Intrapreneurship : If You Can’t Beat ‘em, Join ‘em


Intrapreneurship : If You Can’t Beat ‘em, Join ‘em

I think that the initial reaction of big companies regarding the explosion of niche brands is that they didn’t understand how to take over or stop so many new players at once. If it was simply a single emerging brand, buying them out would be no problem. But now large companies are competing with an army of small, home-based or entrepreneurial operations. How would they cope when these new players bring so much passion, creativity and personalized service?

Well, in today’s world, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

Who’s to say that intrapreneurship (developing a new brand, startup or product line within an established company) can’t be done? You simply have to breathe new life and give meaning to your established brand that will once again set you apart even from the myriad other brands and operations cropping up.

So how do you go about intrapreneurship? Guy Kawasaki’s book, The Art of Start, provides the stages:

1. Beginning.

To put it simply, building a new brand or product involves too many things at the start to narrow down the process. In the beginning you have to deal with limited resources and do everything yourself . But the best technique to doing this is to develop a mantra. This is a key phrase that embodies the new brand and it’s something you are going to hang onto in the months to come. It’s the “Why” of your mission. For Nike it’s actually, “authentic athletic performance”. For HTC, it’s “Quietly brilliant.” You’ll find that although the mantra can be vague at times, it will guide the creation of your prototype. Let the traditional business model or plans, sales projections and other stuff come later.

2. Carve out your niche.

Use your mantra and develop a passionate but short answer for “What do you do?” You can be as specific as possible but what’s important is that your efforts are aligned with a mission.

3. Be an expert at your pitch.

You’re going to present your efforts to the company since you’re involved in an intrapreneurship again and again. Although the development of your brand or product may happen easily because you’re under a large company, don’t take it for granted. You will face a lot of political resistances within the company. People don’t like change and what you are selling is change. Innovation involves change management. This means you have to do a lot of networking and involve as much strategic stakeholders in your project. You should tell a story, make it short and unforgettable.

4. Get a team that share your passion but cover all the bases.

No matter how involved you are, you cannot work alone, even in an intrapreneurship. Usually, the large company can give you a team, but always recommend people that you gel with, share the same vision and have the same passion as you do. Try to regroup people with influence and coming from different departments. This is a transversal approach. Here is a great article on how to set your dream team up: 10 profiles you should hire.

5. Use your customer base for as your own marketing tool.

User experience and great service coupled with a product that you believe in can give clients a very powerful, lasting impression of your company. Encourage them to spread the word about your brand through liking, sharing on Facebook and retweeting their experience to friends and family. This can also be a source of information to collect insights and improve your product/service.

6. Corporate social responsibility is more important than ever.

Sometimes, the fact that people know this product or service that they buy helps other people is enough reason for them to stay loyal customers. Being a ‘good person’ or a company that regularly ‘gives back’ is expected in today’s interconnected world, but when you take it a step further, it can be the deciding factor for many clients to stick with you.

In the end, intrapreneurship is all about giving meaning to a traditional, big brand and showing clients that they can go with the flow and are as passionate as startups. Intrapreneurship calls for exceptional product development, customer’s co-creation, lobbying, alternative but powerful marketing strategies and corporate social responsibility.

Please share this insight to inspire people to work with more passion and lead with creativity. It’s free like this ad free article. Thank you 🙂


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