The Wiggly Darwin Theory

Company strategies to wiggle their way into the hearts of their consumer
Photo Credits: Joseph Szabo, photographed in 1978
March 21, 2024
Ahhh the beginning of creation. The spark and chemistry, the pull that brings two perfect strangers together in perfect union. What explains that magic? The same could be asked about a company’s quest to bring a product or service to life, and how it will successfully reach its intended consumer. In other words, when it comes to a sale, how well is a company sending its seed to mate with its target audience?

(Please do excuse my risqué but hopefully not too indelicate analogy here)

Let’s first get a glimpse of the overall picture.

There isn’t an industry today that isn’t affected by fierce competition, over-saturation and ongoing change. It’s not only a moment of big winners and big losers, but one in which big winners don’t even have a moment to sit smugly. What may work or be relevant today might not tomorrow. And what was thought true yesterday can and will be debunked in an instant. It’s a challenging, but more-so, overwhelming time like no other. For companies to survive, they must be continually outperforming not only the current, but the imminently new, competition. Perpetual innovation, relentless speed, and agonizing anticipation have become survival modes.

Most industries—food, fashion, entertainment, technology, art, hospitality, design and automobile—are all predicated on this perpetual dynamic of change, of constant renewal, of fresh blood. And yes, these changes can be invigorating. They can reset our eye. They can not only shift our reality, but us, forcing us to adapt and transform into more conscious, resilient and adaptive beings.

But as invigorating as it can be, company leaders must have a razor-sharp vision and goal, and be wiggly in their approach. This means being malleable, intuitive, and knowing when to swim with or against the flow. They must fully recognize the strengths and weaknesses of their company’s DNA. And they must coordinate both—dynamically and flexibly, allowing their team’s creative minds the freedom to expand, explore and execute their ideas, while still maintaining enough control to reach their precious target.

So, Tenacious Ones, this is where Darwin’s Theory turns WIGGLY. It’s no longer survival of the fittest, but survival of the WIGGLIEST.

The business environment today feels to me more copy-cat or pressure-cooked than it does value- and intuition-driven. Those who reach “consummation” are those who get real close to their customer. It’s those who get deep inside not only the head, but mainly the heart of their customer through romantic foreplay. What and how do I mean?

Well for starters, playing it too safe or “by the book” most likely won’t work. Like any interaction between two potential lovers, there needs to be a consensual and authentic connection. But there also needs to be a feeling of familiarity and identity—a strangely coincidental sense of understanding and commonality. So yes, strikingly “new” and “different” is exciting, but what we all truly want is to feel at home, with every product and service we experience.

Lately it feels as if companies are taking too many risks and striving too much for innovation. To a degree, yes, “new” or “redefined” is necessary but it shouldn’t mean abruptly abandoning tradition, traditional values or a company’s DNA. Why would they want to give up what originally drew their audience to them in the first place? Connection to that original essence might just be the conjugal factor.

Since freedom from tradition seems to be a trend then I propose a freedom from traditional rules without compromising traditional values. And I propose a bit of retrospection over anticipation, a bit of empathy over radical change. Anniversaries and revivals have become a common theme and are persisting. Because the past is sentimental, comforting. There, deep within our memory lies a world of deep sentiments that can easily and excitingly be awakened through our senses and thus our hearts. Which is why people want to be connected to a company.

To navigate the changes of our times, a company has to play with its customer’s memory. An experience offered can recall a certain sense from a customer’s past, or an endearing tradition. And this will play into their current perception of that product or service.

A company leader must then persist further. They must also be able to empathize with the world of tomorrow. They must penetrate their customers’ hearts and understand how their customers live and think and, most of all, feel.

Ultimately, the CEO winners of today are those who venture into uncharted territories with their teams while holding onto their “DNA” or inherent value and character, who can navigate the fluid times and who can wiggle their way into the memories and hearts of their customers, making a sentimental empathetic connection.

…. In other words, survival of the wiggliest.

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