Our Solutions News Blog was envisioned to gather and share information from the very best to help you and your business to become more effective.
Uber and Lyft drivers are just 1 click away, Amazon offers free same-day delivery, and Deliveroo can get us food from our favorite restaurant in under 32 minutes… Gone are the days in which consumers agreed to invest effort and wait to be served. In a fast-paced world, we look for consumption that is time- and labor-saving.
What matters to consumers is the time and effort they have to expend – the less, the better. ‘Fast’ and ‘easy’ are keywords that should be high on any marketer’s agenda. Take the example of Uber. Its success is not based on a strong emotional connection with customers. What makes the platform so successful is captured by a single word: convenience. Uber’s interface is intuitive and user-friendly. You open the app, type in your destination and immediately receive pricing information. Upon agreement, a driver is immediately connected to you and knows where to pick you up. Reaching your destination, you just get out of the car and Uber charges your credit card automatically.
So, what is convenience then exactly? Academic research by Len Berry and colleagues in the Journal of Marketing suggests that there are five different levels of convenience.
1. Decision Convenience
The first is decision convenience or the time and effort needed to make a purchase/consumption decision. A great example here is Netflix’s recommendation system, driving more than 80 per cent of content watched on the platform. To avoid subscribers getting lost in the vast library, the company goes to great lengths to serve up its content in the most fun and easy way possible. The success is undeniable with Netflix being the dominating streaming platform of the moment.
2. Access Convenience
Second comes access convenience or the time and effort needed to get hold of what is desired. Chinese Hema Fresh puts strong emphasis on this dimension. Being part of Alibaba’s new retail concept, the highly popular grocery chain seeks to integrate the best of offline and online. Hema, among other things, has an in-store on-demand kitchen (just like Whole Foods), is able to deliver any order under 30 minutes within a specified delivery radius (just like Instacart) and sells pre-packaged meal kits to make consumers’ lives easier (just like Hello Fresh). At the basis of this model is a sophisticated and data-driven logistics systems, setting the example for the entire retail industry.
3. Transaction Convenience
Third is transaction convenience or the time and effort needed to pay for products. A prime example here is Amazon that put an easy and transparent payment experience at the core of its business. Its new Amazon Go stores even go further and remove any checkout hassles by automating the payment system, completely eliminating the cashier and waiting lines. The successful concept is set to grow to as many as 3,000 new U.S. stores in the next few years, while also expanding to other countries worldwide.
4. Benefit Convenience
Fourth is benefit convenience or the time and effort needed to consume the product. Consumers today are looking for simple and efficient consumption experiences, allowing them to make the best of their time. The popular navigation app Waze, owned by Google, offers its users such a simple and intuitive user interface, providing highly contextual information like traffic, obstructions and other hazards to minimize travel time. In 2016, Waze partnered up with Dunkin’ Donuts, a U.S. coffeehouse chain, and integrated an ‘Order Ahead’ function. Wazers, as Waze calls its user base, may order coffee within the app and speed past the line when picking up their order inside a DD restaurant.
5. Postbenefit Convenience
Finally comes postbenefit convenience or the time and effort needed to deal with such factors as product maintenance, exchange or failure recovery. One example here is Tesla’s mobile service teams allowing cars to be serviced when and where customers are in need. More recently, the U.S. carmaker introduced an automated service feature allowing Tesla cars to order parts that require replacement on their own. Doing so, Tesla reduces the time needed for car maintenance and proactively prevents any failures.
To successfully interact with today’s hyper-connected and impatient consumers, marketers should be obsessed with delivering ‘fast’ and ‘easy’ solutions to customers. But how?
Regular audits to understand improvement points along the entire customer journey are recommended. A strong customer mindset should be driven by questions like What is it that customers are looking for? How can we further enhance/simplify the customer experience? What levels of convenience matter most? A deep understanding of customers based on solid metrics and a thirst to experiment in search for better customer solutions are key to any organization seeking success. Netflix is well-known for its continuous use of A/B-testing to optimize the platform’s interface. Any major change to the Netflix experience is preceded by extensive testing. Nothing is left to chance.
Artificially intelligent technologies now allow for cost-effective real-time service delivery, 24/7. Despite clear limitations still there, the growing occurrence of chatbots, personal (voice) assistants and humanoids at the service frontline is rapidly making real-time service delivery a minimum requirement to compete on the market. It is imperative for any organization to look into this exciting new world of possibilities and to see where technology can be used to enhance the customer experience. KLM, the Dutch airline, is fueling its customer service with AI to automate over half of all inquiries through Facebook, Messenger, Twitter and WhatsApp. The result? A doubling of its case volume and service agents freeing up time to focus on cases requiring a human approach.
