Last week we sat down with Brian Solis after his Keynote as part of DC Week 2011. He discussed the connected consumer in his address, highlighting challenges inherent in consumer transformation. We discussed these connected consumers and his new book, The End of Business as Usual” Rewire the Way you Work to Succeed in the Consumer Revolution.
Brain talks about a different type of consumer, whether you’re talking about B2C, B2B, or government to constituent. This connected consumer requires a different business model to successfully connect with this new type of consumer. Connected consumers aren’t just on social networks, like Facebook. (Although, with over 800 million users, Facebook is now bigger than the entire internet in 2004.)
Connected consumers are on their smartphones (nearly 500 million) and other mobile devices, such as laptops and tablet computers. Mobile access to the internet will surpass access via desktop computers within the next 5 years. So, what does this mean for businesses? According to Brian Solis, it’s not about technology, it’s about how technology impacts the consumer, affecting everything about consumer behavior from how they learn, to how they make decisions, to how they’re influenced.
Connected Consumers Create New Touchpoints
So, you need to look at your organization and how it’s structured. Brain Solis argues for a significant gap between your business and connected consumers. Brian points to how businesses are using social media to highlight this gap. Companies use social media the same way they use traditional media —
Take a message, take a value proposition, take a contest, take a campaign and push it. Customer service, yeah, we’ll respond to you, but we’ll put you back into the machine because that’s how we’re structured to deal with you. We don’t have enough people to deal with you here.
Become a Social Change Agent
Brian lays out 2 paths to meeting the demands of the connected consumer — you can get online and engage the customer (the topic of his last book, Engage) or you can become a change agent to adapt your organizational customer to connected consumers.
Digital Darwinism reflects the natural selection imposed on companies who fail to meet the expectations of connected consumers — the ways they learn, share, and engage with companies.
In businesses, organization, things are just evolving and you can either evolve with them or be subjected to natural selection and disappear.
How is the Connected Consumer Different?
They’re dependent on a smartphone. They also have an iPad or laptop and they watch TV with one or more of these devices on their laps. They share everything — what they’re watching , what they’re doing, what they’re feeling. They’re quite literally connected; not just to technology, but to each other and brands. Business must connect with the hearts and minds of these connected consumers.