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In the last few years, the use of a single concept has been massively increasing in the business world. A concept that includes all industries and is present in many statements of principles and organizational values. At the same time, it becomes a recurrent theme for any person proclaiming oneself to be the owner of management’s magical recipes.
How many end-of-year celebration CEO’s speeches include the term innovation? Surely, many of them, and all around the world as well. It is one of the favorite terms in today’s business world. However, we could carry out a random survey at operational level in most of these companies to ask them if they had the opportunity to participate in any initiative that led to innovation. Here is where the scene would change and we would face reality.
In many cases, business innovation is reduced to a mere wish. The reason for this is that it represents an unaccepted effort, mostly due to the risk aversion among organizations and those who constitute them.
Innovation is not a creative impulse with a random direction. It requires management; it is a permanent transition that must be achieved with a serious conviction: to build competitive advantages that will allow them to withstand the organization in the future. It also implies an understanding that the change processes must not ignore the cultural element, creating platforms for the collaborators to expand the boundaries of the company. It is not easy to create this scenario from the talent management; it requires the need to benefit from the generational diversity, capitalizing knowledge and experience of the older age group, and providing assistance and guidance towards pro-activity of the younger ones.
Likewise, when referring to building competitive advantages, it is clear that it is not only about developing new skills, but also that they must be valued and perceived by the market. There are two important aspects to take into account: knowing the postmodern consumer that creates an ongoing process of social fragmentation; and generating unique experiences of interaction between the brand and the consumer.
The consumers occupy center stage because we are chosen with their behavior and their decisions. We are innovative companies when our consumers recognize us as such. Our legitimacy comes from the experiences we can provide and our ability to establish a horizontal and mature dialogue between the brand and each of the relevant audiences.
Accordingly, one of the critical areas of interaction is the Customer Service Area. It is an important step in the innovator’s mission to design a pleasant area, where consumers can reach qualified personnel so as to provide a better service, with the assistance of technological tools that optimize the use of resources and allow them to release the inherent stress of the waiting time.
This is where one of the most important challenges lies. The company that takes advantage of the resources and technology to understand the needs of the consumer, that keeps an interactive dialogue and provides the best experience in each of its points of contact, creates a comparative advantage in its industry.
Innovation has to be managed. It is a trial and error exercise that tests the tolerance of failure; however, this is the path to long term growth.