Moving With the Cheese: Adapting the changing market

Key takeaways:

  • To understand the importance of the changing market
  • Understanding the key takeaways of the book ‘who moved my cheese’
  • Understanding cases and brand stories of changing with the market and relating them to phrases of the book.

In today’s Changing Market and the world, we all are trying to adapt and so are the brands. In this article let us understand the importance of changing market and learn about it with the help of a masterpiece by Spencer Johnson, The book “Who Moved My Cheese?”  It revolves around four characters who can be personified as attributes namely, Sniffs who is highly aware, Scurrys who embraces change and like quick actions, Hems who is afraid and anxious about change and, Haws who requires evidence that any change is going to work and benefit them. The Book consists of amazing quotes and phrases which widen our perspectives and help us tremendously to adapt to the changing market situations, strategies, brands and us!

The metaphor ‘Cheese’ in the book refers to the happiness, successes and achievements in life and how can we not let the world move is the task here! And hence in the changing marketing today, which is constantly evolving, finding the cheese and sustaining it is extremely difficult. Talking about the attributes, organisations and businesses in this changing market to an extent possess the same attributes and are very much capable of reacting in the same way to challenges, and changes in the current environment. The book consists of several phrases referring to the metaphor, starting with ‘Having cheese makes you happy’, and ‘The more important your cheese is to you the more you want to hold on to it’ which make us think about our ambitions and happiness. In today’s changing market situations, brand values, it’s very important for customers to understand these terms.

Moving ahead, the book, ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ talks about change, which is the most important aspect of today’s changing market and marketing. The phrases come with, ‘If you don’t change, you become extinct’ which is very much related to the brands in the marketing. There are multiple brands that were doing extremely well when introduced, but couldn’t cope with the change and hence became extinct! An example of this would be Nokia. Nokia was unable to adapt to change in the market and hence the brand failed to maintain its dominance. The company’s reluctance to embrace new technologies and its slow response to consumer demands ultimately led to its downfall. Additionally, Nokia’s competitors were quick to capitalize on the changing market trends, leaving Nokia struggling to keep up with the competition in the changing market.

 ‘What would you do, if you weren’t afraid.’ This talks about how brands in the market are ready to take risks and adapt to change by overcoming their risk factors. In today’s competitive market, several brands have shown a willingness to take risks and push boundaries. One such brand is Tesla, known for its innovative electric vehicles and autonomous driving technology. Another brand that comes to mind is Airbnb, which disrupted the traditional hospitality industry by offering unique and unconventional accommodations. These brands demonstrate a bold approach towards challenging the status quo and embracing new opportunities in the market.

‘Smell the cheese often, so you know when is it getting old’ is one of the most attention-grabbing and thoughtful statements I’ve ever come across! The statement is so crisp and to the point. Businesses need to smell their cheese, that is their place in the market, position, and product offering. The research and analysis of the ongoings are so important as it allows the businesses to do the needful to sustain! The statement also talks about the trends and the current needs as they are extremely dynamic in the market and hence marketers need to understand when are their ideas getting old! One of the classic examples would be Coca Cola which retained their customers through a successful rebranding campaign is Coca-Cola. In the 1980s, Coca-Cola faced backlash when it introduced “New Coke,” a reformulated version of its classic soda. This decision was met with widespread disappointment and led to a decline in sales. However, Coca-Cola quickly recognized its mistake and reintroduced the original formula as “Coca-Cola Classic,” which helped them regain the trust and loyalty of their customers.

‘Movement in a new direction helps you find cheese.’ This phrase can be related to that how adapting new ideas, trends, campaigns, and strategies can help a brand get its leadership or success back! Several brands have successfully adapted new strategies and achieved success after facing failure. One notable example is Apple, which experienced setbacks in the 1990s but made a remarkable comeback by introducing innovative products like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Another brand that rebounded from failure is Starbucks, which faced a decline in sales but managed to turn things around by rebranding itself as a premium coffee experience and focusing on customer satisfaction.

‘When you move beyond your fear, you feel free.’ This statement holds true in many aspects. Fear can often hold individuals back from taking risks or pursuing new opportunities. However, when one is able to overcome their fear and take action, they may experience greater success and fulfillment in their career. Additionally, facing and overcoming fears can also lead to personal growth and development, which can benefit not only the individual but also their business endeavours. Fevicol is a good example of how it has had a wide vision and how it has captured the market. Fevicol has efficiently personalized its products for different sections of the population, targeting different categories of people. Not only are the advertisements very entertaining but also, the products are very reasonable and have never shown a sharp rise in prices which retains their customers. All these factors helped the brand to rank first in its category all over Asia.

