Archive for the ‘consumer revolution’ tag
Do you realize that “digital Darwinism” (when society and technology evolve faster than a company’s ability to adapt) is a threat to each and every business (including yours)?
Whether you’re a marketer, a business professional or an entrepreneur, it is your job to figure out why consumers connect and how their social conversations influence your brand.
In his book, The End of Business as Usual, Brian Solis cautions that businesses that embrace and adapt to the revolution will survive the perpetual threat of digital Darwinism—and those that do not will die!
Good examples of the effects of digital Darwinism are Blockbuster, Borders and Circuit City.
When Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in 2010, analysts acknowledged that its predicament had more to do with the drastic shift in “how people watch video” than with their financial issues.
Blockbuster made the mistake of showing indifference to their customers’ collective experiences and refusing to adapt to their needs.
Meanwhile, Netflix was already embracing the culture of innovation and turning home video into a delightful experience. Best of all, there were no strings attached, no late fees or due dates.
The moral of the story is that when businesses underestimate the power of the connected consumer or mistakenly presume to have control of the brand, it’s only a matter of time before “the end of business as usual.”
Here’s what you should know about Brian Solis’ new book.
Brian Solis wrote this book to demonstrate how our digital culture is changing the landscape of business, consumerism and the workplace, and what YOU should do about it.
He hopes that the insights you gain from his book will teach you how to embrace new media in order to become a more competitive, more successful business.
What to Expect
The End of Business as Usual is all about a new era of business. An era in which information (social media) has drastically changed the landscape, disrupted markets and put the connected consumer in charge. It is an era in which businesses must either “adapt or die!”
With 20 chapters (283 pages) of weighty concepts and projections (all supported by research, quotes, statistics, graphs and passionate arguments), it’s no surprise that the book gets a little intense at times. It should therefore be read in small, digestible chunks and with pen and paper handy.
You will be introduced to interesting concepts such as:
- Social consumerism
- The connected consumer
- “Youthquake”—how the Millennial generation has become a powerful force of influence and consumerism
- Your audience as an audience with audiences
- The co-creation of brands
- How digital influence creates a new “world order”
#1: Youth quake
This fascinating chapter talks about the Millennial generation (those born between mid-1970s and the late 1990s) and why they should matter to every brand.
According to a study done by Edelman Digital in February 2011, this generation has an incredibly high level of brand loyalty. Specifically:
- 70% of Millennials feel that once they find a company or product they like, they will keep coming back
- 58% are willing to share more personal information with trusted brands
- 86% will share their brand preference online
- Nearly 20% of Millennials attended a brand-sponsored event in the last 30 days
- Of those who attended, 65% purchased the featured product
Beyond their growing influence as consumers, they are also assuming the role of self-ordained experts. Forty-seven percent of Millennials write about their positive experiences with companies and products online (on blogs and social media sites). On the flip side, 39% share negative experiences with their social networks as well.
The point is that no brand can afford to disregard the Millennial generation. They have money, they’re influential and they’re making decisions. The technology that is part of their DNA and their social network—even when they’re sleeping—is always within arm’s reach!
#2: An Audience With an Audience of Audiences
If you’ve ever presented at a live event, you’re probably acquainted with this audience. As you speak, you notice that their laptops, tablets and smartphones—originally intended for note-taking—are now being used as a portal to share experiences with their fans or followers. You look up hoping to catch their attention, only to see eyes dipped into their devices and the battle for eye contact is lost!
The audience of today is not the audience we think we know. Today’s audience has the ability to capture each moment through text, video, audio or still images and share them in real time with the hundreds or thousands of individuals in their social graphs.
This is the connected consumer. He or she is connected with other people in vast networks that are rich with interaction. Indeed, the social graphs that connected consumers create are increasingly interconnected, resulting in audiences that also have audiences of their own.
The good news is that your message will go well beyond those in the room and possibly spark a global conversation that might continue to reverberate for weeks.
Side note: A good example of how connected consumers can quickly spread their message to a global audience is the Facebook page Israel Loves Iran. Within days of its creation in March 2012, the page drew a huge worldwide audience (currently over 60,000 fans) including the support of over 1000 Iranians and 10,000 Israelis.
#3: The Co-creation of Brands
In this new social landscape that we live in, the customer plays a critical role in the dilution or reinforcement of a brand’s identity. Each brand experience triggers an encounter that is rich with emotion. Updates, posts, tweets and other forms of self-expression become the platforms for these experiences.
The effects of these shared experiences on social media are extremely powerful. For example, here’s what one airline executive discovered in an online conversation where customers were talking about his brand:
This airline sucks. When I checked in, I was told, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing we can do about bumping you off this flight or losing your luggage.” Really? Well not only did you just lose a customer, I’m going to go out of my way to ensure that no one I know flies with you again.
When such experiences are shared on social networks and everywhere else (both online and offline), they act as guides for other consumers seeking input and direction from peers and experts.
So the pertinent question is not “Who owns the brand?” but rather “Who owns the customer relationship, or who owns the customer experience?” Therefore, as they set out to engage with consumers, brands should design experiences based on what they learn through customer sharing and customer reviews.
#4: Digital Influence and Social Capital
Influence is all the rage these days. Everybody is talking about it and services such as Klout, mBlast, Tweetlevel and so on, are busy measuring your level of digital influence based on your activity on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
By scoring influence, these services create a social hierarchy where you are ranked against other individuals based on your capacity to influence those who follow you. Social consumers receive a score based on what they do within social networks, who they know, and the activity that follows their interaction.
Brands have taken an interest in this concept because it represents an opportunity to engage connected consumers who are beyond the reach of traditional media. They can use this information to influence the behavior of “desirable consumers.”
Consumers on the other hand see this as an opportunity to earn higher scores, gain status, power and recognition and also earn free products, promotions or deals.
The End of Business as Usual is a very intense book. I read it over a period of two weeks and I find that I will have to revisit it in order to really grasp some of the details.
A lot of the information you will read is relevant and immediately applicable to your business brand; for example, the whole idea of connected consumerism. But other parts of the book may not be applicable right away, especially if you’re a small business owner. An example is Chapter 18, which talks about business models and CRM.
Regardless, it’s a good idea to become familiar with these concepts and then make a mental note to refer back to them at a later date when they are more relevant to your business.
One thing that bothered me though was the idea that our “always-on” culture (i.e., the intense need to be constantly connected with one another through social media) will eventually invade and disrupt our homes, our family time and dinner conversations and will finally redefine “acceptable behavior.” Maybe I’m just not ready for this to happen.
Overall, this is a fascinating book, rich with new data and research, but sometimes it’s overwhelming because there’s just so much to learn. If you read it in small chunks, mark it up with notes and refer to it often, you will get a ton of value from it.
As usual, Brian Solis has done a great job and Social Media Examiner gives this book a 4.5 star rating.
What do you think? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.
Image from iStockPhoto.
Because she is a customer experience expert, she was especially interested in what Brian had to say about the connected customer and where business is going because of it.
When I mentioned I was writing a review of the book, she asked if she could join in.
Jeannie reviews it from the customer experience angle and I review it from the leadership angle.
What Jeannie Says
I expected to skim this book. I admit it. And it’s the kind of book I would describe as “dense.”
I’ve followed Brian for a while now and he never lacks real information backed up with actual research.
This is my favorite book by him so far. My recommendation is to take some time with it. It pays off.
The thing about this book, and the message it conveys throughout, is that it applies to not only marketers or social media types, but to any leader in business. And it’s filled with good examples, insightful graphs, relevant (and surprising) charts and more.
The basic message – companies now must adapt to the consumer revolution or die – is articulated in such a way that I hope it appeals to not just the change-agent marketers but to the entire executive suite.
Of course, from my perspective, this is good news. Customer experience is something I discuss daily, and too often it is defined inside the walls of a company as exactly what they happen to be delivering at that moment. “We are a software company, and as long as we are selling software, we’re delivering a great experience!”
The definition in this book is vast.
Customer experience has little to do with your product and more to do with your customer. Your customer is changing daily. So you better adapt to their behaviors or fall into the digital graveyard of Circuit City and Borders.
The study of how we, each of us, as customers, has changed the game is what makes this so compelling.
After all, nobody told the Millennials to get on the technology bandwagon, they just live there.
We turn to our friends and families for referrals the most, but we do it now through social networks – sometimes, depending on our age and other factors.
The world is not linear anymore.
Brian’s definition of “the connected customer” is the closest I’ve seen to reality.
There are a lot of gems in this book, including how to differentiate the segments of the connected customer population and what steps to take to truly engage at each level with your own customers.
But the best part is the intelligent discussion about customer experience without demonizing companies.
It is a hopeful book, intended to help anyone in business understand they are co-creating the experience with their customers, not creating an “us vs. them” culture.
Go get it! And get some coffee. You’ll be up for some time.
What Gini Says
It’s not a surprise that a book by Brian is … dense. And heady. And highly intelligent. And filled with charts and graphs that support his thinking, as well as research compiled with several companies.
