The future of the Living Business

agenda analysis - pic from Plexels

There’s a misconception among some brands that disruptive hype should underpin what a business is all about. While there are some staggering examples of creative brilliance out there, beware the showy and transient.

A word of advice to businesses, then.

Change the way you think about your customer. Those businesses that aren’t busying themselves chasing customer loyalty, but are flipping the tables by focusing on becoming loyal brands, will be the next to succeed.

These brands are continuously adapting and shifting around their customers’ needs and expectations in a quest to remain relevant and helpful. In today’s world, this is the only way brands can achieve sustainable growth – and that’s what winning is all about. We work with our clients to transform them into Living Businesses that seek to do exactly that – to unlock growth with relevance, profitably delivering products, services and experiences that are hyper-relevant to customers, even as their context and needs evolve over time.

As consumers, we’re bombarded by choice at every turn – promotions in our social feeds, related or suggested product lists on ecommerce sites, and acres of retail space packed with offers. This could be tackled with better advertising and communication.

However, we also face a more regular – and aggressive – onslaught from social upheaval, tension and technological disruption; so much so, it’s come to characterise modern life. This more substantial challenge will demand that businesses use their resources and knowledge to work towards actively improving our lives, rather than simply flogging us more stuff.

The core tenets of living business include:

Work that makes a human impact. Projects that reach beyond a worthy message to do good. Advertising campaigns can blow your socks off, but I’ll always be more interested if there’s substance to back them up

Initiatives that break beyond the remit of a select team – like marketing or digital – to make a positive impact across a whole experience rather than a ‘big idea’ campaign. A recently launched piece of research from Accenture on Living Businesses has found that 93% of the highest performing companies prioritise organising their entire business around customer need, instead of relying on siloed initiatives to positively impact consumers

For instance, real impact for a bank could be enabling people to visualise their finances in a new way that helps them to proactively avoid overdrafts or to make savings. Even stronger would be a bank that could do that at every touchpoint – an app, online banking, in the branch and through a messaging bot

Living Business principles like ‘company-wide’ focus on the customer, and multi-disciplinary teams that work closely together without being constrained by the traditional parameters of defined roles

The beauty of focusing on becoming a loyal brand is that it’s the best way to earn loyal customers in today’s business landscape – it’s simply a new route to the same end.

New Accenture research shows that Living Businesses are 50% more likely to stand firm and succeed in the face of industry disruption, and three times more likely to achieve above-average revenue and profit growth.

This is evidence enough that a firm focus on creating experiences that genuinely enrich consumers’ lives will become truly Living Businesses.

Mark Curtis, co-founder and chief client officer for Fjord (design and innovation from Accenture Interactive)

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