We’ve come a long way since the replacement of manual labour with powered machines in the first industrial revolution.
Today, we are in the throes of the Industry 4.0 or IR4.0 era, where cyber-physical systems and big data take the stage front and centre.
With the domination of new-age automation and digitalisation, it’s beginning to dawn on workers that acclimating is necessary to remain relevant.
IR4.0 includes big data technologies such as artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, sophisticated sensors, 3D printing, smartphones and algorithmic platforms.
Another critical factor is the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), where machines can communicate with each other through the internet or cloud computing.
In these times, competition is fiercer than ever.
Companies must embrace these drastic changes to gain leverage and prosper in Malaysia’s digital economy.
The average tenure of companies is ever-shortening, surmised to be fourteen years by 2026. SME business owners, in particular, should adopt the relevant training, skills and understanding of how IR4.0 will affect them.
So, how exactly will businesses be impacted?
Allow us to glimpse at what the fourth industrial revolution has in store for us and how we can weather the oncoming storms.
Opportunities and Challenges
With the rapid developments surrounding AI and IoT, companies can accumulate and interpret data more speedily and in-depth than ever.
Tremendous data collection
As more devices are being connected to the internet, you best believe that significant amounts of data are gathered on all prospects of our everyday lives.
Companies can benefit from this by increasing production efficiency, as well as offer customised solutions based on direct feedback from product use.
However, they will also have to consider how to use that data and how it affects consumer brand perceptions, which brings us to:
Bigger security concerns
How often do you find yourself talking about a product, and then going on Instagram only to see advertisements for that specific product?
Online privacy is an illusion in the era of IR4.0.
Companies know the websites you’ve been browsing and are able to gather information from connected devices.
They are suddenly responsible for tons of private information.
Therefore, organisations that ensure security and are transparent in their use of data tend to be more favoured amongst consumers.
Reinvention of marketing
Businesses are learning how to hone their data collection and extract insights to improve their services.
Pretty soon, marketers will have the capacity to deliver hyper-locally targeted ads, i.e. enticing you with a deal at the nearest grocery store on your way home.
So, how can you ride the wave of change and emerge as unscathed as possible?
Let’s take a look at some ways to future-proof your brand.
Define your brand
In the age of IR4.0, trustworthy brands are most likely to avail. These brands make good on their promises to customers every day.
To do this, you must clarify your company’s purpose and clearly define your message and objectives.
When your brand’s identity and culture are coherently communicated, you will attract the right audiences and people who want to work with you.
Having a strong company profile can do wonders for establishing brand awareness and trust.
You can also utilise employer branding strategies through onboarding, brand portals and e-learning to ensure that employees act in line with the associated values and that your team is ready for any changes in tech architecture.
Don’t shy away from digitalisation
You don’t want to wake up one day and realise your firm has fallen behind some severe competition due to reluctance in adopting new technology.
Innovation is always a goal for businesses, and this must be backed up by tangible action.
It can be useful to delegate responsibilities for exploring new technology or include a brand asset management system so that you can respond quickly and cost-effectively.
Measure brand performance
Substantial data, no doubt, holds more accuracy than intuition.
Although many organisations are uncertain on the exact value of their brand, boardrooms often demand hard data to justify investments.
With greater data collection and lesser barriers between suppliers and consumers, companies are making a point to monitor brand performance consistently.
The lack thereof can lead to lousy spending when you’re trying to rebrand, change your visual identity or experimenting with new technology.
All in all, you should always refer back to the central core of any business—its brand.
Immerse yourself in the rapidly evolving developments instead of shying away from it, and search for ways to rebuild unique ownership in your respective areas.
If you don’t, your competitors sure as heck will.
We also seek to enhance your brand’s online presence by conducting on-page and off-page search engine optimisation (SEO), so that your website and relevant links appear on the front page of Google.
The flood of Industry 4.0 is coming one way or another. Stay afloat or be drowned.