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Why are brands struggling with digital transformation?

Why are brands struggling with digital transformation?

Are brands truly understanding the essence of digital transformation? Are their strategies and implementations in sync with the evolving digital age? Or is there a deeper underlying issue as to why they’re failing to comprehensively undergo a digital overhaul?

Research by IDC reveals that 59% of companies are currently stuck in the diagnostic phase of digital transformation, revealing a pronounced struggle in their journey (IDC, 2020). Further, Forbes reported that merely 7% of brands are able to efficiently implement a digital-first approach (Forbes, 2020). These startling figures serve to illustrate the sea of problems businesses are facing because they fail to understand digital transformation in its entirety, including its importance, vastness, and potential for both opportunities and challenges. This clarion call necessitates an integrative and comprehensive approach, incorporating people, process, and technology dimensions.

In this article, you will learn the intricate paths and pitfalls of the digital transformation journey brands must maneuver through. From the initial confusion and misunderstanding of what digital transformation actually entails, to the carefully crafted steps needed for successful implementation and its sustained evolution, this article aims to shed light on every facet of it.

From understanding the root causes of failure, to learning how to successfully implement an effective strategy, we delve into several real-life case studies to present a clear picture of this complex landscape. Finally, anticipating the future of digital transformation, we discuss how companies can future-proof their strategies to stay ahead of the curve.

Why are brands struggling with digital transformation?

Definitions and Significance of Digital Transformation in Brands

Digital transformation refers to the incorporation of digital technology into all aspects of business, fundamentally altering how brands operate and deliver value to customers. Essentially, it’s the transition from traditional methods to digital methods in business operations. Many brands struggle with this transformation due to a lack of digital literacy, resistance to change, and budget constraints. Digital literacy means the ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet. Those who resist change often do not fully understand or embrace new technology, creating barriers to digital transformation. Finally, budget constraints may prevent a company from investing in new technologies.

Unmasking the Hidden Challenges: Why Brands Stumble in their Digital Transformation Journey

Failing to Understand the Core Concept

Digital transformation is more than just incorporating digital technology into various aspects of a business. Many brands falter on this challenging journey because they fail to understand the core concept of digital transformation. A general misconception is to perceive it as a one-time project or a set implementation of digital tools aimed at improving customer experience or operational efficiencies. But, digital transformation represents a fundamental change in how a brand delivers value. It’s about using data to make better and faster decisions, drawing deeper insights from the analytics, embracing the cloud, working on mobile technology and E-commerce and more importantly, having a mindset of innovation and risk-taking. The lack of comprehension and appreciating the depth of transformation results in ineffective strategies and implementation roadblocks.

Resistance to Change and Lack of Skills

No change comes without resistance. It’s a pervasive problem that affects all from top level management to the employees at the grassroots level. The fear of the unknown, comfort with the status quo and reluctance to adopt a new way of doing things, all play a part in slowing the pace of digital transformation. Furthermore, brands struggle due to a dearth of employees who possess the right digital skills. The rapid pace of technological advancements calls for the need to continuously learn and adapt, and brands find it challenging to keep their workforce updated with the necessary skills.

Similarly, the digital transformation journey requires guidance from digital natives or leaders who are well-versed in leveraging digital tools and platforms for business growth. Unfortunately, many brands lack such leaders, and this only widens the chasm between traditional practices and digitation.

  • Unpreparedness to handle failures – High risk and frequent failures are inherent aspects of digital transformation. Brands with a risk-averse culture and lack of contingency planning tend to struggle in their transformation journey.
  • Data privacy and security concerns – With digital transformation, brands encounter the herculean task of protecting data and customer privacy. Failure to do so erodes customer trust and risks brand credibility.
  • Lack of a systematic approach – Often, brands embark on the journey without a defined roadmap or clear objectives. The lack of a systematic approach with proper milestones makes it difficult to assess progress and make necessary amendments in strategies.

The Illusion of Progress: How False Starts in Digital Transformation Undermine Brand Success

Riding a New Wave: The Complexity of Digital Transformation

Is digital transformation a wave that brands can ride to success? Or is it a whirlpool dragging them under with its complexity? These are the thought-provoking questions that leaders across industries find themselves facing in the digital age. The key idea to understand is that digital transformation is not merely about implementing new technologies. It is a holistic evolution that challenges established workflows, structures, mindsets, and business models. As such, it necessitates strategic changes in virtually every aspect of an organization, from its customer engagement practices to its operational workflows. The magnitude and complexity of these changes often overwhelm brands, causing them to stumble in their digital transformation journeys.

Pinning Down the Problem: Resistance to Change and Lack of Expertise

Diving deeper into the heart of the issue, two key challenges often undermine brands’ digital transformation efforts: resistance to change and lack of expertise. The first is a deeply human issue; change, particularly the rapid, intensive alterations demanded by digital transformation, is disconcerting. There are fears of job loss, obsolescence, and an overwhelming amount of new learning. This resistance manifests itself in multiple ways, from reluctance to use new tools to active pushback against changes in business processes. The second challenge is technical. Digital transformation requires deep knowledge of numerous technologies that are in constant flux, and many brands lack the required expertise. Without a clear understanding of technologies like artificial intelligence, cloud computing, or data analytics, brands can find digital transformation an uphill battle.

