Being prepared for an earthquake or tornado is extremely difficult given how fast they strike, with little to no warning at all. Essentially, you are given a few minutes to grab your family and get to an area of cover, pray and hope for the best. Couple the sudden factor and sheer power of these events, the outcome is particularly challenging to predict.
Hurricanes are much different. The majority of hurricanes are predicted days or weeks in advance as they take shape and form over oceans thousands of miles from land. Weather experts and computer models predict possible paths, wind strength and the like. While difficult to achieve pinpoint accuracy, the population is given enough warning to prepare for the incoming storm – whether it be boarding up windows and doors, or sand-bagging rivers and streams.
If you’re part of the business ‘population’, (whether providing services, products or both) you may already be aware of a predicted hurricane on the horizon. Already forming and taking shape, Hurricane Consumer will be here in 2020, and it will be bigger and more powerful than you can imagine. While some have made preparations already, there are certainly many dragging behind. But, there is time still left to prepare.
In a recent Inc.com article, entitled, 20 Quotes on How Your Business Must Change by 2020, John Brandon presents a collection of 20 expert insights across such topics as augmented reality, mobility, transparency in culture, rapid learning, and millennials. Without question, the common thread headline is that the power is shifting to consumers and customers, forcing brands to ensure that virtually every aspect of their future strategies are customer-centric.
Among several, Brian Solis offers the following insight: “Businesses that place people and what they feel, think, do and share as a priority in not just product design but overall marketing and business strategy outperform those who don’t. It’s about a journey that knows no end – only how to keep the passengers delighted and valued.”
Along similar lines, Augie Ray adds that in the future, organizations will need to leverage social media (among other channels) to deliver a better customer experience. And, even further, Sebastian Kemmler adds that retail store design should be optimized to produce “shareable content” so much so that retailers begin measuring posts per square foot / meter, not just revenue per sq foot / meters. Ray and Kemmler’s comments really lift the strategic importance of social media in how organizations will be required to shape better customer and employee relationships.
And, if you need more proof that social media is worth your precious time and investment……according to the Content Marketing Institute, 78% of Americans say social media impacts their purchasing decisions. What’s more, 74% of marketers saw an increase in traffic from spending just 6 hours on social media. Organizations will need to see social as more than the latest fad or simply part of a checklist of daily tasks if they want to compete and survive through 2020. Additionally, I would argue that organizations need to see content creation and curation as a pillar in their digital strategy if they want further separation from competing brands.
So, the big challenge is how to be sure your business is prepared for this hurricane. To help you focus your efforts, I’ve organized a hurricane-readiness kit consisting of 2 big themes with the critical topics needed to move your teams into action:
Digitization of Everything
- If you don’t already have a person on your board of directors or advisory board with expertise in the digital space, you should. If you don’t have a board, perhaps this is a seat on your executive team. The bottom-line is that you need high-level commitment via expertise and experience to move digital into a priority seat for your organization now. Are you digital?
- From homes to cars and everything in between, more of the products we use in our everyday life will be ‘connected’. You need a cross-functional task force charged with looking closely at how to make your products and services ‘smart’, allowing more habit-forming engagement for your customers/consumers. If everything we do in 2020, comes at the touch or swipe of a finger, you need to be there or risk being left out in the cold. What parts of your business are ‘smart’? Could that be an opportunity for new engagement?
Put your brand at their fingertips.
Personalization of Everything
- Everybody in the organization needs to be an extension of customer service, including sales, marketing, operations, finance, etc. Everybody exists to personalize the experience for the customer. Personalization can show up in the form of products that can be individualized to consumer tastes, certain preferences in shipping methods, interactions on social media, etc. All a result of knowing him and / or her better. How well do you know your customer?
- Developing a more individualized experience for your consumers may represent opportunity “numero uno”. And it starts with knowing your customer better than your competition does so you can tweak, shape and form the entire, end-to-end experience with your organization. You need a cross-functional task force in this area to develop a thorough purchasing journey map to really know how to leverage all of the tools at your fingertips to deliver the ultimate experience for your customer, from the design of your products to how they are marketed, purchased and shared. Are you designed to delight?
- I really believe you need to seriously consider a content creation strategy if you haven’t already. Under personalization of everything, your current customers are your brand, so include them in your content creation.
Design everything to delight.
So, in closing, perhaps this is your warning bell to begin making changes in your organization? By 2020, the consumer will have very different expectations of brands, from how we design products and services to how we deliver the complete experience.
Get to know your customer or consumer inside and out, as by the time 2020 rolls around, your entire organization will be designed to delight….beyond anything we’ve ever seen before.
A hurricane is coming.
Are you prepared?
If you need help developing a strategy to prepare your business for this hurricane, NOW is the time. Contact us here for a FREE strategy audit and we can get started. We have one consulting spot left for May & June – we would love to serve your organization in these critical areas!
If you want more insight on some of the strategies that will help prepare your business for the pending hurricane, download our FREE strategy e-book or our FREE strategy training course. Both will inspire you with fresh insight and ideas, ready for implementation.