While some marketers would argue this thinking does not apply to their industry, nothing could be more wrong. Take the example of Lemonade. The U.S. insurance platform is rapidly transforming a seemingly rock-solid industry. Their approach? The promise of a zero paperwork and instant everything. Lemonade uses AI to sign up customers and to evaluate claims, boasting it takes a maximum of 3 minutes from approval to payout. The result? A four-year-old startup valued at $2bn.
It is clear, no organization is free from the push toward higher convenience. Time to become ‘fast’ and ‘easy’! The Uber’s and Amazon’s of this planet won’t wait for you to catch up.
Source: EDHEC Vox Written By: Arne De Keyser
In the face of a crisis or economic slowdown, resilient organizations ride out uncertainty instead of being overpowered by it...
How Did Business Create Resilience During & After The 2008 Recession?
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
In 2008 we went through a worldwide recession and companies that implemented the strategy of resilience came back faster and even leaped ahead of their competition. Now Covid has thrust us into an equally challenging time. Find out how adopting resilience can help you though these unprecedented times.quickly. access the resilience resource centre »
Source: McKinsey & Company
Companies can structure their organizations and decision processes for resilience by embracing six principles of long-lasting systems:
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Source: Harvard Business Review / Written By: Martin Reeves & Kevin Whitaker
The essence of resilient leadership: Business recovery from COVID
Resilient leaders shift organizational mindsets, navigate uncertainties, and invest in building trust in order to develop a recovery playbook that serves as a solid foundation for the post-COVID future.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Whereas organizations used to describe agile change as “fixing the plane while it flies,” the COVID-19 pandemic has rewritten the rules of upheaval in modern times. Those of us leading any organization—from corporations to institutions to our own families—are not fixing the plane in midair, we’re building it. Times like these need leaders who are resilient in the face of such dramatic uncertainties.
The first article in this series described the essential foundations leaders need in order to effectively navigate through the crisis.1 Resilient leaders are defined first by five essential qualities of who they are, and then by what they do across three critical time frames: Respond, Recover, and Thrive.
As we progress into the Recover phase of the crisis, resilient leaders recognize and reinforce critical shifts from a “today” to a “tomorrow” mindset for their teams. They perceive how major COVID-19-related market and societal shifts have caused substantial uncertainties that need to be navigated—and seized as an opportunity to grow and change. Amid these uncertainties, resilient leadership requires even greater followership, which must be nurtured and catalyzed by building greater trust. And resilient leaders start by anticipating what success looks like at the end of recovery—how their business will thrive in the long term—and then guide their teams to develop an outcomes-based set of agile sprints to get there.
Resilience is not a destination; it is a way of being. A “resilient organization” is not one that is simply able to return to where it left off before the crisis. Rather, the truly resilient organization is one that has transformed, having built the attitudes, beliefs, agility, and structures into its DNA that enable it to not just recover to where it was, but catapult forward—quickly. read on »
Source: Deloitte Insights / Written By: Bill Marquard
No one can do business with you if they don’t know you exist. In order for you to start making some traction in your business or to level up, you must invest in your personal branding, and work hard to get the word out...
When Chic CEO was in its first year of business, I remember getting to a networking event after just leaving another and met a woman in the bar line - because #wine. We introduced ourselves and she said, “I see you everywhere.” It was the first time we had chatted, but she already knew Chic CEO. My business partner and I were on a mission, bound and determined to be seen.
Obscurity can be one of the biggest business killers to any venture. Here are some ways to step out and get known.
Niche Down, Down, Down And Find The “That’s me!” Response
Homing in on your target market is one of the very best things you can do for yourself and your business. When you can get super clear on who you work with, marketing becomes exponentially easier. I recently met a woman who is a hair stylist and she said she specializes in blonds with short hair. “That’s me!” I squeaked. Brilliant. I rarely hear of a stylist getting that specific when describing what they do. Cut, color, style, what else is there? Turns out, a lot. I didn’t realize that stylists niche down too, until that moment. She actually made me say, “that’s me!” and that’s marketing gold. The more specific you can get on who you serve, the easier it is to break out of obscurity and the internet noise.
