Think Like a Skink to Thrive in a Tough Business Climate
Resilience. Adaption. Determination. Any businessperson who’s weathered tough times can tell you about the importance of these pragmatic virtues.
And so can a skink.
Whoa, whoa, whoa—I said “skink.” Which ends in “-ink.” So, don’t lose your tail, okay? (That joke will make sense in a minute.) To be clear, “skinks” are small reptiles belonging to the Scincidae family—which is basically Latin for…
Linguistic revelations aside, skinks have been around since the age of the dinosaurs. That means they’ve “stayed in business” through some less-than-ideal circumstances, like gigantic asteroids, mass extinctions, numerous ice ages and disco. Talk about “Stayin’ Alive.”
So, as marketers, innovators and entrepreneurs, what can we learn from skinks in terms of surviving adversity? I’m glad you asked.
Cut your losses.
Skinks have developed the astounding ability to shed their tails as a means of eluding predators—a trait known as “autotomy.” (See, I told you that joke would make sense). Yes, it constitutes a loss. Yes, it means leaving a part of themselves behind. But it often means the difference between survival and…
For businesses, tough markets often demand fortitude and sacrifice. Brands may need to redefine themselves, rethink foundational equities/ideas or make strategic sacrifices to stay relevant. Autotomy teaches us the importance of staying agile, embracing change and having the courage to let go of outdated strategies and practices to ensure survival and growth.
Adapt to your surroundings.
Like most reptiles, skinks are cold blooded. That means they rely on external heat sources to regulate their internal temperature. As such, skinks need to be aware of—and engaged with—the climate, the weather and the conditions around them.
Just like businesses.
While skinks must seek out warm or cool environments to regulate their body temperature, businesses must navigate economic fluctuations by carefully managing resources and making calculated decisions. “Ectothermic thermoregulation”—as it’s known to zoologists—reminds us that adaptability, planning and strategic vigilance can help organizations maintain stability during turbulent times.
For skinks, mating season is an “all or nothing” time. The strongest male skinks fight, bite, scratch, scrape and scuffle their way into a position of dominance. And, if they’re lucky… they earn a chance to perpetuate their lineage.
As a brand, standing out in a category or an industry can feel like a battle—especially when the market is tough and the competition for consumer engagement is fierce. So, you have to be strategic. You have to be tactical. You have to be cognizant of how your competition is approaching the market. And you have to take action that makes the most of every opportunity you see.
Just like a skink. But with less biting.
Do you want to learn how to “think like a skink” (at least in the metaphorical sense) when you’re facing tough markets, crowded categories and shifting consumer perspectives? Then call Seed Strategy. We’ll help you assess the market, pinpoint your most relevant opportunities and set strategies that work hard for your brand—even when times are tough.
Who knows… you might even be able to keep your tail.
Matt Donahue is a Creative Director at Seed Strategy with a keen interest in product innovation and marketing theory. Matt is a graduate of Seton Hill University’s “Popular Fiction” master’s program and writes whenever he can.
Steve Paljieg is VP, Innovation at Seed Strategy, where he leverages his decades of strategy and innovation experience to help clients illuminate opportunities and grow their businesses to new heights.