Recommended reading: Broken retail and transformation without chaos

Marketing Week reviews the latest books and articles for marketers.

Recommended Reading

Retail Therapy: Why the retail industry is broken and what can be done to fix it

By Mark Pilkington

Pilkington, a former CEO of Gossard among other roles, seeks to clarify the relative importance of retail in this book, as well as to solve its problems.

While manufacturing gets the headlines, it is invariably retail that supplies more jobs, he points out. Yet public policy too often regards retail as an afterthought.

Pilkington does not pull his punches, however, pointing out that the wounds that leave retailers struggling to remain viable can be self-inflicted. While the growth of ecommerce is a factor, it is the trend for private equity firms to load up store groups with debt that is more likely to lead to their inevitable demise, he argues.

An analysis of long-term trends is used to give some directions for future travel, in what Pilkington describes as a “clear road map for sustainable success in the future”.

It may be too late for some of those who should have read this book, but there can be no shortage of people who would benefit from its points.

Doing Agile Right: Transformation without chaos

By Darrell Rigby, Sarah Elk, Steve Berez

More than ever, it seems businesses are keen to be as flexible and nimble as possible, able to react and adapt to changing landscapes at speed. The days of the five-year plan are over.

This latest tome from the Harvard Business Review suggests such thinking is potentially harmful and that good old-fashioned balance is still required. A guide to the pros and cons of corporate agility, the book’s basic premise is that there’s really no point in being agile if you don’t innovate as well.

Chapters on leadership, planning, budgeting and organisation offer pointers to using agility as part of your overall armoury, rather than as one single weapon, as well as advice on how to avoid various pitfalls.

Trust is the post-pandemic brand battleground

By Ben Shaw, head of strategy, BBH London

This quick overview offers a checklist of what brands should be looking out for as the lockdown steadily begins to lift.

Key to everything is trust. It’s related to growth but, in a world of fake news and consumer scepticism about advertising messages, how can brands present a trusted voice to the world?

Shaw asks why there aren’t more case studies looking at building trust and looks at how increasing concerns about sustainability and social issues have prompted consumers to be far more questioning when it comes to messaging and purpose.

The writer calls on brands to be ever-more transparent and willing to get their hands dirty – to be, in Shaw’s words, “morally clean”.

READ MORE: Trust is the post-pandemic brand battleground

Small businesses could go big with Facebook Shops

By James Calvert, chief data strategy officer, M&C Saatchi

Facebook Shops allow consumers to try on products using AI technology and make a purchase, all within a few clicks. Payment information can be saved, making the whole process even quicker and easier.

Could this new service be a potential saviour for small businesses struggling to keep going under lockdown?

Calvert argues that the platform offers a huge opportunity for small, local companies to reach a global audience and find a whole new market with a virtual storefront.

READ MORE: Small businesses could go big with Facebook Shops 

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