Pick One Social Channel And Hit It Hard
Watering down your presence isn’t a smart strategy. Your audience might hang out in a few places, but chances are, the majority of them prefer one social platform over another. Focus your time in being ever present on that channel. Melyssa Griffin, a prominent blogger who teaches others to create profitable blogs, doubles down on Pinterest. Larry Kim, founder of Mobile Monkey, puts a lot of his effort into Medium. It’s not that they aren’t present on other social channels or platforms, but you can see they have found where their audience hangs out and they show up to that party. If you are working solo, your best bet is to stick to one social channel and hit it hard - so you can maximize effort with the little time you have.
Post Content Where Your People Are Hanging Out
To piggy back off of the previous point, you may notice that there are more people hanging out on platforms like Medium, than they are on your blog. When you are posting non-stop to your own blog with little traction, start posting where people might actually see it. There are many media outlets that allow you to write for them, or places you can post your content. Start pushing your message, ideas and value to platforms that already have an audience, rather than your blog where only a handful of people might see it.
Create Strategic Partnerships
Linking up with another business who has the same audience but an ancillary product or service can only help the both of you. Get creative on how you can promote each other to gain more awareness and value for the customers and clients you serve. Related: How To Create Strategic Partnerships. Find ways to create cross promotions, team up on events, help each other achieve the peak end experience or simply do some email swaps. Leverage each other to bring more value to your customers and benefit from the awareness it brings.
Become The Local News Expert
One of the fastest ways to get seen is through press. Press can be tricky, but the key is to provide value. Always provide value. When you are someone that the local press knows can give great tips on how to keep the kids busy for summer, or the proper way to stretch before a marathon - they will call you first. Be their trusted expert in your subject matter and they’ll think of you when something comes up.
Source: Forbes / Written By: Stephanie Burns
As author and entrepreneur Seth Godin puts it: “Personalization wasn’t supposed to be a cleverly veiled way to chase prospects around the web, showing them the same spammy ad for the same lame stuff as everyone else sees. No, it is a chance to differentiate at a human scale, to use behaviour as the most important clue about what people want and more important, what they need.”
Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution:
Trends in customer trust by Salesforce Research reinforces the notion that brands can win more business by creating personalized customer experiences — a message we’ve heard for some time now. Based on a survey polling over 6,700 individuals from more than a dozen countries including Canada, the 2018 report finds consumers are demanding greater personalization and will often disclose the kind of personal information needed to create more personalized experiences if they feel the business is being transparent about how the data is used.
“Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, an era defined by continuous technological innovations that are transforming customer expectations. As lines between digital and physical worlds blur, today’s customers demand deeply relevant, personalized experiences across devices, channels and interactions,” according to the report. “In fact, the average customer uses 10 different channels to communicate with companies. Despite this, today’s customers expect tailored engagement across all channels.”
Fifty-four percent of respondents say the marketing messages they receive aren’t as relevant as they would like them to be – suggesting that some companies drastically need to improve their personalization capabilities – while 84 percent say “being treated like a person, not a number” is very important to winning repeat business and maintaining brand loyalty. “Customers expect businesses to understand not only what they are purchasing, but why, as well as how they use products and services, and they expect it fast,” the report reads.
The majority of survey respondents say they are willing to share personal information if it is used to deliver more personalized engagements, and expect that personalization to be coupled with transparency. What’s more, 51 percent of respondents across all age groups say they are comfortable with companies “applying relevant information about me in exchange for personalized engagement,” as compared to 64 percent of millennials and Gen Zers.
What’s interesting is 86 percent of total respondents – and 91 percent of millennials and Gen Zers – say they are more likely to trust companies with their personal information when they explain how it is being used to deliver a better experience for them, suggesting that strict security and privacy protocols alone may not be enough to dispel fears of data misuse and breaches.
“As time goes on, businesses will contend with a more savvy customer base that expects greater personalization, along with respect for the data they swap for it,” the report concludes.
Source: PrintAction / Written By: Alyssa Dalton
At Dominion Blue, our story started in 1912 with an ad featured in the city directory. It was one of eight companies involved in blueprints. We were located in the Bank of Hamilton Building at 432 Hamilton Street. Our focus was simple, offer what architects, engineers, contractors, the government and businesses wanted; preeminent quality large format Maps, Blueprints, Brown Line, and Blue Line Prints.
It was not a splashy opening, but it was honest. Our "can-do," "just-works" and our clients soon realized that we were ultimately providing print solutions that helped them to succeed. By hearing our story and knowing why we do what we do, they quickly discovered that we understood their needs.
A lot has changed since then. Of course, our state-of-the-art digital printing equipment and the breadth of our product and services offer is immense in comparison. But one thing has not changed; we've been building trust with our clients ever since that day and won't stop until we either meet or exceed each one’s expectations.
