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The “Red Thread” in Digital Retailing

Ardent Learning
Feb 9, 2021 8:00:00 AM

Blockbuster Video. Borders Books. Sports Authority. Radio Shack. Some people might say these iconic retailers were beaten by the competitionlike Netflix who revolutionized movie rentals or Amazon who took bookselling online. But the red thread that connects all of these retail tragedies together is resistance to change, a complex phenomenon that can manifest in an individual, team or entire organization. The same monster is alive and kicking in the automotive industry today. 


If we look back to the decade between 1995-2005, the rise of e-commerce shifted the gears on automotive retail. Mobile retailing is here. Sites that lag or struggle to load will lose today’s savvy online shoppers. Along with speed and ease of use, all retailers must have easy to navigate websites that provide customers with instant access to the relevant information they’re seeking. Why? Because bad design communicates outdated processes that destroy consumer confidence.  


Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast 

While it’s debatable who coined this phrase, it was popularized in 2006 by Mark Fields who, at the time, was President of the Americas for Ford Motor Company. It was his favorite slogan, which he explained this way: “You can have the best plan in the world, and if the culture isn’t going to let it happen, it’s going to die on the vine.” As CEO, he learned this the hard way when he tried to transform Ford into a mobility company. 

 Many automotive companies struggle with organizational culture, especially in the age of digital retailing. And it doesn’t help that many subcultures exist in large organizations. We don’t need to look any further than the latest technology adoption model to identify the big three subcultures: enthusiasts, the mainstream, and skeptics.  


The Paradox of Multiple Realities 

 Now we can connect the dots with the red thread that wants to choke the best digital retailing strategies we’ve seen at Ardent. The three automotive subcultures are divergent, and culture cannot energize leadership, the staff, the field organization and the retail network with people defending their turf, all in the absence of a unifying common truth. 

 Change or die has never been a more riveting or relevant mantra. 

 According to John Kotter (Professor of Leadership, Emeritus, at the Harvard Business School), changing the behavior of people is the most important challenge for businesses, and that’s precisely where Ardent can help. We know behavior change and we can help you win with digital retailing.  

Three Steps to Spur Your Automotive Retail Revolution 

  1. Galvanize the Early Majority – Kotter says, “Behavior change happens mostly by speaking to people’s feelings. Let’s talk about a digital retailing immersion, emotionally resonant experiential learning activities, and the evocative positive change we can cultivate with design thinking. 
  2. Accelerate Change  If you want to renovate your strategic vision and bring change initiatives to life, workshops are a major sweet spot for usWe want to help you design a digital retailing vision that’s emotionally charged, easy to communicate, and smart. Let us remove the roadblocks so you can drive change. 
  3. Take Action  The secrets of a startup can be learned. You can unleash human potential and direct new energy into digital retailing. We can help. You can do it! 

Ardent has been partnering with automotive industry clients to develop teams and accelerate business results for nearly 30 years We stand ready to reduce resistance, incite innovation, and power performance for digital retailing success! Ready to seize the opportunities? Contact us to get started. 


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