Why knowing your digital stage matters! 5 Simple quetions.

Digital Era

It only took 50 years for internetaccess to become a fundamental human right!  They way internet, and by extention, digital has transformed business is enormous.  With the rise of the commercial internet in the 90-ies, companies were the first to jump the internet train.
In the (web) 1.0 era – the internet era – companies devolleped websites to connect with their customer. At least that was what they tought….what they realy did was, put out a digital leaflet of their company.  Less or no interaction was implemented…although looks changed, most websites are still stuck in this model.
When social media took the stand in 2005, this changed!  Companies had the opportunity to connect with their customers more directly – (web) 2.0-era.  At first, companies struggled with the direct interaction of their customers. As years passed on more companies are experimenting with the use of social or direct media channels to service their customers (needs).
Mobile – (web) 4.0-era – devices triggered this interaction even more and empowered customers to connect in real-time and collaborate on a scale as never (seen) before.
In the meantime digital technology evolved even more and enabled machines to start communicating with other machines in a more autonomous way – (web) 3.0.

What’s next? Singularity? … We’ll see.

If your brand wants to enter the digital era of the next phase, it might be important to detect which digital stage your brand is in.

Five easy questions to answer and check which stage your brand is in.

  1. Are other digital devices helping you in the proces of communication with your customer? (in an autonomous way)
    No, than you did not enter the 3.0 era yet.
  2. Does your brand use any other digital (mobile f.i.) communication channel?
    No, than you have not entered the 4.0 era yet.
  3. Do you interact with your customer (in real-time)?
    No, than you have not entered the 2.0 era yet.
  4. Does my website offer more than just information (or a-synchronous communication)?
    No, than you’re probably in the 1.0 internet era.
    You can asked yourself the next question: Can I improve my customer service by interacting in real-time?
  5. Do you have a website?
    No, than you probably have not entered the digital era yet.
    You can asked yourself the next question: Is it still relevant for me to start with a website?

In which stage are you taking your brand next?

For more in dept reading on the digital stages you can always check my page Web 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, … A birds eye on a defenition.

Image credit (and further reading): https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/collaborative-economy-sets-stage-autonomous-jeremiah-owyang

Posted in Flat Author

Building brands with digital in the core (2) – Your customer is taking over!


A second shift in the digital world is the changed customer relationship. Before the world became digital, brands were forced to use media, communication and organization based on a push model. In the digital world your customer is taking over, and the model is changed into a pull model.
A lot of organizational and communication elements of your customer journey are outsourced to the customer. It all started with the first stage of digitalization in the nineties, web 1.0, when your customer could get (better?) informed before he entered the marketing funnel. In the second stage he’s getting influenced by peers and other users of your brand via social media and the participating web (web 2.0 ). In the next stage organization is pushed forward to customer, the customer is put in charge of different parts of the customer journey (and he doesn’t mind!)
Besides customer centric it’s also cost efficient. A self-service model tends to be 8 times cheaper than a full service model.

Case – Brussels Airlines
Airlines, like Brussels Airlines f.i., give the customer full control of their travel journey. It’s starts with the online ticket purchase, followed by the online check-in. You add your boarding card to your phone, and even check your luggage in by yourself (self bagage drop-off). It’s a true self service model. The customer doesn’t mind being in charge when the service (or product) is as frictionless as possible. He’s experiencing your brand when- and however he wants it!  I just love being in control!
In cases like this your customer in not depending on opening hours of a travel agency, the cue at the check-in counter or bagage drop-off, seat selection, …true customer centricity.
Read more ›

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Flat Business

Building brands with digital in the core! (1) – Influence

Schermafbeelding 2016-01-25 om 20.54.52

Today, brands face a huge challenge! Sticking out! Back in the days (and those days are not so long ago 10 to 15 years) a good product would sell by itself. With the support of traditional media channels (TV, Radio, Newspapers and Mail) you would create awareness regarding your astonishing product and attract your customer into the traditional marketing funnel (awareness, interest, desire & action).
Today your product (and brand) face a different challenge.  Changed media usage, and a huge overflow of information makes it hard for a brand to stick out or get noticed.

Your customer forces your brand to be rebuild with digital in the core. Digital will enable your brand to reach it’s customers (again) and get your (brand) purpose across. 

