Woosh! Here comes the wave that is reframing business across the globe.
As customers, we are leaning away from being passive consumers. Our new, discerning behaviour is giving us the power to become active creators of the products and services businesses supply. And as businesses, rather than looking over our shoulders worrying about what our competitors are up to, we are starting to focus on developing and truly understanding the core skills, values and purpose of our organisations. Rather than busying ourselves forecasting mythical demand and angling for a bigger piece of the imagined pie for ourselves, we’re deciding to co-create new services and new markets and collaborate more with our customers and all stakeholders.
The more we discuss the idea of greater purpose with people, the more we are convinced this is a significant shift – a genuine moment of Zeitgeist. We are seeing that a true alignment of people, business and greater purpose enables the delivery of astonishing and genuine value to all your stakeholders.
To start with, you need to develop a deep understanding of your organisational value across three areas of your business: 1) products and services; 2) customers’ experiences and 3) greater purpose, for your business to become part of this shift. Your total value proposition must contain these three elements. It also enables you to articulate your organisational value clearly. This applies not only to your sales propositions and messaging but also to the design of your customer touchpoints.
If you have clarity about your organisational value and then articulate it compellingly, you will pull those customers who resonate with it towards you. You will attract the right type of customers for your business.
Why greater purpose?
Business-to-consumer (B2C) organisations and marketers have always known that brand is vitally important. Consumers who associate with a brand feel an emotional connection with it: they are pulled towards it.
In consumer markets, the emotional pull of the brand generated by marketing and advertising may not always truly reflect, for example, the company’s supply chain or how it treats its workers. Take the solar panel fitting company I encountered recently who claim they are sustainable and have green credentials and yet source their panels from a company in the Far East which is well known for polluting the rivers around its plant.
As the business-to-business (B2B) world is being influenced faster than ever before by the power of individuals and the knowledge we have available to us, the consumerisation of B2B is happening at a pace. Brand too is becoming an important part of the B2B buyer’s decision, but it goes much deeper than that.
B2B buyers are more discerning than consumers
B2B buyers are a lot more discerning than B2C consumers. They know the difference between marketing and brand spin and whether this has true depth throughout the business or is just window dressing.
B2B buyers are demanding a total value proposition that covers the functionality of your products and services, positive customer experiences across all touchpoints, and a greater purpose that they can engage with. This greater purpose is part of the integrity of your business. It tells the buyer that your value proposition extends far beyond the marketing hype. The passion and emotion that this generates will not only attract buyers but, perhaps more importantly in today’s markets, it will attract the best talent to work with you and want to keep on working with you.
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Cindy Barnes is a business and psychology consultant. She is clinically trained in Transactional Analysis and uses this in her business work with companies.
Her background is in product and service innovation, business development and leadership. She is founder and Chief Innovation Officer at Futurecurve who are value solution architects and builders. Futurecurve helps companies navigate from a product ‘push’ focus to a true customer ‘pull’ focus, enabling them to out-perform their peers by delivering genuine value to customers. Customers include global corporations, governmental organisations, start-ups and not-for-profits. Contact Cindy on Twitter @cindy_barnes
All of Futurecurve’s qualitative research understanding customers is based on Transactional Analysis and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and they have combined this approach to create their world-class approach which uncovers both what customers think, how customers feel and how and why they behave as they do. Futurecurve are the pioneers in using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis in business and in showing businesses the emotions and motivations of their customers.