‘Imagining myself enjoying new cheese even before I find it, leads me to it! When marketers adapt this phrase, they find the cheese! This is because when we visualize our goals and dreams, we are able to create a clear path towards achieving them. By focusing on the positive outcomes, we are motivated to take action and make our vision a reality. Several Indian brands have successfully turned their dreams into reality. One such brand is Tata Group, which started as a small trading company in 1868 and has now become a global conglomerate with diverse businesses ranging from steel to automobiles. Another inspiring success story is that of Amul, a cooperative dairy brand that revolutionized the milk industry in India and became the largest producer of milk and milk products in the country. The brand started with the intention to help farmers sell their milk and is a great success today!

‘The quicker you let go of the old cheese, the sooner you find new cheese’ Businesses sometimes are unable to accept failure or downfall and hence they proceed with the same strategy at times which can be a threat as the world is changing. The quicker we accept that the change needs to be brought and we start our thought process for it, the sooner we can overcome the failure and rise again like a phoenix. One of the brands that did not change its strategy despite its failure is Kodak. Despite facing significant setbacks and declining market share, Kodak remained steadfast in its traditional film-based approach and failed to adapt to the digital revolution in the photography industry. Whereas on the other hand, Lego adopted a change in strategies after its failure. The significant change in Lego’s strategy after its failure was a shift towards embracing digital technologies and incorporating them into their products. This allowed Lego to stay relevant in an increasingly digital world and attract a new generation of tech-savvy consumers. Additionally, the company also focused on diversifying its product offerings beyond just traditional building sets, expanding into areas such as movies, video games, and theme parks to create a more immersive and engaging experience for its customers.

‘It is safer to search in the maze than remain in a cheeseless situation’ The phrase is about a situation when the four characters are looking for cheese in a maze. Instead of waiting at the same place and looking for cheese and proceeding with the same idea, it is safer to look for it in the maze as in to go out and look for options. Maggi, a popular instant noodle brand, faced a significant setback due to a failure in meeting food safety regulations. The failure resulted in the product being banned in several countries and facing severe backlash from consumers but in spite of all this, Maggi continued to work on its marketing and PR and is successful to regain its customers back. Nobody would have thought that the brand will find its cheese back!

‘Old Beliefs do not lead you to new cheese.’ This quote is about the importance of adapting to change and letting go of outdated ways of thinking. In order to find new opportunities and success, one must be willing to let go of old beliefs that may be holding them back. Gillette, a renowned brand in the grooming industry, has a rich and fascinating brand story. Founded in 1901 by King C. Gillette, the company revolutionized shaving with its invention of the first safety razor. This innovation not only made shaving safer and more convenient but also transformed the way men groomed themselves. Today, Gillette continues to be a leader in the market, offering a wide range of high-quality razors and grooming products that cater to the evolving needs of men worldwide.

‘When you see that you can find and enjoy new cheese, you change course.’ Widening perspectives, thought processes, and strategic ideas can make us lead to new success routes and unimaginable peaks. It is important to remain open-minded and willing to adapt in order to achieve success in today’s rapidly changing world. Embracing new opportunities and taking calculated risks can lead to unexpected achievements. ITC, a leading conglomerate in India, has a rich brand story that spans over a century. Founded in 1910, ITC started as the Imperial Tobacco Company of India Limited and has since diversified its portfolio to become a multi-business enterprise. Today, ITC is known for its strong presence in sectors such as FMCG, hotels, paperboards, and packaging, agri-business, and information technology. With a commitment to sustainable development and social responsibility, ITC continues to innovate.

‘Noticing small changes early, helps you adapt to bigger changes that are to come.’ This principle is especially important as markets and industries are constantly evolving. By staying vigilant and aware of shifts in consumer behaviour or emerging technologies, businesses can pivot their strategies and stay ahead of the competition. This proactive approach can ultimately lead to long-term success and growth. Dabur, a renowned brand, has a captivating story that dates back to 1884. It all began with Dr. S.K. Burman’s vision to bring the goodness of Ayurveda to every household in India. With a strong belief in the power of nature and traditional remedies, Dabur has been committed to providing natural and effective healthcare products for over a century. Today, it stands as one of the most trusted and recognized brands in the country, offering a wide range of products by continuously improvising and adapting to change.

Some of the amazing phrases in the book help us to widen our thought processes and accept situations. ‘Anticipate change, get ready for the cheese to move’, and ‘Enjoy change, savour the adventure and enjoy the taste of the new cheese’ sounds like silver linings of the cloud. The learnings that can be drawn from all the stories are rightly mentioned in the book:

‘Change, Move with the cheese’, ‘Change happens, they keep moving with the cheese’ ‘Be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again, they keep moving with the cheese’.

Dushyanti Ahire

Content writer

Arpita Palande

Graphic designer

Sanskruti Wani


4 thoughts on “<strong>Moving With the Cheese: Adapting the changing market</strong>”

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