To understand how digital (social) media you need to understand how the social graph works.
Your customer operates in a social graph in which he get’s influenced regarding he’s commercial behavior.
 The social graph maps every person’s connections to one another and he’s relation to those persons.  An average social graph (of a human being) consists of 4 groups of people (based on family, shared experience and/or life-stage) and holds between 50 to 150 relations.  5 of those relations are ‘strong ties’. These unidirectional  strong ties are people who influence you, and support your commercial behavior.  Most of the time these are like minded people. Therefor your ‘weak ties‘ come in to feed you with (the) new(est) information.  
A brand should focus on how to reach out to those people who are of influence of you.
The old celebrity influence model is out, since they’re not part of an average social graph.  The new influence model focusses on (average) people who are of influence in their netwerk. Home bloggers can be called a good examples of influencers in an average network.  
Average people reflect to them as if it could be themselves, and are therefor influenced.  Your brand could work out small campaigns in support of those home bloggers to get there brand (product) across.  A PR-model approach were you feed bloggers incentives to write about is.
Read more ›

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Flat Business

Fun, Feelings and Peer Armies serve your (lazy) customer. Take-aways after 1 day of trendseminar (3/3) #TrendSemAMS


1 Day trendseminar – 6 key take-aways on making your organisation future proof!

–disclaimer: Are this the only elements to make your organisation future proof? No, off course not! It’s all about detecting changes around you (and not only in your market), and adapting them to your organisation.–

Key 1 – Your customer is demographicaly undefined!
Key 2 – Needs over behaviour, behaviour over technology
Key 3 – New-ism is multiplying expectations to serve instant gratification in a hyper-personal world
Key 4 – Your customer wants guilt free indulgence to show-off!

Key 5 – Fun is where your (lazy?) customer is.

Don’t take everything to serious! …. A brand experience should be fun and engaging, without to many effort. Your customer wants to be treated as a lazy customer. Little effort, maximum result….and if possible connected with your brand, peers or others. Push for pizza, snapdonate, ThisisL.,…. are all examples the serve the lazy customer, but also make you laugh a bit!

Even serendipity can be used as a key element to surprise your customer. TWorlds app connects you and your pictures with others around the world bases on your activities, location, …. It’s fun!
In another way this lazy connected customer is very powerful ….and connects your brand with its peer, creating peer armies. Peer armies empower your brand, to serve your customers. Tap into their life, use their powers like Skol did during the World Cup in Brazil when they asked their Brazilian customers to be the host for world-wide visitors to the World Cup, or maybe you’re more familiar with AirBnB where the peer army sets you up with an alternative to hotel stay!

Key 6 – A compelling brand is still about feelings and not about technology.

Feelings over technology, it’s about you treat your customer, and how he treats you! Your customers can be real brand fanatics, if you treat them well….strange things happens when your customers really cares about you! Ikea allowed it’s customers to dress-up like their favorite product, share the experience and get the product for free. Would you be in for a masquerade into a lamp? 127 Malaysian fans did! Or as Reebok did, when they asked their true (crossfit) fans to get a Reebok tattoo with their Reebok Forever campaign….would you? 94 did!
It’s not only about being treating your customer well, it’s also about how your customer treats you! Your feelings towards your customer are also important. Your customer relation is becoming two-way transparent! Brands, or organisations, are ready to take it to the next level in their customer relation, telling them how they feel about you as a customer.  This is new! We’re all used to the customer reviewing the brand, or organisation, but the brand or organisation reviewing the customer is the next step.  Pret, for instance, gives their waiters a daily sum of money they can spent on their customers; saying thank you for being polite, or just treating them right! It’s up to the waiter to decide who and when he gives a little extra!

Posted in Flat Author

Your customer wants something new, and guilt-free, on a daily-basis! Take-aways after 1 day of trendseminar (2/3) #TrendSemAMS


1 Day trendseminar – 6 key take-aways on making your organisation future proof!

–disclaimer: Are this the only elements to make your organisation future proof? No, off course not! It’s all about detecting changes around you (and not only in your market), and adapting them to your organisation.–

Key 1 – Your customer is demographicaly undefined!
Key 2 – Needs over behaviour, behaviour over technology

Key 3 – New-ism is multiplying expectations to serve instant gratification in a hyper-personal world

Remember that moment you bought your first cell phone? And the second? And the third? Probably you do. It’s only 8 years ago when Apple launched it’s first iPhone, and now 8 years later we’ve got version number 8….Each phone got better and better, and raised the expectation bar over and over again. Consumers are getting used of this over the top ‘creative destruction’. Result of this new-ism behaviour is that brands need to serve this unstoppable greed for new products on a daily basis. What’s new today, is history tomorrow. Product life cycles, therefore, are getting shorter, and shorter.
Another effect of this new-ism trend is that needs are met quicker, and quicker….and are becoming instant. To become instant….our product and service world is a full transparent world, where an ordinary staples even gets +600 reviews! Just so you know…

Key 4 – Your customer wants guilt free indulgence to show-off!

