Consistency Is No Longer Key

Dec 13, 2021

For years, the model for a reliable brand or business has been built upon a company’s ability to deliver the same expected quality of products or goods consistently to its consumers. From IBM to Xerox to GE, all of these brands stood for a model of consistency that you could count on as a consumer.

A friend of mine that used to own one of the most successful Italian restaurants in San Francisco had developed a business that catered to the rich and famous, while also attracting locals and tourists. For generations, his restaurant consistently delivered delicious food with high-quality ingredients and offered a vibrant dining experience that guests could count on. But over time, his business began to fade and eventually he had to close its doors.

Even Taylor Swift shares in her new Netflix documentary the challenges with staying popular in the music industry saying, “If I don’t beat everything I’ve done prior, it’ll be deemed as a colossal failure.”

Businesses today are no longer measured by consumers for consistency. Consumers want something different  or “out of the box.” They look for creative, innovative, and disruptive goods or services. If you are doing the same things over and over again without realizing the shift in the marketplace, you too will likely see your brand disappear.

It’s difficult for an already successful brand to reinvent itself.  By doing so, you risk alienating your existing clients while taking the chance that you can, in fact, attract newer customers, but it can be done.

Popeye’s Chicken is a brand that has been around since 1972 and has won “best of” in most markets they have stores in, but to most, this brand is a second-tier fast food restaurant.  Chick-fil-A has exploded on a national level, even though the fast-food chain has been around since the ’40s. McDonald’s continues to try to reinvent itself with redesigned restaurants and new menu items but continues to lose sales to the likes of In-and-Out and the growing Shake Shack.

Then in 2019, Popeyes started a chicken sandwich war when it released its new menu item in August. The sandwich was so popular that Popeyes sold out nationally, some locations within days, and it didn’t come back until two months later, on Nov. 3, which, appropriately, was National Sandwich Day. This one change Popeye’s executive team made has saved the brand and catapulted the fast-food chain into a new level of interest with consumers who had up until recently long forgotten about them.

Today, you must continue to innovate, evolve and find new ways to make your business different than competitors. At Starboard, we rebranded ourselves last year as “Entrepreneurial Local and Independent” and embarked on repositioning ourselves as “the largest independent brokerage company in San Francisco.” This has resonated with our marketplace and we have seen positive results.

In order to be successful, look at similar markets outside of your area. What are businesses similar to yours doing to remain competitive?  Start making similar changes or see what’s missing in your marketplace that can be filled. Make a change and take a chance, otherwise, you will be like that old Italian restaurant that faded out of business.

Written by: Hans Hansson

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Hans Hansson is President of Starboard Commercial Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 35 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email [email protected] or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website,