The greatest businesses and brands are the ones most willing to let go “what was” and “what is” so as to embrace “what will be.”
And the reason for this is simple: We don’t like to fix what’s not broken…until it’s actually broken.
But occasionally, when you have visionary leaders of organizations, brands are willing to evolve before the “break” actually occurs—even if it hurts their bottom line today (or in the near future)—in order to stay ahead of the marketplace and be prepared for what’s next. Case in point, let’s look at the example of GM.
In case you haven’t heard, GM just invested half a billion dollars in Lyft, the fastest growing rideshare company in the US. Essentially, the key elements/benefits of this alliance have been listed as:
- Autonomous On-Demand Network:The joint development of a network of on-demand autonomous vehicles will leverage GM’s deep knowledge of autonomous technology and Lyft’s capabilities in providing a broad choice of ride-sharing services.
- Rental Hub:Beginning immediately, GM will become a preferred provider of short-term use vehicles to Lyft drivers through rental hubs in various cities in the U.S.
- Connectivity: Lyft drivers and customers will have access to GM’s wide portfolio of cars and OnStar services, leveraging two decades of experience in connectivity. This will create a richer ride-sharing experience for both driver and passenger.
- Joint Mobility Offerings: GM and Lyft will also provide each other’s customers with personalized mobility services and experiences through their respective channels.
If one looks at ridesharing (which means a future where dramatically fewer people actually “own” a car and instead have “access” to a car) the resulting impact for manufacturers likely means less annual units produced and sold. Sure, there is debate about just how much this will impact the total production of new vehicles each year, but no one knows the exact numbers nor likely will for years to come.
But this much I do know—as ridesharing grows, certain vendors are going to resist its realities.
They will focus their sales and marketing efforts on the idea of “there is nothing like owning your own car.”
They will hold on to the past as strongly as they can.
But then there will be another group—folks like GM—that will say, “This change is coming. It’s inevitable. So we can embrace what’s happening in the marketplace or we can get left behind.”
GM’s move with Lyft, although it might “cannibalize” their business in some ways today (or in the near future), will open up multiple other business doors and opportunities tomorrow.
It’s the essence of smart change and brand evolution.
And it’s an example we should all follow.