The Agility Paradox

Today’s markets are changing more rapidly than ever before. As technology advances, traditional barriers to market entry fall. A category-transforming idea could arrive from outside the industry or across the globe—at any minute. Only a few years ago, no one could have anticipated how quickly Zipcar and Airbnb would shake the foundations of their industries.

At the same time, brands’ actions have been laid open to public scrutiny in ways previously unknown. What happens in one corner of the world can no longer be kept from another. A child labor scandal in India affects opinion in Indianapolis. A leaked cellphone video goes viral with millions of views.

Brand managers are facing a new reality, trying to steer brands in a context where disruption is the norm. They face perpetually evolving business strategies, shifting categories, an expanding array of touchpoints, and an ever-savvier mix of customers. In spite of all this, some brands are getting it right.

At Landor, we set out to investigate. We studied the numbers, talked to consumers, and analyzed businesses to determine how and why some brands are succeeding against the odds. We found that today’s strongest, best-performing brands are striking a balance. These companies are adaptive and nimble while remaining fixed on core tenets, nurturing a harmonious relationship between two divergent dimensions. We call this phenomenon the agility paradox.


Mastering the agility paradox

Landor’s Global Agile Brand Study found that in order to succeed today, brands must embrace this agility paradox by mastering two contradictory strategies—honoring core tenets while simultaneously evolving to stay fresh and relevant.

The brands achieving this balance share six behaviors:


Their brand managers look to the future, listen to the marketplace, and meet challenges head-on. This is a new branding model for a new world. 

Read the full report to see this year’s top agile brands and why they’re winning:

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