discussion on programming or fate ? Hell no .. I am a marketer and will always be . So I present to you , what I think is the most precious lesson from all of this – Sustained Innovation.

What kills a good product or a company ? Sometimes the inability to change with times , and adapt according to the customer trends and moods is what causes is what kills a titan . I would like to take the most famous example here . When the mobile phone revolution started in India , almost everyone at some point in time bought a Nokia phone or two . They were good , sturdy , had a great battery life , even had a very basic game loaded on it . And for years we thought , life cant get any better than this. And around this time came a few other players like Motorola and Samsung. But nothing as big as Nokia . A lot of people aspired to own a communicator , and despite the fact that it was very clunky and heavy and you could not fit one in a pocket . But sometime down the line things started to change , although Blackberry was not a real challenger , a lot of serious business customers moved .

The biggest challenger for the Handset marketplace and Nokia in Particular came in the form of Iphone in 2010. After that the journey was a slippery slope for the Finnish major . An outdated OS , redundant designs and a reluctance to change with the times . Cut to 2015 , Microsoft Just declared Nokia to be a 7 billion dollar write off . Ouch , that surely hurts . what simply happened was that Nokia took too long a time to change with the times , and fell of the wagon . Its too late for them to even play catch up now with the industry , until unless they absolutely reinvent themselves.

Every product needs a sustainable value proposition . Lets take another example . In mobility device space, lets see what’s happening to Tablets . We see one being launched every few weeks , unfortunately with very little value apart from maybe price , which is unsustainable in the long run . So what happens after a few months , the principal and the distributor are left with a lot of unsold inventory , which causes liquidation at loss situation .

Although all is not lost . Some companies have not only adapted successfully , but have also brought tremendous value to the share holders too. Lets take a look at one of my favorites , Apple has done more than reinvent itself; you could say it reinvented the “reinvention” business . Legendary CEO Steve Jobs didn’t invent any of the machines that made Apple a household name, but he and his design team made them infinitely better. Apple didn’t invent the personal computer, but the intuitive icon-based interface on the original Apple Macintosh blew the doors off the existing DOS-based home PCs . Apple didn’t invent all-in-one PCs or lightweight laptops, but it did introduce its own models with such style and user-centered design that no one remembers the awkward clunkers that came first.

Apple’s greatest reinventions came when it turned its attention away from computers and toward hand-held devices. Again, the iPod and iPhone were not the first MP3 player or smartphone, but their Zen-like design and advanced touchscreen technology revolutionized the gadget industry. With the iPad, Apple combined all of its recent reinventions — touchscreens, lightweight design, plus incredibly powerful processors and batteries — to breathe life back into the tablet, a gadget sector that was pronounced dead back in the 1990s . Apple’s next reinvention remains to be seen.

So well , wake up and think what you can do better , how fast can you get it to the market and also is this really what the market needs . And while you are at it , let me get back to my Television and vote for the next reality TV star .


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