Transforming Troubles to Triumphs: Examples of Success

Despite the struggles, many brands have emerged victorious from their digital transformation efforts, offering key lessons in best practices. For example, Adobe went from being a company focused on boxed software to a leader in digital media. They phased in changes gradually, including transitioning to a cloud-based subscription service, which allowed their customer base to adapt alongside them. Domino’s Pizza is another success story, investing heavily in technology to streamline their ordering process and improve customer experience. They went as far as opening an innovation lab to study and implement the latest tech trends, illustrating the company’s serious commitment to digital transformation. These examples prove that with strategic planning, continued investment, and a commitment to upheaval and relearning, digital transformation is not just conceivable, but can be a key driver of success.

Surviving the Unseen Pitfalls: A Candid Look at Brands Navigating the Rough Waters of Digital Transformation

Navigating Through the Quagmire of Technological Transformation

Why is the journey of digital metamorphosis such a challenging landscape for brands to navigate? The core issue lies in the complexity of integrating novel technologies with existing infrastructure while managing stakeholder expectations. This challenge is magnified by the fast-paced nature of technological progress, where the next big thing often arrives before an organization has fully exploited the current innovation. While brands understand the importance and potential benefits of digital overhaul, deciphering where, when and how to execute these changes without disrupting current operations proves to be a cardinal conundrum.

This delicate balancing act demands a comprehensive and forward-thinking strategy, one that not only keeps up with technological advances, but also anticipates the future trajectory of a business’s industry. Furthermore, unearthing skilled workforce capable of driving these changes, coupled with an organizational culture resistant to change, adds another layer of difficulty. Significant resources are needed to train staff on new systems and processes, along with cultivating an adaptable and agile organizational culture. The inability to effectively manage these elements is causing brands to falter in their digital transformation ventures.

Lessons From the Trendsetters in Digital Adaptation

Turning to look at successful examples can provide invaluable insights for brands setting sail on their digital transformation journey. One such example is Netflix, originally a DVD rental service, which foresaw the potential in online streaming and set about reorienting its business model. Understanding the growing demand for an on-demand, personalized content, Netflix successfully pivoted and disrupted the entire entertainment industry.

Some key facets of Netflix’s success include a clear understanding of customer behavior and trends, a willingness to risk and invest in new technology, and the ability to adapt its business model quickly. Not dissimilar from this, the retail giant Walmart acclimated to the digital age by strengthening its e-commerce platform, allowing an interactive in-store and online shopping experience. These cumulatively contributed to its unprecedented success in a time where many traditional stores struggled.

Such trailblazers in the market, demonstrate a strong focus on customer-centricity, adaptability, and technological fluency, providing a blueprint for other organizations on the digital frontier. Emulating these well-defined strategies can guide brands toward more successful digital transformation endeavors.


Is digital transformation really as complex as it seems to consume or is it brands failing to adopt the right strategies? Brands are continually grappling with digital transformation due to various factors including the lack of a strategic approach, inability to adapt to changing technologies, cultural resistance within organizations, and skill gaps amongst employees. The shift from traditional methods to digital is often met with resistance and a lack of understanding concerning the significant advantages that digital transformation can provide.

We invite you to be part of our enlightening journey to understand the dynamics affecting the execution of digital transformation in various brands. Our blog strives to deliver content that is insightful, relevant and keeps you updated with the latest industry trends. Together, we can traverse on this path of knowledge, unravel the challenges with digital transformation and discover the best practices adopted by industry leaders globally.

Don’t miss out on any updates. We have more insightful articles brewing, ready to provide a broader understanding of the digital landscape. Every post is designed to enrich your knowledge and introduce you to new aspects that can change your perception about digital transformation. Stay tuned for our upcoming releases that promise to delve deeper into the subject, examining the challenges, solutions, and much more. Your wait will indeed be worthwhile!

Finally, we encourage you to reflect on your encounter with digital transformation. Are you emulating the best practices in the industry? Are your strategies resilient enough to adapt to the unavoidable technological advancements? These reflections might be the key difference between successful digital transformation and one that is not. Thus, let’s embark on this transformative journey together – after all, knowledge shared is knowledge gained.


1. What is digital transformation and why is it important for brands?

Digital transformation refers to the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how it operates and delivers value to customers. It’s important for brands because it fosters efficiency, improves customer experience, and creates a competitive edge in the ever-evolving digital era.

2. Why are some brands struggling with digital transformation?

Many brands are struggling with digital transformation due to a lack of proper knowledge, infrastructure, and resources. Moreover, resistance to change among staff, inadequate strategic planning, and inability to keep up with rapid technological advancements can also delay or derail the transformation process.

3. What are the key challenges faced by businesses in digital transformation?

The key challenges include insufficient internal skills, resistance to change, high costs of implementing new technologies, cybersecurity threats, and difficulties in assimilating and understanding the vast amounts of data generated. Understanding and aligning with customer needs in the digital sphere is another major hurdle.

4. How can brands overcome struggles in digital transformation?

Brands can overcome struggles by developing a well-planned strategy, investing in the right technology, training and developing employees’ digital skills, and fostering a culture that is adaptable to change. Collaborating with technology partners and keeping abreast of digital trends can also facilitate a more seamless transition.

5. What will happen if brands fail to adopt digital transformation?

Brands that fail to adopt digital transformation risk falling behind their competitors in efficiency, customer service, and overall market relevance. They may also miss out on key insights derived from data analytics, thereby affecting their strategic planning and decision-making capabilities.

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