Come on startups, how the super bowl showed us the big brands are beating us at our own game

- February 5, 2013 2 MIN READ

guest post by Wendy Huang from Savvy SME

Why do I love working with startups?

My first answer will always be because startup founders are passionate about their businesses, they remain close with the everyday operations of the business, and could even be the only ones working in it. This means that there is no long approval process and politics involved with making things happen. Things just happen, quickly effectively and this is a large reason why many startups come out of nowhere and beat huge experienced corporations in their own game.

Quick execution has always been the competitive advantage that we startups have against these huge giants with limitless budgets and resources. We don’t need to get 3 approvals before something can go live and we certainly don’t need to spend time making sure our whole department “buy’s into” our concept before we go with it. We just experiment see what works and move on.

However what came out of this year’s superbowl, really made me feel that us startups are slowly losing our competitive advantage. I’m talking about the infamous OREO twitter campaign, by the 360i agency, which went out at 8:48pm with the simple message:

 “Power out? No problem,” which linked to a picture with the caption, “you can still dunk in the dark.” It got 10,000 retweets in the first hour.

Big brands are getting smart about their execution tactics, and in the land where different startups are popping up everyday threatening their competitive position, big brands like Oreo are starting to think of ways to make themselves more nimble and competitive.

I also feel that we are seeing the mass uptake of social media by fortune 500 companies and no longer are social media evangelists struggling with getting budgets and buy in’s from their budget approvers, they are actually winning them over. The secrets to OREO’s quick roll-out is that all the board members that were involved with approving the ad were already in one room together, ready to take on anything that could happen. I’m pretty sure that soon enough all fortune 500 companies will begin to follow suit and then we’ll have a real battle on our hands.

No longer will startups be able to lean on their quick “execution” tactics, but will be needing to find better ways to compete with their industry leaders. 

Perhaps it’s time for lean startup number 2 to be written.