Alibaba was recently named the most valuable brand in the world by BrandZ’s global annual ranking, but how did it get there? And how did it get there is such a short period of time?
The answer lies in what a recent Harvard Business Review article highlighted, it’s their ability to self-tune. According to the @HarvardBiz article called The Self-Tuning Enterprise, Alibaba continually reinvents itself and continuously self-tunes in algorithmic-style thinking. As with a self-tuning algorithm, a company should be able to experiment, adjust and influence in a dynamic and complex environment. For a company, it’s about creating a culture that rewards flexibility, curiosity and staff empowerment so that the company can continually re-tool itself based on new market conditions.
Self-tuning is a key component of this flexibility and this is especially important for companies in fast fashion or technology that face a dramatically changing landscape. Companies trading in any sector that is unrelentingly disruptive should self-tune rather than point their bow on the horizon and set sail. Self-tuning means adjusting in smaller iterations rather than the clunky top-down strategic planning cycles that companies usually follow. It means experimenting and continually resetting the vision.
But self-tuning requires a different corporate DNA. What Alibaba has demonstrated is that excellence comes from having a pulse on the market and an internal mechanism to respond to it. Its self-directed and not centrally mandated. There are key elements to their success which include:
And lastly, a note for retailers, Ailibaba Group recently re-calibrated its vision and dropped the “e” from “e-commerce”. Their vision now reads, “We aim to build the future infrastructure of commerce.” Given this change, as well as the findings of a recent report by Digital Deloitte about the fact that commerce has merged, retailers should take heed.
Greta Paa-Kerner (@gretapk) is an Associate Lecturer on sales management and digital marketing as well as a Management Consultant through Ganduxer Consulting.