“The path in front of you is rarely a straight line. It’s full of bumps ... Embrace the bumps in the road.” Ellen Bennett
In a 1998 report designed to train officers for the 21st century, the United States War College described a world that is “volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous” or VUCA, for short. Today, VUCA perfectly describes what is happening in the world. Globally - Trump, BREXIT and locally a Cabinet reshuffle, the downgrading of South Africa to Junk status by 2 ratings Agencies clearly indicates a world in flux.
With the downgrade of South Africa to Junk status by S&P and then Fitch on Friday, South Africans are still reeling from the shock and trying to make sense of the impact this will have on their businesses, their pockets and their future prospects.
Whilst it is impossible to predict the future, we do know that inflation and interest rates are going to rise. We are going to have to be pro-active, innovative and action-orientated to survive and thrive. What will be key is to focus more on our customer (both internally and externally). This means that our people will require more support and strong leadership and our customers will demand more value.
Here are the Top 3 Consumer Trends that you can learn from to better understand your people and your potential and existing customers and how you can identify opportunities in order to innovate and adapt amidst the uncertainty.
Top 3 Consumer trends in 2017:
We are more connected than ever before with a vantage point, an opinion and a voice online that always connects us to what is happening in the world and around us. We can experience and immerse ourselves in what is happening at the same time or soon after wherever we are and as easy as on our phone or connected device. We are global citizens and the world has never been more accessible to us. This access to the world provides us with an opportunity to curate the world and how we represent it. What human truth can we gain from having more access to every corner of the world? What can we learn? How can we organize ourselves and each other towards better governance, better leadership and better outcomes?
As global citizens, we discover that there is more that connects us than divides us. Consider how you and your business can build bridges between people and cultures and how you can use this always on access to innovate for change in your business or to seek out new opportunities for your business by identifying the challenges that you can solve both in South Africa and beyond.
We are always connected to our digital life. If you touch your phone before you touch your partner in the morning then you are addicted! If that is the case, shouldn't the digital experience be the best it can be? We spend so much time engaged, interacting and immersed - how do you and your business get noticed?
The future still belongs to those who believe in progress. And progress comes from innovation. Your opportunity as a brand to VUCA? Innovate to build a better future – for all.
And there is a plethora of innovative tech available to you right now, from AI (Artificial Intelligence) to VR (Virtual reality) and AR (Augmented Reality). At Design Indaba this year, all the brand activations had some form of VR to deliver an immersive and memorable experience.
Consider how you can create digital experiences your clients will value and how you can leverage off digital to make your business processes and client interactions easier and simpler.
This new era poses serious challenges to governments, individuals and to many brands. However there’s also a massive opportunity here. This is a uniquely powerful moment to prove who you are as a brand. What you mean, what you believe, and how you make the world better. You can use innovation to build a better future and to do so by positively impacting on the environment, your community, your people’s lives and the country. Because good business is good for business.
Consider what you stand for the difference you and your business can make. And then go out and do it.
Partner with the DMASA if you need support or would like to learn more on how you can apply these insights to your business. Be inspired by the Design Indaba experience in an immersive wrap up of the best of the Design Indaba showcasing the innovation and ideas you missed that cover these 3 consumer trends. In addition, DMASA members get 20% off Bootcamp Breakfasts® - training designed to drive business value and innovation at the speed of the world in VUCA.
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