Knowing how to tell your business story needs to be a crucial part of your operations. A brand story has a strategic purpose aimed towards drawing people in. To perfect your story, try the following tips, and when you're ready give us a call because print can help bring it alive in many ways.
To perfect your story, try the following tips:
#1: Set The Parameters
Your business story should be engaging. But if it doesn’t have a clear focus, you’ll quickly lose the attention of consumers. Establish context right off the bat.
To start your brand story, answer the following questions:
Parameters will help you develop an engaging story that makes sense to your audience. Set the scene so that consumers know exactly what you’re talking about. Most importantly, establish why you’re telling them this story. This will guide the audience through the narrative and hook them all the way to the end.
#2: Be Authentic
Authentic storytelling is key to gaining consumer trust. Don’t try to fool your audience with an over-the-top tale. Customers know when you try to pull a fast one on them, and they don’t appreciate it.
Your business’s story doesn’t need to be elaborate. In fact, if your business doesn’t have an earth-shattering history, your story shouldn’t try to create one. A genuine narrative is more likely to connect with consumers than one without a shred of truth.
Transparency celebrates your uniqueness and acknowledges the human aspect of your brand. Recognize that things are not always easy by showing your own challenges and failures. This creates an emotional connection, as well as reveals admiral characteristics, like innovation and resilience.
You might want to take an “open book” approach to communicating with customers. Explain how things are made/done at your business. For example, you might use all local ingredients at your restaurant. Use these details to create an interesting story.
#3: Have A Clear Outcome
A great business story leaves your audience with something. What lesson was learned in the story, and what should consumers learn from hearing it?
Business stories should have a clear outcome. Provide a hopeful, thought-provoking message with actionable points that compel your audience to connect with your brand.
Here’s another story for you: In the late eighties, my partner and I wanted to write software, but we were not sure about the niche we should pursue. After doing tons of research in the phonebook and at the library (there was no internet back then), we learned that employment agencies had a desperate need for a recruiting network solution. Over thirty years after launching our startup, Top Echelon’s recruiting network has hundreds of recruiting firms and millions of candidates, which helps hiring professionals make more placements.
The story gives an idea of who we are and where we come from. The outcome sparks confidence in our offerings and values. You can use your business’s real-life outcomes to convey a message to your customers.
#4: Be Consistent
A disorganized brand story leaves customers confused and uninterested. Make sure your brand is consistent across all communication channels. Use the same colors, logo, and slogan for digital and print marketing materials. The repetition of images and verbiage associated with your business creates brand awareness.
You need to be consistent when speaking about your brand. Business storytelling takes practice. Know the story inside and out before presenting it to customers. This will help you tell the story naturally.
#5: Get Customers Involved
Use business storytelling to strike an emotional connection with customers. Talk about how an event related to your business affected you and what you learned. This creates an immediate response that makes your story memorable and shareable.
People like to be a part of stories. Your customers can be characters in your brand. Come up with ways to get your audience involved.
For example, Patriot Software reached out to some of our customers to hear their startup stories. Black Sheep Boutique and Lamplighter Brewing Co. were among several companies featured in business storytelling examples on our blog. Showcasing these businesses directly linked our customers to a part of our story.
Telling the story of your brand is an ongoing process. Each day, your business grows, shifts, and adds new chapters to its story. Make business storytelling an essential part of your operations to attract and retain customers.
Source: Forbes / Written By: Mike Kappel
Marketing often gets thrown on the back burner because it feels like time away from your business.
You’re happiest when you’re talking to your audience directly.
You’re telling them all about a product, service, or cause that you care about — and there’s a level of connection there that marketing can’t touch.
Or so you think.
It’s true — there’s plenty of yawn-inducing marketing material out there that makes you wonder if the writer herself was asleep at the keyboard.
But your business can do better than that. You can share something with your audience that awakens their attention, evokes emotion, and fosters ironclad loyalty..
Can storytelling really do all that?
Stories are the seeds of connection. They have staying power — think back to all the stories you can still remember from your early childhood.
And they’re more important than ever as a way to stand out from your competition.
Here are a few things storytelling can do for your business:
How can you start incorporating storytelling in your business?
Once you start to see the benefits of storytelling for your business, you’ll start wondering how you can start using it right away.
Luckily, you have plenty of outlets at your disposal. Your website, your signage, brochures, and printed communications, email and direct mail, your blog, social channels, presentation centres, and so much more.
When you're ready to start planning it all out give us a call and through our Print with Insight Program you'll be turning heads your way in no time.
Source: Constant Contact / Written By: Miranda Paquet