Before status becomes important, basic needs need to be served, but when they are served…your customer wants to show off his life in the best possible way. Social media enabled your customer show their indulgences. Hotel chain Marriott teamed-up with GoPro to empower their customers to visualize their holiday experience (and shared that afterwards). Meito Xiu Xiu takes it even one step further, and automatically enhances your selfie. This way, with one press on the button, you can publish your best selfie ever…over and over again!
On the other hand, your customer also wants guilt-free indulgences, and is aware of the impact that his consumer behaviour has on society. Brands who pick up on this social responsible element can provide their customers with guilt-free services and products. G-star teamed up with Pharell Williams and bionic yarn to develop a clothing line based on recycled marine plastic, raw from the ocean. Jeans was never so guilt-free. Tesla is servicing similar client needs with their cars and powerwall.
As a customer you can enjoy your pleasures in a guilt-free way….but as Tessa Wernick, co-founder of Fairphone, puts it: “Guilt free indulgance should not be a trend, but a fundamental movement”

In the third and last part it will be all about fun and feelings.

Photocredit: http://www.wired.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/bionic-yarn-03-660×279.jpg

Posted in Flat Author

About customer segmentation and understanding innovation…Take-aways after 1 day of trendseminar #TrendSemAMS (1/3)


1 Day trendseminar – 6 key take-aways on making your organisation future proof!

–disclaimer: Are this the only elements to make your organisation future proof? No, off course not! It’s all about detecting changes around you (and not only in your market), and adapting them to your organisation.–

Key 1 – Your customer is demographicaly undefined!

Today’s customers aren’t boxed in traditional demographics anymore (like age, gender, lifestage,…). You will find a lot of your customers outside of the traditional market segmentation areas. Lululemon, for instance, opened a dedicated male store in New York, because male yoga audience (and that’s not your average traditional demographic audience for yoga!) wanted it’s own store and collection. Yes, you still need to segment your audience, but in a different way based on joint needs and less on similar demographics. Understanding your customer needs, that your value is servicing is the most important element in your company strategie to target your customer. Look outside of your traditional market box for similar needs that want to be served!

Key 2 – Needs over behaviour, behaviour over technology

When most organisations start innovating, the start at the end of the innovation cycle….how can we implement new technology? Of course it’s better to start at the beginning, the (basic?) need that your customers want to be served. (Basic) needs haven’t changed over time, behaviour towards those needs has. For instance, we still are hungry for news. Instead of reading a newspaper, we read the (latest!) news on our connecte device. Our behaviour towards news has changed, not our need for news. After you understand your customers need, you can start by understanding his behaviour towards that need…and even so maybe changing that behaviour to meet that need. Technology enters the innovation model to facilitate the behaviour to meet the need.

Tomorrow key 3 & 4 on how your customers forces you to be in innovative!

Posted in Flat Author

Uncertainty will rule the #labourmarket in #digital era, holding opportunity for those who can deal with it!


When we talk labour in the digital era, it’s either about destroying jobs or creating jobs. Digital empowers the labour market, but also has a lot of challenges for the same market. If we look back at the past (industrial) revolutions, we always see the same thing happening.  A revolution destroys a lot of jobs, look at how the primary sector evolved over the past decade, but creates a lot of new opportunities on the other hand, the growth of the secondary sector (in this case).

Since the 80-ies we seen a decline in the industrial sector in favor of the tertiary – service –  sector….what will be the next switch?  Digital technology and evolution has an impact on all sectors and is (apparently) replacing human jobs for digital ones. Cost efficiency, and for a better service! Look at how our bank service is hyper personalized, look at how our shopping habits have changed, … all thanks to digital. Steven Van Belleghem writes about this evolution in his book “When digital becomes human” declaring that in the end each company who can enhance its digital environment with a human value will be a winner in the digital era.  Humans still add over 6% off value to a digital process! Let’s embrace that idea, but the additional value must be delivered through high level output, where a human still can make a difference. Let’s be honest, humans don’t make a difference anymore in 80% of the traditional value creating. Thanks to (big) data a computer (of connected – digital – device) knows a lot more about you and is able to service you on a more personal base than most humans can.  Robots will take over customer service, computers will assist you with your shopping, real time data will assist your self driving car getting you everywhere …. Digital will be our first touch point delivering the value.  So what will happen than with human value and labour!
Human labour is still needed. Computers, robots, cars, digital devices… still need maintenance, need to be constructed, need to be developed. This will only be a small part of our actual labour force! What will happen with all the others? Within 10 years we will see new jobs popping up, jobs we didn’t think of today, or jobs we are not educating for! One thing, I’m quite sure of, is that these jobs will all be about personal contact and delivering personal value. A personal twist that is hard for a digital device to deliver (even in augmented or virtual mode)….like Cool Blue it’s strategy to put a smile on every customers face!

What these job descriptions look like, I can’t tell nor describe since they are all new. For youngsters or today’s workers future competences will all be about being creative, innovative and flexible, and less about knowledge! Adapting yourself to the present situation each 5 to 10 years will be the most rewarding attitude/competence for each and everyone. Today’s educational and training programs should be adapted in that way that people are being trained (educated) to deal with uncertainty! Those who deal with uncertainty the best, will be the winners of the labour market in the (near) future.

Posted in Flat Author

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 820 other followers

Flat World Poll
  • 227,558 hits

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 820 other followers

%d bloggers like this: