“My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go anywhere you must run twice as fast as that.” - The Red Queen, Alice in Wonderland
New companies are developing websites and apps quicker than we can fathom. It’s all that most brands can do to stay current with the needs of their consumers, let alone their competitors. In nature they call this the Red Queen Hypothesis. Basically, as soon as an animal develops a defense, the predator develops a stronger attack which makes the other animal work even harder to adapt.
It can be easy for companies that are feeling their first wave of success to become complacent. The key to evolution, whether in biology or business, is to remain the fittest so you're able to stay ahead of the race.
The developers of Snapchat created a need for an app that consumers didn’t realize they had a need for, putting them ahead of their competitors. Platforms like Facebook are constantly moving as quickly as they can, simply so they can keep their standings in the social media world. With the growth of social media as a business tool, it's become a race to stay relevant.
In recent weeks we've seen the emergence of live streaming apps Meerkat and Twitter-owned Periscope. There has already been a healthy dose of competition between the two, and Meerkat has begun the process of adaptation.
The Red Queen Hypothesis is all about strategy. If companies aren't looking ahead and planning their future, they won't be ready to adapt to any changes that are thrown at them. If they wish to move anywhere at all, they must be ready to run twice as fast as their fastest competitor.
The same is true for restaurants. In Nashville, new restaurants are always popping up so the competition is fierce. The best way to stay ahead is to stay current with social trends and have a strong online presence. Social media is the fastest way to connect with the community and analyze trends in the local market. By thinking in terms of the Red Queen Hypothesis, here’s a few ways to remain ahead of your competitors.
- Think in terms of the future. Nothing, especially in the world of technology, remains stagnant and untouched. In order to remain relevant you should be thinking of where to go next, not just where you are currently.
- Listen to and connect with your consumers. Nothing draws people in and creates brand loyalty like a connection to the company. If you interact with your consumers on social media platforms it can instantly give you an advantage over your competitors.
- Develop your products based on consumer feedback. Since consumers are seeing your product or service as a third party, they’re the best people to catch things that someone within the company might not think of. Ideas from consumers could spark some inspiration on the company’s end.
As the Red Queen pointed out, you need to be ‘running your fastest’, or working your hardest, just to stay in one place. In order to get ahead you must go twice that speed. A crucial part of this process is using tools like Facebook and Twitter to create brand loyalty and keep the customers coming back for more.
In the long run, if you connect with your consumers and remain informed on what’s current and what’s to come in your industry, you’ll be able to keep ahead with changing trends and competitors.