Once upon a time, a company that still lives today was founded in a city by the bay. It has lived its entire life in the digital age. It was founded around the time that many of today’s social platforms emerged, and it leapt to early success by creating an entire category of content and experience.
The company disrupted the status-quo foundation of a classic business approach. It created a differentiating, thought-leading, content-driven experience across its industry. From its inception, it has owned the space it created. It is the very definition of Clayton Christensen’s term disruptive innovation – what the venture community calls a unicorn. From angel-funded startup to venture-funded behemoth, it has been enormously successful.
And its use of content has been its beating heart.
Now, market forces are compelling the business to expand in two directions. Their success means that they are placing bets by both expanding into different markets and adding breadth to their solutions. As a result, their once niche, remarkable content experience is in danger of breaking. It’s becoming generalized, too general for sophisticated customers, too complex for basic customers, and losing all sense of differentiation.
If the content experience breaks, the unicorn may stumble along with it. The question is, what to do? Should they dismantle the experience? Should they change the experience to fit the business direction? Launch another?
I think we’ll see more and more of this type of challenge as valuable content powers more and more of our marketing and customer experience strategies. The story above is an extreme example; there are other smaller examples as well.
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