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Sarmistha Tarafder's Articles

Surfing the Waves that is Driving Contemporary Commerce.


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With all the thrill and charge of @superbowl50, few of us noticed that IBM, (in a span of one week) just made it's third acquisition this month . The gusto which which 'Big Blue' acquired these design and creative services businesses, begs you to think that something BIG is going on. 

The company long known for playing an iconic role in identifying emerging technologies and marketplace developments critical to the future of technology, is now evolving into a business of interactions and experiences. IBM ix, (Interactive Experience) —  with over 10,000 employees over 1,100 designers.

“The customer experience has become a new priority in modern business strategy,” said Paul Papas, Global Leader, IBM Interactive Experience. This almost reverberates the statement made by the Intel CEO, @CES2016 "We’re entering a new era in technology where consumers are choosing experience over products.” 

THESE TWO FORCES ARE PROPELLING MODERN COMMERCE

It is not, that the IBMs and the Intels are the only players to acknowledge this massive shift in mindset — the dictates of the boardroom pales in comparison to the personalized needs of the individuals. Other innovative brands are leading the way in defining the next generation of customer experience with a message that is bigger than their product offering and a personalized experience that anticipates the future needs of the customer and the needs of the community that the customer is nestled in.

 For example, Colgate takes up the big challenge of water conservation and demonstrates poignantly the perils of water wastage, as you go about doing your daily business. It beautifully illustrates it's brand attributes while building awareness in a planetary proportion. Not once, it talks about it's 'new and improved toothpaste'. The brand value is anchored with a hashtag #EveryDropCounts.

This shift from selling something tangible, to intangible is in keeping with Forrester research, that shows that consumers want to purchase from companies that embrace ethical practices. More broadly, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of company values and are opening their wallets when company values resonate with theirs. A global brand, such as Colgate has figured out how to pin the wallet with the yearnings of the heart.

 CONSUMER GENERATED SOCIAL CHATTER ABOUT COMPANY VALUES IS DEFINITELY ON THE RISE

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Colgate Tackles our Planetary Torment
with #EveryDropCounts
 
 
Rocket Mortgage Takes Friction out of
the Buying Process

Rocket Mortgage, on the other hand, takes the friction out of the buying process and paints the picture of a house filled with lamps and blenders and sectional couches... all this playing very well to the ease, imagination and personalization of their perspective buyers. It fills the buyers heart with the anitcipated pride of homeownership and the prosperity, that home ownership contributes to the connected economy. This is a great template for your small business marketing efforts. Think, how subscribing to your product helps your customers to be part of the big picture in a bigger way. 

THERE IS NO DENYING THAT THERE IS A SHIFT GOING ON

The features and benefits jumping out from the corporate glossy page or pushing the same product but tagged as 'new and improved' does not cut it any more. However, the sad part is, (depending how you look at it) you do not have to be selling something good, new or innovative. Do you think, anyone would care if bunch of ad campaigns would say,“Hey, buy some Red Bull, it’s really good.” Instead they say, “Hey, come to our music festival.” They highlight the celebration of your gateway to an experience, that is nothing short of immersive. They are using their creative canvas to provide you with a bigger experience. Hence, the tectonic "shift from talking at the world to making the world talk." (Jeff Beer)

 THE MESSAGE YOU WANT TO PROPAGATE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE PRODUCT YOU SELL

The Felix Baumgartner space jump, that Red Bull sponsored and watched by 8 million+ people watched live on YouTube, projects a message of high vitality that brings rapture to the Adrenaline seekers. Even their brand slogan says, "We give wings to people and ideas."... distinctively imaginative and effectively aggressive, given the fact that the brand has been banned by several countries over health concern.

 IT IS NOT ABOUT THE PRODUCT THAT YOU ARE PUSHING, IT IS THE PATRONAGE THAT YOU ARE OFFERING

Imagination and intellect that kickstarted the Renessaince in the 15th-century Florence owes it's space in history to one family: The Medicis. Though, most renowned for its' art patronage, they also pioneed crucial aspects of modern finance. They were "foreign exchange dealers" who enacted a "transfiguration of finance". Hence, when we look at Botticelli's Venus, we are looking at money.

Now, come back to our present game of the 21st century. One small upstate New York business, Death Wish Coffee Co. got a free access to the biggest platform in advertising @superbowl50 on Feb 7, 2016. Thanks to the patronage of another rising financial software company, Intuit. This patronage, gives the small business an audience of 100 million, valued at $5million; thus  enriching the company’s social proof and credibility by aligning itself with Intuit. On the other hand, this patronage provides hard proof, on how this financial brand, backs its' brand motivation of helping small businesses succeed. Intuit acts on this hard trend:
 

 “THERE IS NO COMMERCE WITHOUT COMMUNITY. AND THERE IS NO COMMUNITY WITHOUT COMMERCE”

 
Euphoric 'High' is at the Heart of Red
Bull's Brand Messaging
 
 
Intuit's Patronage Brings this Small
Business in the Forefront of 100M People

At the end of the day, if you are travelling the same and secured path that you have traversed before, particiapting at events and trade shows, without the necessary preparedness or for that matter a secured strategy in place, you are not going to create a breakthrough difference for your brand or or your gain.

© 2017 by Sarmistha Tarafder