How to Best Wield the Cutting-Edge Trends in Your Industry
Whichever industry your business finds itself in, you’ll likely be familiar with the process of getting to grips with a new technology or trend that promises to overhaul your operations, only for a new one to take its place before too long. While this relentless cycle of innovation can be simultaneously exciting and frustrating, the nature of these trends isn’t set in stone, meaning that each time is slightly different.
As a result of this, the way that you naturally wield these trends to the benefit of your own business is going to vary. Understanding the best use for the latest emergent tools can help you to make the most of them.
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For many businesses, the most appealing method here will be to have direct control over what you’re talking about. For example, if it’s something like a new technology, it might not be enough to hire it out occasionally through the third party of a professional service. Instead, you will want to implement it into your own services right now. This is an especially topical discussion due to the emergence of AI in recent years and how that has encouraged a swathe of different businesses to change the way that they operate. Obviously, this is something that can have large-scale consequences for staff members and even the businesses themselves. The expectations that you have for these tools might be different from reality, especially when those expectations relate to how much money you can save by reducing how much you rely on human workers.
After all, when it comes to something like AI, it’s not that you stop relying on human work; it’s just that this work needs to be directed somewhere else. The AI tools might be able to tackle what was previously a human job to some degree, but someone who is familiar enough with that landscape needs to be able to operate and train that AI to begin with. This is something that can be seen in a multitude of industries, from illustration to writing.
Other times, the tool might simply be one in a long line of other tools that are more directly slotted alongside others in the toolbelts of your workers. 3D printers in manufacturing are a good example of this – with the change that they offer being a substantial one, but ultimately not overhauling the structure of your entire operation on quite the same level as how some see AI.
There are costs to consider here, though, and while jumping onto the latest technology to grace your industry has an obvious appeal – becoming the frontrunner and being seen as the brand-defining modern trend – it can be a risk to be a pioneer. Investing heavily into a new technology that doesn’t end up being the next ‘big thing’ can be a waste of money, time, and resources. However, being in business is often about taking risks, so how should you land on this? Well, it might just be about estimating more thoroughly how any given technology pertains to your business in particular – what it can do for you and whether it is necessary to deliver the best you have to offer.
What about the alternative, then? While many might see the possibility of consistently relying on a third party to allow them access to these tools as nonsensical, it might often help you to get the most out of what it has to offer. Some examples can act as a precedent here, with search engine optimization (SEO) being one that is easy to look at. This marketing campaign enables businesses to partner up with marketing businesses that are specifically trained in how to use SEO effectively.
This doesn’t mean that your business is outside of this process, and you get a direct say in the form that this content ultimately takes – after all, you want it to reflect your brand in a way that is accurate and within your own set of values. However, while it can be a more costly approach, it can give you the assurance that it’s being handled by those who know what they’re doing, leaving you to focus your own efforts on your business.
Furthermore, it won’t always be a surface that you require so regularly. If you’re in an industry like construction, you might find that you’ll need to turn your attention to demolition from time to time. In a way, this is simply an extension of your industry, so it makes sense that you might know something about it, such as how effective concrete cutting services can be in delivering the kind of demolition that gets the results you’re looking for. Being knowledgeable about this field means that when the time comes to call on professional services for demolition, you know exactly what and who to look for.
In this example, your approach to a trend within your industry is to observe, learn about, and understand when it would be best applied. That knowledge can make for succinct and effective use when the time comes, allowing you to deploy it exactly as needed, delivered by professionals you can be confident in.
This can also be applied to technologies like AI that other businesses are scrambling to incorporate into their own operations. It’s not a binary option of including it or not, but you might understand the specific use and purpose that it could serve for you and limit its use to when those moments arise. However, that’s not to suggest that this will always be the more beneficial option. As with everything, there are pros and cons to relying on professional services in business, meaning that there will naturally be times when making it a more integral part of what you do makes more sense. Your job, as head of your brand and business, is to understand your own needs to the point where you can make that call with confidence.
Reading the Room
There is another angle here to consider, and that’s the audience involvement and discourse around these latest trends. Going back to AI as an example, while there are many facets to explore in regard to what this technology can do for your business against how it impacts your human employees, there is a potential risk of backlash should you lean too far in one direction. That’s not to say that this backlash will always align with what’s wrong for your business, but it’s an important thing to be aware of due to how this negative press can affect your brand. Weathering a bad PR situation is one thing, but if you’re perceived to consistently be on the side of these trends that audiences don’t agree with, your brand might begin to develop a reputation – something that can be much harder to avoid and something that can impact the perception of your responses to bad press.
Audience engagement is, therefore, important. If you’ve developed your own brand identity around a certain relationship or dynamic with your audiences, a move that’s perceived as flying in the face of that is going to read as even more disingenuous. Not all technologies will generate this kind of controversy, but it’s vital that you’ve consistently got an ear to the floor, making yourself as aware as possible of the discussion around these points. You are a part of your industry in that regard, and how you incorporate happenings into your own pre-existing set of values will naturally change your brand going forward, whether that’s for better or worse in the eyes of your customers.