Failure To Change In New Economy Can Prove Costly

By: Jeff Davis

Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Borders bookstores, Circuit City, KB Toys. All companies that have gone bankrupt within the last three years. What do these have in common? Each stuck to an outdated strategy, failed to adapt to changing market conditions, and failed to recognize new trends. For a great example of how to avoid these mistakes, we can look at Encyclopaedia Britannica. Britannica has been publishing its printed encyclopedias for 244 years, but announced this week that no further editions will be printed. How then is this company still successful? It realized very early that its market and customers were changing, and responded accordingly. Encyclopaedia Britannica published the first digital encyclopedia in 1981, published the first online encyclopedia in 1994, and added access for mobile devices in 2000. It was willing to wind down its strategy of publishing in print as this method became obsolete, and instead focused on its mission, “not to print, but to bring scholarly knowledge to the people.” Recognizing and adapting to the changing market are recurring themes in many of your business courses. Use the example of Encyclopaedia Britannica to help remember why these concepts are so important.