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The Next Leap Forward - Part Two - Brands That Never Sleep

Here we are in a world where it isn't just Las Vegas that never sleeps. The internet and ecommerce sites are always on. The advent of AI and its powers to advance the development of strategies and innovations will prompt many leaders to face a serious problem: competitors who never sleep either. Imagine two to three work shifts in an office environment working around the clock, and not just a tech team, but marketing and innovations teams working 24/7 with AI may not be uncommon very soon. Still, all of them are working on the same or different initiatives because speed to market has just reached a new level of expectations. I call this Escape Velocity with AI—a landscape where the competition is on steroids, looking to get out to market faster. The power of your AI is tied without question to your data teams constantly working on stoking the fire inside the AI algorithm and the GPUs needed to deliver powerful insights. This is a race for dominance in business, which has always been that. But now fueled with data to break away from the herd, supercomputers, algorithms, and chips are getting more powerful. In a matter of time, we will be able to create capabilities we only thought would be possible in the distant future. Now, it may be a short couple of years away.

It will be a competitive market unlike anything we have ever seen. However, why should any of this surprise you? What do we think some of the biggest ecommerce brands will do? Take breaks and let everyone catch up. Not at all. We must remember that corporate structures, hours of operation, and organizational fiefdoms are a construct over two hundred years old. It must all change if you plan to be competitive. The go-forward vision must be an AI or technology-led brand; otherwise, competing in this new landscape will not work.

Every business leader should ask how their organization's plan to win in a hyper-competitive marketplace is coming to fruition. Generally, it would seem unwise to pick a technology provider, step on the accelerator, and hope it will work. However, if the organization can develop its AI skills from within, its transformative power becomes more distinct and has the potential for continued innovation and differentiation.

If we can imagine for a moment what would happen if three to four of the most well-known brands in the white goods, the appliance sector, all had the same data and AI capabilities. It would be a hyper-competitive market driven by data and AI in every aspect, from manufacturing using digital twins to building better and higher levels of quality and marketing with targeting that allows for personalized content from video to being engaged by a personal AI assistant. It would change pricing strategies, and in some instances, we could be in environments where prices drop to capture share. Hyper-competitive. Many argue that good competitors would not put themselves in these situations. The same happened with ecommerce. No one thought that this platform could impact physical retailing. There is no need to explain that history.

We are entering a world where businesses might as well throw away the keys to the front door. If stores operate on Saturdays and Sundays, so will offices because logistics are also doing that. It is about getting to the following competitive strategic choices and innovations before your competitors do. And if AI makes predictions faster than humans can, sitting on them till Monday when the office reopens means it could be too late. I am confident that, in some way, brands will never sleep, and nor will competition. You may think, but we already have e-commerce and the Internet. You're right, but not in a way where we can compete relentlessly, working at gaining share and staying in the game.

After all, that's why we created technology to compete and win in the marketplace; it wasn't just about playing games, downloading, or uploading content. That was just a perk for us to be engaged and learn how to use technology.

My name is George Minakakis, and I am the CEO of Inception Retail Group. I am a globally trained and experienced senior executive from retail and food service to healthcare who has lived and worked in Canada, the US, and China leading retail brands. Author of three books soon to be five a thought leader and keynote speaker. You can reach me here at

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