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Sarmistha Tarafder's Articles

Survival Manifesto: End of Business As Usual!


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We have reached a point in human evolution where society and technology is moving at a tremendous velocity. The scary part: our brains are not designed to evolve this fast.
“The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology. And it is terrifically dangerous, and it is now approaching a point of crisis overall.”
E.O Wison

If you are in the B2B Business or in the B2C business here are two books that are must read for your survival. It will question your business strategy arm you expansive insights. Rebecca Costa in her book, The Watchman's Rattle: Thinking Our Way Out of Extinction, writes how ancient civilizations collapsed because they hit a cognitive limitation. Are we headed for a similar collapse? Can it be prevented?


Brain Solis, on the ther hand, explores the concept of "digital darwinism"– the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than one’s ability to adapt. In his book,  End of Business As Usual, he talks about the persistent pounding of technology, including social, mobile, and real time web. He says, brand executives have a hard time appreciating what needs to change because they don’t live their brand the way their customers do, and if they don’t live it they can’t understand why adapting to evolving audience expectations is so important.
 
 

"Technologies change, people change, users change. You have to be there to adapt to it or else you will be making cassettes when the CD comes around." Seth Porges, Cloth mobile app.

Even a decade ago, "digitizing" our personal connections was downright unthinkable. The technology simply did not exist. Today, the story is different. We have the technology to deliver the right message to the person precisely the right time. And this has fundamentally change the way we do business…. again, one more time. Society in general is experiencing a technological tipping point. The convergence of big data, social listening and integrated tracking tools have made traditional, interruption marketing a thing of the past.

Today the striving goal of marketers is to personalize their audience based on who they are and what they want, or need. Rather than "one-size-fits-all", your various touch points is tailored towards the individual at that moment in time. In other words, marketing is about humanizing the interaction. It is about "one-to-one" interaction. It is about crafting messages and approaches that will deliver your customers most value and thus motivate them to buy.

"In most companies, creating marketing that customers want is a colossal shift from the norm and, even though they want to do it, psychological and operational barriers stand in the way. Making your company inherently useful without expecting an immediate return is in direct opposition to the principles and business deeply ingrained at all levels." Jay Bayer
 

 

In an age of empowered consumers, you design experiences, period.

Start your brand marketing by building a strong foundation: Your brand and your visitor experience starts with your own people, your employees. They are your brand ambassadors. "Make what you stand for and what you promise explicit, then make sure it's clearly and consistently communicated and that the implications are understood."  If you are exhibiting at trade shows, have a clear understanding WHY? What is it that you stand for and what is your promise? You do not have have to have the most novel product to sell. You do have to cater a novel experience for people to take away.

Be Anchored on a Strong Vision: A strong vision serves as Roadmap and guides every aspect of your business by describing what you need to accomplish in order to continue achieving sustainable, quality growth. Create a vision that galvanizes your employees. People like to feel that what they are doing really matters. They are inspired by a shared vision, working towards a common goal. Trust me, your clients and prospects will clue on to this as they walk in your exhibiting space. This is somethng that cannot be faked.

Identify, engage, and nurture your brand advocates: "Brand Advocates are not just your biggest fans; they are your most satisfied customer who are most likely to recommend your brand without being paid to do so" Your brand doesnot have to be the biggest, the best or the sexiest. But, your brand has the potential to be highly recommended by hearly half of your customers. So, identify and serve your brand advocates. Host a special event for your brand advocates at the venue.

Align your business, brand, and customer experience strategies: Your brand sets customer expectations. Experience is how those expectations are met or not. For example, "If your brand is 'cheap and disposable,' manufacture your products so they can be disposed of easily. There are market needs everywhere." So, you see how your brand and your customer experience is closely tied to your business strategy.

Strive for Authenticity: Explosive growth of social networks and rapid mobile phone adoption have given rise to "in the moment" communication. “Companies that market to consumers in a way that is authentic and locally relevant to the moment have a distinct advantage over companies that merely broadcast the same message over these new channels.” If you are exhibiting at trade shows, you have a distinct adavantage of catering to 'in the moment', location based authentic messaging. Authenticity creates customer loyalty and drives confidence

Face it. Your Brand is no longer yours: It used to be that companies were the keeper their brands. Not any more. Today, the relationship between you and your customer is intensely more complicated. The experience of your brand must be in alignment with your customer expectation. If not, it will be effortlessly broadcasted across the channels. (47% of the millenials share their positive experience online and a whopping 39% share negative encounters.)

Emotional Experience of Your Brand: Research states that rational thinking is used to justfy decisions based on emotions. Meaning, if your brand makes an emtional connection with your consumers, they will find ways to reward you with a relationship. Each touch point evokes a set of emotions that each consumer intuitively measures against his or her brand expectations. Face-to-face makering is a a great way to make an emotional conection. The earlier you make this emotional connection, the better. “Because once consumers have decided they like a particular option, the more difficult it is for them to backpedal. Their thinking falls in line with the emotions.”

As, Brian Solis says, we are all in competition. Competing for attention, competing for relelevance, competing for the moment. In an age of socially "connected consumers," when we have have all become curators, carefully choosing the experiences that moves us, to cater to the audiences of our audiences and hopefully, those who in turn follow them, "brands are either part of the conversation or they’re not and as a result, they’re either part of the decision-making cycle or they’re absent from the heart, mind, and actions of the connected customer."

 
 

© 2014 by Sarmistha Tarafder