MINDING THE GAP

Nimble brands have a knack for increasing their competitive advantage during crises that send others scrambling. Consider the Occupy movement, which leveraged its greatest asset—mobilization—to outpace the Red Cross and remake its brand, as established entities like Tide, Hanes and Duracell seemed to miss the boat entirely. Another scrappy group, Newscred, is daring to resurrect the news industry, creating badly needed revenue streams for flagging publishers by connecting them with brands wanting high-quality, content-rich marketing efforts. It’s not just startups stepping in, though. The New York Times notes that retail chains like Home Depot, Costco and Sam’s Club are shifting, chameleon-like, to fill the post-crisis financial service gap by offering financial products. Walmart is even experimenting with selling life insurance as part of its strategy to fully capture the unbanked population, or a quarter of its customers, proving yet again that size is ultimately less important than the insights and adaptability that drive relevance.

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