3 strategies and 3 alternatives

It seems to me that many businesses spend a great deal of time reacting to market volatility.

Australian businesses like so many around the world, when confronted with volatility seem to opt for one of the following:

  • Put their ‘heads down’ and wait for it to blow over.
  • Cut costs and try to weather the storm as best they can.
  • Implement strategies to drive revenue is less volatile areas.

But are these the best approaches?

I would argue not!

I would argue that these strategies are less than optimal because:

  • Volatility is no longer an infrequent occurrence and is largely here to stay.
  • Driven by disruptive innovation volatility is likely to increase in the years ahead.
  • Volatility brings with it opportunities that are better embraced than ignored.

I would argue that rather than fight or defend against volatility business are better advised to understand, embrace and exploit it.

We all want more control over our environment but that control is simply not there to be had. We need to accept this lack of control as a reality and make the most of it.

This might involve:

  • Embracing change and the opportunities it gives rise to
  • Monitoring the consumer and changing needs and wants
  • Developing a commitment to ongoing innovation

I would argue that driving this would involve:

  • Creating a culture that embraced change and the opportunities it creates
  • Recognising that the product is at the heart of effective marketing
  • Ensuring that innovation is seen as a real opportunity at board level

Apple is an obvious example of a business that is exploiting a volatile market and the opportunities it creates.

Lessons to be learned from Apple in this regard include:

  • Branding is of critical importance
  • A customer focus is of critical importance
  • A commitment to innovation is of critical importance


  • Would Apple have become all that it is without volatility?
  • Would Google be all that it is without volatility?
  • Would Microsoft be all that it is without volatility?

I would argue that these businesses have not only coped with economic and technology related volatility, but they have actually leveraged it to achieve greater profitability.

What are you doing to understand volatility?

What are you doing to embrace volatility?

What are you doing to exploit volatility?

This issue will be discussed in more detail on THE D. JOHN CARLSON NETWORK –

D. John Carlson is a behavioural scientist, strategic planner and lateral thinker focusing on branding, marketing and communication. Visit his blog –

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