HBO Continues To Face Its Industry Fears

When you are a known entity in an established category, focused purely on protecting what you already have, you land yourself in a position where you could suffer from an industry blind spot. You may think you are untouchable, but you aren’t. None of us are.

Many hotels are a good example. Hotel brands spend a great deal of their time monitoring what other hotel brands are doing. Then along comes Airbnb.

“Fear and conservative thinking are holding back the growth of a lot of traditional organizations,” former Airbnb chief marketing officer Jonathan Mildenhall says. He continued, “The force that drives a lot of traditional companies is the fear of losing what you already have. That means you grow incrementally; you put artificial constraints on imagination, creativity, and innovation—particularly around marketing.”

From Incremental Growth to Exponential Growth

How do you turn this protect-the-revenue-you-already-have conundrum on its head? What can we do right now to change the future revenue game from incremental growth to exponential growth?

It starts by setting a firm expectation with your bosses, your board, and your team regarding what you plan to accomplish in an allotted amount of time. But this can be difficult to achieve when you haven’t built up mass credibility within the walls of your organization.

As Salvador Dali once said, “Intelligence without ambition is like a bird without wings.” The wings of change often take flight when a willing, courageous soul first begins to drive change by making space to innovate within a stagnant organization. In other words, you still need to muster up the courage to create that experimental breathing room with your superiors and your employees.

How HBO Unlocked Courage in its Stories, Business and Culture

Is your business “neighborhood” not what it used to be? This was the predicament facing premium content provider HBO with satellite and cable television. Thanks to streaming via the Internet, cable TV was not the neighborhood it once used to be.

HBO recognized the hard decision it needed to make regarding what we call at Courageous their service fear. Instead of being totally dependent on the cable bundle, it made the difficult yet innovative move to jump the cable pay wall (aka, the cable neighborhood) with the creation of its HBO Now service; which was rebranded to HBO Max.

Speaking of “now,” just by cutting the chord, HBO Max put themselves in a position to run a full slate of newly released Warner Bros movies (both owned by WarnerMedia) to the masses throughout 2021.

HBO is an excellent example of a service provider that is addressing what needs to be addressed. They are being courageous and striving to make the right moves to stay ahead of potential business pitfalls—all in their pursuit of staying relevant.

Most companies are reactive or inactive when it comes to fighting a futuristic business fear. The onus is on the day-to-day, so long-term thinking takes a back-row seat. It’s time to flip that thinking. Every company should put in the hard work, process and resource now to proactively identify a potential daunting fear that could break their business. Not just because fear leads to growth, but because it’s better for you to take down that fear before it takes down you. In essence, put a plan together to cannibalize your existing business. Remember, what got you here will not keep you here. Make time to work on your tomorrow and start today.

If you would like a step-by-step process on how to unlock courage, creativity and innovation in your business, pick up my book Return On Courage at Amazon. Or, reach out to me directly—I’m happy to share more about the steps we take to transforming your business into a relevant, thriving Courage Brand®.

Ryan Berman is an author, keynote speaker and the founder of Courageous; a create-the-change company that builds and leads Courage Brands®. Ryan has helped install courage in the stories and culture at Google, Kellogg’s Europe, charity: water, Major League Baseball, Snapchat, Johnson & Johnson, Cereal Partners Worldwide and US Ski & Snowboard. His book ‘Return on Courage’ shows how during these courage deficient times, courage is a competitive advantage for those leaders who choose to unlock it. Berman also has his own altruistic Courage Brand called Sock Problems: a sock company that “socks” different problems in the world.

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