WhatsApp's blue ticks and change management

Embrace, bypass or exploit?

WhatsApp’s latest update kicked in like a storm for the application's users. The issue of blue double tick marks on the message, indicating and confirming that a message has been seen by the recipient, created quite a commotion: perceived as a sort of invasion of privacy, the new release of the application didn't go well down with many users for obvious reasons.

But why should you care?

Here is what you can use in your business based on the WhatsApp issue: a valuable lesson in change management.

1. EMBRACE the change

Many users simply accepted the shift to the new notification system.

Lesson learned: when a major shift occurs in the framework of the tools you use, or, more generally, in your market, acknowledging and embracing change as part of a natural cycle is one way to react. This might mean you have to adapt your business paradigm to incorporate these changes: is your business prepared for that?

Things change, keep your business lean and flexible to adapt.

2. BYPASS the change

An important part of the WhatsApp community took drastic action. Hacks and workarounds that allow one to ‘mute’ and disable the blue ticks are currently available online, although they mostly come at the expense of another feature (e.g. completely muting the notification system, disable seeing as well as sending blue ticks notification, etc). Several users also shifted towards other applications - in the aftermath of the Whatsapp update, there's been an increase in the use of other messaging applications such the Facebook Chat, Viber and WeChat.

Lesson learned: while a certain degree of flexibility in the way you manage your business is certainly advisable, make sure that implementing an adaptation strategy is actually in your best interests. Assess your needs and check if the tool still meets your requirements. It doesn’t? Learn to let go. Or you do still need tool, see if the company that makes it has already foreseen any workarounds that might allow you to carry on as usual, or look out for similar applications that could replace the one you're using.

Know your needs, understand when it's time to let go.

3. EXPLOIT change

Telegram Messenger, Berlin-based application developed and produced by the founders of VK (the main social media in Russia), has benefited from unexpected exposure following the release of the double tick. Playing the part of defenders of privacy, Telegram Messenger allows users to send encrypted messages, photos and files and has some interesting features, like the option to destroy (recall) a sent message. WhatsApp’s temporary fall from grace was quickly exploited by Telegram Messeger, with the clever company poaching a number of unhappy WhatsApp users.

Lesson learned: One company’s faux pas could be an opportunity for you to grow. Use their mistake to your advantage if you can. Act quickly, backing up the stroke of luck with strategically orchestrated efforts; this will ensure that you maximize the opportunity to capitalize on change.

Keep your ears open, keep your business ready.

Does your business embrace, bypass or exploit change?

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