As we enter the twenties, I believe transformation to be the most important word of this next decade. Companies and brands will be expected to transform the world and the customers in it. This, in turn, will be a matter of honestly helping people with their life aspirations. And while there are many different aspirations, I believe togetherness will be one of the top one in 2021.
Transforming the world, starting with physical places If the last decade was all about digital transformation, I believe the next one will be about customer transformation. Offering a satisfying customer experience (CX) will no longer be enough, brands will have to be aspirational. They will have to be the sustainable, diversity-endorsing, healthy and happy heroes their customers aspire to be themselves. Customer experiences like convenience and speed of delivery are the golden standard in many industries already. But these assets might no longer suffice to differentiate from competitors. Take retail spaces for example: as online convenience grows, physical spaces from gyms to stores and hospitals need to up the ante and give customers new reasons to come down. Reasons for favouring live medical consults over Zoom ones, or working out in the gym instead of the spare bedroom. The answer for physical places? To make their visitors feel transformed into the person they aspire to be(come). (see keynote in Dutch) We want companies and brands to be real In a world where everything feels uncertain, brands can be a beacon. That starts with being reliable, yes, but extends to being a leading example in ethics, making the world feel more trustworthy. Just think of Twitter labeling dubious tweets with warning messages. In a way, it’s about straightening out a confused world. This doesn’t mean being overconfident as a brand, though. Much to the contrary—it’s about showing your vulnerability, acknowledging the uncertainty and formulating answers as plausible, not always as absolute certainties. Showing your vulnerability is a sign of personality and courage in business as much as in everyday life. Take IDEO. During the Black Lives Matters manifestations, the renowned design and innovation company acknowledged that their anti-racism actions might not have been sufficient. However, they owned up to it and asked their social media community how they could do better. This is the honesty we need, the honesty that makes brands strong, and human. * download a free white paper on this topic via this webpage * Together we can turn 2021 into a beautiful year Being together gives us confidence. It is an antidote to anxiety. But just when we needed it the most, we weren't physically able to be together. And that’s exactly why so many beautiful things happened in the past year. Neighbourhoods helped out local businesses, companies and brands supported social causes. Virtual marathons, Instagram therapy sessions, digital greetings, drive-in concerts, outside campfire chats, corona walks, Star Wars-themed Zoom meetings. Companies and brands should facilitate and fuel this feeling of togetherness, because the comfort of being together brings a smile to people's faces. We may not know what the new year will bring. But we do know that togetherness will be paramount again. May this e-mail be an open invitation to each and every one of you. Let’s work together in 2021 to create real transformations for your customers. -Christophe- PS. Did you know: Every single day I put a blogpost online on my website. Go check it out and discover lots of Healthusiasm examples. PPS. Listen here to the interview by the physician and author Moyez Jiwa for the Health Design Podcast from Australia. It talks about how I see the future of healthcare happening right now