Red Queen Hypothesis for brands

23rd September 2014
Paul Bailey

There are wise words for businesses and brands from the slightly odd source of Lewis Carroll’s ‘Through the Looking-Glass’

‘Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.’ (the Red Queen)

The Red Queen Hypothesis is an evolutionary hypothesis which suggests that organisms must constantly adapt and evolve, not to gain an advantage but simply to survive in an ever-changing environment and against ever-evolving opposing organisms. It’s name was derived from the statement above by the Red Queen in ‘Through the Looking-Glass’. The hypothesis essentially says that co-evolution of successful species in nature suggests that all species involved are constantly evolving in order to retain the balance between them. When one species adapts, giving itself an advantage, the other must then adapt to survive.

Bringing this to the world of business and brands the correlation is hopefully clear. For brands, and businesses, to remain relevant and successful in their current environment, they must continually develop. Standing still is actually moving backwards. Although I am a firm believer in cooperation between businesses there is always going to be an element of competition between businesses with similar propositions. Remaining relevant for an ever-changing environment means that businesses and brands must constantly adapt and evolve, be in perpetual development.

More on the Red Queen Hypothesis

Illustration by John Tenniel
Image 2 © Bee Collins