Stephen Denny, Author - Killing Giants

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One of the most obvious but overlooked things about the day we live in is this: We don’t live in a tech-based world, we live in a tech-integrated world. My guest on this episode, Stephen Denny points out that what is possible from a technological standpoint has outpaced what is comfortable. The thing holding us back now is us.

Stephen’s insight into what makes underdog brands able to become dominant in very crowded industries is revealing and will empower those willing to think through what he's discovered. Stephen is keenly attuned to the impact technology has had on our world and is eager to help brands step into this new, tech-integrated world in ways that are effective and innovative. I hope you’ll take the time to listen.

What defines a giant killer? Could you be one?

Back when Stephen wrote his seminal work, “Killing Giants” many companies were established behemoths in their industry. Others had burst on the scene, upstarts that changed the landscape of their industry. It was those brands that intrigued Stephen. What made them capable of rapidly taking market share from the established giants?

Giants in any industry are giants for a reason. They got where they are by doing things well. But they have a problem, a blind spot that appears. They become content with the way they do things and rest on their laurels. It’s a natural response because the way they do things is what created their success. But Stephen says that what got them there will not get them to a better place, the place that will keep them on top. That’s where the giant killers have learned to take advantage.

Changing the rules: seeing opportunity where none is apparent

One of the primary ways giant killers advance their brand in big-brand dominated markets is by constantly questioning what is being done. The company’s leadership is not content to do business as usual. They want to bring greater value to the end-user of their product or service and to do so in new ways.

A deeper look into the commonalities among giant killing companies is that they practice the art of focus extremely well. They pinpoint and drill into a very specific area within their industry where they are able to carve out a specialization, a niche within the niche, a particular skill or deliverable they become known for. It’s this focus that puts them on the map within their industry in ways the giant brands have never even considered.

So ask yourself, “Are there areas within my industry where my company can become a specialist?” Keep asking the question. Keep digging deeper. The insight you need to kill the giants in your industry will be found there.

The power of a “Facts, not Feeling” culture

Giant-killing companies are unique in yet another way: their culture stands apart from the stodgy corporate structures of their competitors. One of the hallmarks common among them is that they operate according to what Stephen calls “A facts, not feeling” culture.

This type of culture is based on a very simple premise: Evidence helps and emotion often detracts. Facts are what move a company forward. It’s also what allows decisions to be made in less time and with greater effectiveness. How do you create this kind of culture? Stephen outlines 6 simple decisions anyone can make:

  1. Decide to make decisions as a team. A wide swath of diverse perspectives is vital
  2. Decide to engage in vigorous, evidence-based debate
  3. Commit to making decisions based on what is discovered
  4. The entire team must then align with those decisions
  5. Everyone works together to execute behind the decision (no room for “I told you so”)

What’s possible has outrun what’s comfortable

Today, the average person walks the streets with the equivalent of a television and video production studio in their pockets. They are able to self-select the media and commercial influences they want... and that digital availability has become immersive. Next time you’re in a public place, just look around you for the proof. How many people are looking at or listening to their smartphone?

Stephen points out that what is possible from a technological standpoint is seemingly limitless. Brands that will rise to the forefront of the consumer scene in the future will embrace technology, learn to use the emerging patterns of consumption and preference exhibited by everyday people, and engage in the conversation with them - in ways they prefer.

Those that do will be the next giant killers. Those that don’t will die a long, slow death.

If you are with a consumer technology company planning to launch a new product at CES or are even looking ahead to CES 2019, the Max Borges Agency can help you succeed. To learn more, check out: www.maxborgesagency.com.

Topics Featured In This Episode

  • [1:20] Why Stephen Denny’s book is something I thought worthy of your attention
  • [6:55] How “Killing Giants” came about through public speaking and presentations
  • [11:20] What defines a giant killer?
  • [18:13] Taking the conversation in your market to a place where you know you can win
  • [27:22] Creating a “Facts not Feeling” culture - one that is evidence based
  • [36:52] Leading brands into the new era we’ve transitioned into
  • [46:51] Stephen’s advice to those uncertain what to do with their careers

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Stephen Denny

Connect With Max Borges

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