A couple of weeks ago, I opened the paper and in the first section were two articles that, frankly, felt like flashbacks to when I was boy. One was about Uber and its driverless car crashing in Texas. The other was about efforts to recruit people to colonize Mars. When I was a kid, I heard about these things…on the Jetsons, Star Trek and Lost in Space. Stories of this nature were called “science fiction.” Today, they are “news.” We are using our voices in our homes to activate our appliances, solving trivia questions and ordering take out. Today, gene therapy is available to many with prior incurable illnesses. Virtual reality is a common place tool for designers and architects – as well as gamers and documentarians. We are watching IBM ads with “Watson” and thinking, “AI – how cute” – unlike Hal. (2001 Space Odyssey reference for the younger folks reading this).
So, what does that mean for you? These are signs that things are going to change again in the world of marketing and communications. We are quickly approaching what many people are pointing to as the next stage of the integration of technology in our lives and workplaces. This evolution will affect our relationship with financial institutions as Bitcoins and Block Chains become more widely accepted forms of asset transfers. We are going to be manufacturing products at home through 3-D printers and this will allow us to customize products without any delays. And, what can’t print at home will be ordered online and delivered to us within hours through a drone or self-driving vehicle.
These changes will affect the notion of customer service. Are you going to be responsible if a 3-D printed product doesn’t “fit?” What about the just-in-time-delivery of products and services for all those who forgot to pick up the basil for their homemade pesto sauce, the screwdriver to finish the DIY bookshelf or the shoes that to go with the dress? Ultimately, the components of your value proposition are going to change. And, they are going to change at a macro level from you controlling the shopping experience and interaction with your brand to the consumer dictating that experience and relationship. The equation is going to change on a micro level. We are going to have to be flexible to meet the needs of our consumers from what the product is and how it is delivered. In a nutshell, flexibility and adaptability are going to be more important ingredients in your value equation.
There is a lot to think about here – especially when it comes to how you evolve your value equation and brand promise among your most important stakeholders. It’s more than re-thinking what search terms to buy or what color your logo needs to be. You will need to engage in a long-term planning process and gather pertinent information. This will give you an idea of what trends affect your specific industry and target audiences. It needs to be thorough and objective, because I promise you will need to address some significant gaps in your current value proposition. It also needs to be put in context of what the world will look like in 3-5 years.
This is isn’t easy stuff. Gazing into a crystal ball and trying to divine the future is a risky proposition. But, it is necessary if you want to position yourself for what lies ahead.
As always, feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to talk further and explore in depth the implications of where the new wave of technology is going to drive your business and organization.