It’s also not a book for those of you already working in a customer-centric business.
What? You’re not already working in a customer-centric business? This book is for you, then.
What I find most interesting are the company examples he uses.
We’re all accustomed to reading about Zappos and what they did with the social web very early on to attract customers who quickly became brand ambassadors.
Nearly 500 Zappos employees use Twitter and they boast millions of followers.
This isn’t a surprise. Most of us already know this story. What is a surprise is the focus on a new type of CEO, one that focuses on designed user or customer experiences.
One that focuses on designed experiences.
Brian describes the E in CEO as standing for “experience.” He says the late Steve Jobs (Apple), Brian Dunn (Best Buy), Michael Dell (Dell), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), and Richard Branson (Virgin) all belong in this elite club of executives because they know, and have, how to create customer-centric businesses.
Businesses that aren’t ruled by the customer, but listen to, and take feedback from, those who buy and refer business.
It’s not a book about social media. It’s not even a book about PR and marketing. It’s a book about changing your business to focus on the customer. Not in a way that will detract from your growth, but in a way that supports and enhances the customer experience.
It’s time to sit up and pay attention. Customers don’t want to talk to the middle man. As was evidenced this week with Susan G. Komen, customers don’t want to be censored.
Customers want to talk to you and it’s time to figure out how to let them…no matter if you sell direct to consumers or not.
Jeannie Walters is a customer experience investigator (a title she has trademarked) and is the owner of 360Connext. She blogs (not often enough, according to Gini) in the same spot. You can follow her on Twitter at @jeanniecw.
I always get a little suspicious when I hear someone proclaim “The End Of…” something related to marketing. See here. And there’s nothing subtle about the title of Brian Solis’ new book, The End of Business As Usual: Rewire the Way You Work To Succeed In the Consumer Revolution.
While other folks do a better job of shouting about change at the top of their lungs, Solis is much more methodical. So the structure of the book is quite instructional, from outlining the new ways people connect to providing a framework for the way sales cycles function these days.
That said, I’m a little curious as to who this book is meant for. There’s nothing here that’s incredibly new, and not much that hasn’t already been said many times over on blogs and in business publications. Solis does have a way of presenting all the information very well and very comprehensively, making this book worthwhile. But are there people out there who still don’t get it? Even companies who don’t incorporate social very well probably understand that they should be expanding their marketing methods. There’s just a legion of obstacles in the way.
One thing I will say, is that the actual old-school hardcover paper version of The End of Business As Usual is chock full of pictures, infographics, and screen captures that help illustrate the point. So I can’t say whether the Kindle version packs as much punch. But if you need a good stocking stuffer for the CEO or CMO who’s been asleep at the switch for too long, consider this book.
Special thanks to Wiley for providing me with a review copy.
I’m a bit late in reviewing Brian Solis’s great book, The End of Business As Usual: Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution (amazon affiliate link). He’s done a good job in this book of being pretty thorough, of having some deep thoughts, and illustrating them both with words plus, well, good illustrations. I find the book useful, engaging, and definitely worth checking out. Here’s a video review:
Can’t see the video? Click Here.
Check out the book here:
Brand essence, however, is felt.”
These are the words that begin the fourth section in chapter 14 of Brian Solis’ new book, The End of Business As Usual: Rewire the Way You Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution.
Solis, a new media thought leader and author, describes brand essence as something that exists in our hearts—a thought or a feeling, versus a logo or trademark. Solis discusses the importance of defining your brand essence, something I believe is crucial in your inbound marketing efforts, and with good reason.
An article in Science Business reported that American adults created 565,000 new businesses last year. This is the highest level of entrepreneurship seen in over the past 15 years, according to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Index of Entrepreneurial Activity. This exemplifies the need for startup companies to ensure their brand essence is defined and has the ability to be communicated across various mediums—otherwise, they’ll simply get lost in all the clutter!
Similarly, companies that have been around for decades need to take the time to reexamine the definition of what their brand essence is. Chances are, your out-of-date brand message can succeed in communicating via outbound methods, but not inbound strategies. And to survive in the era of internet marketing, your brand essence needs to be able to survive communicating on all the new platforms of engagement that have emerged.
Solis provides a “Brand Essence Exercise” to assist your company in establishing what your brand essence truly is. Below are the 9 criteria involved in the Brand Essence Exercise, as described by Solis in his book:
Solis’ 9 Criteria for Establishing Brand Essence
1. Focus: Find one or two words that define the brand. Deliver a unique experience, and document what it is you want to evoke.
