Not all Growth Strategies are Good

Lessons Learned from Big Brands

Two strong brands, Under Armour and Twitter. They both want business growth. One is going about it the right way and one is heading for trouble.

Do you know which is which? Here are a few clues:

  • Business growth at Twitter is being measured by user-growth and by sales at Under Armour.
  • Under Armour just bought nutrition-tracking platform MyFitnessPal believing that the more people work out the more fitness wear they need;
  • Twitter is trying to shift the way Wall Street counts users to include those who see Twitter content without logging in or viewing it elsewhere to help bolster confidence in stock.

Bottom Line:

Anytime a company is trying to explain their way into Wall Street’s good graces or justify their thinking it is a good bet that they are focused on the wrong things.

The real question for Twitter growth is how do their users want to communicate going forward and 1) what short term benefits or services would be enticing enough to increase frequency of use and appeal to non-users and 2) what long term changes should they be anticipating so that they stay relevant in the future. It is not easy given how fast digital communications evolve—but that is their business.

Trying to keep people where they are never works; trying to change the math doesn’t work. What works is meeting the needs of customers better or differently than the alternatives. That is what Under Armour is doing by expanding their reach and adding aligned services that in turn increases their relevance and motivates their users to higher frequency—something that registers on the bottom line.

At the end of the day, focusing on the needs of the market creates winners; focusing on the needs of the company (and the numbers) is a recipe for underwhelming market results.

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