Back in the year 2000, the then Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings approached the Blockbuster CEO John Antioco. He proposed a partnership whereby Netflix would run Blockbuster’s brand and offering online and Blockbuster would promote Netflix within their stores. Hastings said they were pretty much laughed out of the office. In January 2018, the market value of Netflix topped USD100 billion while Blockbuster has long since filed for bankruptcy. Today, Hastings is considered a genius and Antioco a fool.
“It was Reed Hastings’s insight that the subscription model would resonate with consumers in a compelling way,” said Barry McCarthy, former CFO at Netflix. “He re-engineered the website and software to support a subscription model…we began to grow exponentially overnight.”
The subscription model was the solution to the changing market. Netflix understood how consumer behaviour was changing and built solutions which catered to an emerging market. The emerging market was streaming services for home entertainment.
We all know that hindsight is a valuable learning tool. I recall the first day I received my Blackberry phone as a gift and at the time I thought it was the most amazing piece of technology. Blackberry Messenger was the greatest communication tool. In 2007, Blackberry had more than half of the market share of phones in the United States. Fast forward 11 years and do you know anyone who owns a Blackberry? How can a company go from owning most of a huge North American market to now having around only 0.8% of the market?
If Blackberry had considered adopting touch screen technology, then they could be in a much better position today. The failure to understand how consumer behaviour was changing played a part in the company’s declining market position.
Health care, aviation, energy, and financial services are some of the industries that embraced innovation to survive. For example, banks are providing consumers with alternative payment options including the digital wallet and the ‘tap and go’ payment ring. When an industry commits to developing solutions that meet customers’ needs, every stakeholder benefits.
Ask yourself: How well do you know the market you operate in?
Lawyers Weekly reports that 55 per cent of law firms are actively innovating, with 31 per cent of firms focussing on new innovative services. The CommBank Professional Services Business Insights Report highlights the significant return of investment in innovation, with legal practices investing in technology to boost productivity and improve client satisfaction. CBA’s Marc Totaro believes “firms that are not sufficiently investing in innovation stand to miss out on substantial benefits, including greater efficiencies, better outcomes for clients and more motivated employees.”
Cloud technology enables lawyers to access client and matter information anytime. Cloud technology also affords piece of mind for both lawyers and their clients knowing that their data is secure. Tim Unsworth, Principal at Unsworth Legal, talks about his drive for innovation and the impact of cloud technology on his now paper-light office. Watch the video.
Ask yourself: Have you explored how legal innovations could help your firm?
As technology evolves, so does consumer behaviour. Clients’ expectations today are much higher than even two years ago. Salesforce reminds us that “empowered customers place elevated expectations on every interaction they have with brands.” This includes an expectation of immediate, responsive and personal service. Your clients now expect you to anticipate their future needs. This personal service is expected in the provision of legal services.
Clients want access to documents you have shared with them online. The facility to pay a legal bill online is expected. With cloud technology you can do all these things and so much more. Legal practice management platforms leverage cloud technology to deliver products and services in a more human way to clients.
Blockbuster failed as it did not understand the emerging market’s needs, while Netflix has enjoyed success through its adaptability.
So, ask yourself this question, is your law firm a Blockbuster or a Netflix? It’s time to embrace change, innovate and succeed.