Before social media, before modern digital marketing and before DCX and digital transformation, I spent much of the late 90s and early 2000s studying and experimenting with online influence. In February of 1999, I opened a lab to test and learn and in the process, was one of the many contributors to shape the future of digital marketing and customer engagement. Shortly after joining Altimeter Group in 2012, I shared all of the research I had collected and more and published the findings in a comprehensive report, “The Rise of Digital Influence.” In fact, that report is still considered the standard in understanding how people influence the impressions and actions of others online.
Customer experience aka CX is one of the most important trends changing business today. And, experts believe that it represents the next big competitive advantage for companies that invest in it. But what is customer experience exactly? It’s one of those terms (and movements) that is defined and interpreted differently depending on who’s talking about it within the organization. But without a common appreciation for customer experience and what it represents to customers, not just our view of them, our CX efforts may not be as effective as we think.
I study disruptive technology, specifically innovative technology that gains so much momentum that it disrupts markets and ultimately businesses. In the past several years, disruptive technology has become so pervasive that I’ve had to further focus my work on studying only disruptive technologies that are impacting customer and employee behavior, expectations and values and affecting customer and employee experiences. I can hardly keep up with today let alone consider the potential disruption that looms ahead in every sector imaginable including new areas that will emerge and displace laggard perspectives, models and processes.
The image above represents the focal point of my work in 2009 – 2012. I called it the “Wheel of Disruption” (WoD) and it was meant to document and convey that the “Golden Triangle” of real-time, mobile and social, surrounded by the cloud, was inspiring incredible innovation and thus producing new and disruptive new apps, tools and services.
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind since the launch of X. In the last two weeks, I’ve hosted conversations about the promise of experience design in London, Düsseldorf, Oslo, Sydney and Geelong.
Somewhere along the Atlantic, I was asked to answer a few questions ahead of my arrival in Geelong for the Pivot Summit by Courtney Crane of the Geelong Advertiser. Thanks to the magic (or curse) of inflight wifi, I was able to make her deadline. But it was more than a Q&A, it was the purpose of the conversation that stopped time to reflect on how this once bustling city is proactively investigating how to build upon its history to adapt for the future.
All customers are not created equal. This is also true for relationships. No business has the same relationship with their customers as you intend to have with yours. The thing is though, you must first define what a relationship with your customer looks and feels like and in turn, how they would describe it to their friends and colleagues. This is where the future of customer experience begins.
In a late 2013 study, Gallup found that only 13% of workers actually feel engaged at their jobs. What’s worse is that 63% of the workforce is not engaged at all. But wait, the news gets even more disheartening. An astounding 24%, one-quarter of the global workforce, is actively disengaged right now. Essentially we have a significant number of workers doing their best impression of corporate zombies who go through the everyday motions to collect a paycheck.
Change is in the air. With disruptive technologies hitting businesses from the outside in and the inside out, how companies invest in technology and ultimately how people use it to get work done is under significant re-evaluation. At the same time, the rising workforce clash between older and younger generations is also pushing HR to radically reform management processes and education programs.
Indeed, change is the air. In fact it’s imminent. But change is never programmatic nor is it ever easy. And, all too often, change is a reactive response to areas of disruption rather than a proactive step to head it off.
We’re under attack! Social, mobile, real-time, cloud, big data…it’s coming at us all at once! Rather than miss out, many brands are jumping from trend to trend as a way of staying relevant in an increasingly digital market.
Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Foursquare, Instagram, Pinterest…we’re covered. We have and had a strategy for a while now.
Mobile. Yep, we’ve got an app for that…plus we’ve got adaptive and responsive web design that makes old sites new again!
Snapchat…our brilliant strategy vanishes in 5,4,3,2,1.
Jelly? We’ve got the answer.
As editorial director and conference producer of The Pivot Conference, I have the privilege to meet with the people who are bringing about real change inside organizations. During the 2013 conference, I had the chance to interview Dr. Rebecca Harris (@RebeccaHarrisDr), who leads the Social Media Center of Expertise at General Motors in Detroit. Her role is all about transformation and integration as she works across brands and around the world on social strategy, social tools, social processes, points-of-view on multiple social topics, and overall integration between brands, divisions and countries.
Have you ever noticed that your Facebook News Feed is the digital equivalent to “It’s a Wonderful Life?” Perhaps you’ve likened your Instagram stream to that of “Lifestyles of the Digital Rich and Internet Famous.”
In each network, and across multiple social streams, you’re fed a visual buffet of seflies, travel, food, fashion, and celebrations. In assemblage, they tell the story of life well lived, or at least a life well curated. At the center of each of these experiences is the person living and sharing them in real time. Every day that passes, it seems that a growing network of our friends, family, and colleagues are charmed with this picturesque life.
Some may see this behavior as self-centered, self-promotional, or view it as a form of attention seeking, but at a human level, it’s simply a new form of self-expression and an open invitation to interact.