Tag Archive of: relationship

It is crisis. A crisis caused by the coronavirus. The first shock wave has passed and the new normal is already showing itself. Step by step space must be made for new ways of thinking, acting and working. Sitting still is not an option. Now is the time to push through and implement change in your organization at an increased pace.

According to Abraham Maslow, people by nature have difficulty with change. This makes it all the more difficult for companies to continually move with the digital and social changes that are only rushing forward at a rapid pace. Still, innovation is and will remain important for future success. Especially at a time of corona crisis. Back in 2013, I wrote about the journey from analog to digital that doesn't happen overnight. The insights and findings from that time still hold true today. They are more relevant and urgent than I ever thought too when publishing our book back then.

The digital world has become a basic need

Online is the new normal according to Peter Hinssen, a thought leader on the impact of technology and society. The flow of information is bigger and faster than ever. However, business still too often sees the Internet as a bundle of channels through which to send messages, when fundamentally it is not a channel like TV, radio or newspapers. Customers and fans are frenetically approached as a kind of elusive individual cyber-citizens. But nothing could be further from the truth. Although we find innovation difficult, the very nature of the human brain is super social.

The Internet and social media that we use to shape our world is the result of our ability to collaborate and drive to share, for good reason. Despite our efforts to continually express and present ourselves in unique ways, we remain fundamentally herd animals. We view the world through the lens of our relationships with others and, moreover, may interact with each other without really thinking about it. It is not at all surprising that the digital world has become a basic need. We just need to learn to respond to it properly in business terms.

Over 95 percent of buying decisions are made subconsciously

Modern neurology and psychology make it clear that our perception is largely an illusion. Our memory is not a computer that retrieves files with photographic precision. According to Ap Dijksterhuis (2007) and Dick Swaab (2012), the percentage of purchase decisions we make subconsciously is even higher than 95 percent. The processing time of the unconscious brain turns out to be 200,000 times greater than the conscious one. In practice, this means that your customers are coloring much faster than they can verbally express. Our brain appears to be stimulated by six specific messages (Renvoise & Morin 2007). As an entrepreneur, manager or employee in marketing, sales and service, you would do well to respond intelligently to this when communicating with customers and fans:

  • Self-interest: the we kind in an I-illusion generation
  • Contrast: exceptions to the rule make a difference
  • Tangibility: language is and remains tricky for the brain
  • Holding attention from beginning to end is essential
  • Emotions: memories must be constantly fed
  • Image: pictures and videos say more than 1,000 words

Pim van der Feltz, Google Benelux director, wrote on Emerce some time ago, "The one-way traffic of brands is no longer of our time. They must become conversation partners, building a relationship based on trust and historical data and providing appropriate advice from there. In the sea of choices, they must be a beacon of calm for consumers. The challenge is to move from brand building to relevant surprise.'

Abraham Maslow's pyramid
Abraham Maslow's pyramid

Turning strangers into friends creates new business value

In the book Social Media is Bullshit, author B.J. Mendelson calls social media marketing a catch-all term. However, this does a disservice to many experts. But fundamentally, he is right. Social media are simply a part of the Internet. Social channels are a part of the entire ecosystem of businesses. The Internet has always been social since its inception. Just as humans are by nature. But companies are too quickly disappointed when the Internet and social media do not deliver desired ROI and ROE (return on engagement) in a short period of time. In fact, in most cases this has to do with the transition from broadcast to dialogue that they themselves have to make.

The change process to delivering added value in the daily lives of customers and fans by truly responding to their behaviors and basic needs takes time. Turning strangers into friends is essential for a company to stay in the technological age. At least you are on the right track if your customers and fans:

  • Giving a place in the ecosystem (shelter)
  • Giving attention they deserve (trust)
  • Provides space to express an opinion (belonging)
  • Gives appreciation for efforts (recognition)
  • Provides opportunity to help (development)

Building and maintaining relationships is more central than ever

Customer psychology is not floaty, although this is often thought. In fact, it is an absolute necessity to survive as a company in the battle for the lasting favor of customers and fans.There is no business like social business. A concept that is vastly overhyped and is actually nothing more and less than offering products and services that fundamentally meet the needs and expectations of the target audience. By starting with communicating instead of marketing and activating people instead of advertising, supply and demand can be matched step by step.

The Internet and social media are not a holy grail for increasing sales and brand awareness. Building and maintaining relationships is more central than ever. Figures from two decades show that in 99 percent of cases, visitors are not actively on the Web to buy something. So the strategic challenge for companies is in unconsciously triggering customers and fans on the platforms and channels in the ecosystem where they are. The commitment of all employees within organizations is essential to successfully making the transition from analog to digital.

Bas Meijerink in an interview with Management Team: 'Social is often linked to media. As if it's a separate entity. Social is not the tool or technology, but is in everything you do. Whether it's Nike, Apple, McDonalds, Starbucks, Shell or Hema. If they flout soft values they will take notice. The message of social media is that consumers won't be fooled anymore.

Vision and core values determine future success

The future of companies is likable. As humans, we only connect with companies that inspire us, listen to us and that we can trust. After making a connection, we want to build a relationship from dialogue. It is clear that many companies still have a long way to go in embracing the necessary social approach in business operations. Stepping away from silo thinking is a huge change. All networks and systems must be connected.

Connections, from whatever platform or channel, must be centrally registered. According to Marije Moll of JungleMinds, social companies achieve growth in increasing customer satisfaction by giving employees influence within the company's processes and culture. From this approach, companies can flourish in terms of valuable relationships, innovation and the effective use of people. That's what it's all about. 

>> Also read 'fromAnalog toDigital.now - The digital change