Paul Plant: Making Transformation Happen

Paul Plant of Radicle Consulting returns to guest blog on Local Search Insider. Paul has over 30 years of experience in directive media and advertising.  Since launching Radicle Consulting in 2010, Paul has acquired a diverse client portfolio, which he advises on all aspects of organizational and transformational change. Paul previously spent almost 20 years in senior management at Yell Group, in key marketing, sales and strategic operational positions in both the U.K. and U.S. See Paul’s previous post here.

The past decade has witnessed levels of new and disruptive technological and social change on an unprecedented scale, with the effect on the media sector being felt perhaps harder than most.

All companies, large and small, old and new have been affected, including traditional media providers such as Yellow Pages companies, as well as a number of the newer digital players, Yahoo being a good case in point.

Large numbers of Yellow Pages companies have made bold forward-looking visionary statements along the lines of, “We are transforming our business from print directory publisher to media solutions provider for SMBs.” Yet to date, the industry is still facing headwinds in its efforts to transform.

The troubles encountered  by many publishers around the world  are proof that to bring about a successful transformation is not easy. It calls for courageous and committed visionary leadership, combined with an energised and aligned workforce dedicated to creating a new digitally-enabled customer-centric organization. CEOs and their Boards must understand and mitigate the risks, something that cannot be delegated.

I’m looking forward to sharing my observations on the topic of Transformation from both inside and outside the Yellow Pages industry with attendees at LSA’s annual conference, “Search Starts Here,” next month in Las Vegas. My presentation will take place Monday, April 15 from 9:45-10:15 a.m.

I recently wrote a paper entitled “Making Transformation Happen”, in which I exposed some of the common issues facing large organizations when confronted by disruptive change. I put forward some sound guidance as to how companies should respond.

My work also outlines the new performance drivers, required behaviors and key measures for retaining salience with customers and building a sustainable future in the new digital economy. I am optimistic that traditional media publishers can carve out a strong positioning in the new digital environment, and will detail how the industry’s core strategic assets can be leveraged and adapted in order to achieve competitive differentiation.

I believe my presentation will serve as a tasty appetizer for the conference’s Keynote Address from Solocal (formerly PagesJaunes Groupe) President & CEO Jean-Pierre Remy, who will share the story of his company’s transformation journey from traditional directory publisher to become one of the world’s most successful digital media organizations.

But it is not only traditional media companies who have had to face up to change and competitive threat. One of the founding pioneers of the Internet revolution, Yahoo, had hit on difficult times until the arrival last July of Google’s “first lady” Marissa Meyer as President & CEO.

Yahoo, since Mayer’s appointment, has shown how a troubled media company can right its course. Her turnaround plan had just two central themes: 1) focus on the company’s core competences; and 2) nurture and re-energize the people throughout the organization, recognizing that they are the most important asset in any transformation. For more on Mayer’s efforts, check out this Forbes article.

Look forward to seeing you soon in Las Vegas!

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