2. Feeling: Describe what it is you want a consumer to feel when he/she comes into contact with your brand.
3. Individuality: In these communities, brands are people, too, and necessary to stand alone. The key here is uniqueness and charm.
4. Experiential: When a consumer experiences a product or service, what is the encounter eliciting?
5. Consistency: What a brand conveys now and every day. It is also a call to ensure that the brand team is structured in a way that allows it to deliver as promised.
6. Credibility: Aligning the brand essence with experiences and righting the course of engagement and transformation when necessary. (This is discussed further in Chapter 15).
7. Longevity: Is the essence designed to last, something that can stand the test of time, and patient regardless of medium?
8. Personal: Something personal that people aspire to embrace and be a part of; something that speaks to them.
9. Portable: A strong understanding of how emotion is transferable across networks.
The Brand Essence Exercise can help a business of any size define what the true essence—the soul, spirit, and nature—of its brand is. Identifying what this crisp message is will pave the path for seamless customer engagement throughout the various communication stages that have manifested online. (Remember, for your brand to succeed, it must engage with its audiences online. Effectively.)
Defined brand essence = positive online customer engagement = inbound marketing success.
This is only a small exercise in the bigger picture of understanding the new consumer landscape. Solis’ 20-chapter book hit shelves and online bookstores today, focusing on the convoluted information revolution, how it is changing our industry’s future, and what you can do about it. Business As Usual was written for anyone who hopes to comprehend this changing field, or for anyone hoping to truly challenge themselves in helping construct the future of business as usual.
What can you infer from the Brand Essence Exercise? What else can you learn about inbound marketing from Solis’ new book?
Connect with HubSpot:
It’s with great pleasure, and a little bit of nervousness, that I announce the official availability of my new book, The End of Business as Usual.
Business, government, music, finance, publishing, everything is changing. We have a unique role in all of this as we are stakeholders in not only defining the need for change, but we are also responsible for leading transformation within our organizations. We are the architects, the mediators, and the sherpas to a new era of relevance and empowerment.
The End of Business as Usual explores the rise of the connected consumer, their effect on the bottom line, and how organizations can adapt to effectively compete for their attention, their business or contribution, and most importantly, their loyalty. The book examines how leading companies are finding success with connected customers. And, the lessons, case studies, and best practices contained within will help readers earn the support of organizational leaders by identifying growth opportunities and prioritizing where to invest time and resources. The result is creating an adaptive foundation for businesses to not only build relationships with connected customers, but improve customer AND employee relationships overall. As the subtitle states, we must rewire the way we work to succeed in what really is nothing short of a consumer revolution.
I would love your support and also your help in spreading the word. It’s an important book at an important time. It’s a new era of business and consumerism and YOU play a role in defining where it goes from here.
Click to order from your favorite bookstore…
Photo Credit: Ken Yeung
In preparation for the launch of my next book, I’m proud to share that v1 of the site is now live at EndofBusiness.com.
About the book:
TODAY’S BIGGEST TRENDS- the mobile web, social media, gamification, real-time- have forced us to rewire the way we think about and run our businesses. Consumers are creating a new digital culture, shifting business landscapes one tweet at a time. New networks have created an ever- expanding “egosystem,” in which everyday people believe their lives deserve 24-hour broadcasts. But now, we need to decipher the significance of this behavior and understand where the social and mobile web are headed. At the heart of all of this, a new breed of consumer is emerging—and they’re changing the very foundation of business.
The End of Business As Usual explores each layer of this complex consumer revolution that is changing the future of business, media, and culture. As consumers connect with one another, a vast and efficient information network takes shape and begins to steer experiences, decisions, and markets. It is nothing short of disruptive.
The End of Business as Usual is available for pre-order now.
Earlier this year, I announced that I was writing another book. I left clues here and there, but I had yet to officially announce the title or the focus of the book. The truth is that I didn’t want to give readers of Engage 2 the impression that I was ready to move on.
So finally, it is with great pleasure that I share with you the name and also the semi-final draft of the book’s cover.
Officially introducing, “The End of Business as Usual.”
An Excerpt from the Cover
The End of Business As Usual explores each layer of the complex consumer revolution that is changing the future of business, media, and culture. As consumers further connect with one another, a vast and efficient information network takes shape and begins to steer experiences, decisions, and markets. It is nothing short of disruptive.
The End of Business As Usual will change the way you view the world of business, from sales and marketing to customer service and product development to leadership and culture.
More to come…
Thank you once again for your support over the years and also thank you to the wonderful team at Wiley.