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What's the Future of Business?: Changing the Way Businesses Create Experiences Hardcover – March 11, 2013
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Featured Review by Peter Gruber, author of Tell to Win
While everyone's talking about social media, professional motivation, or the need for change in business, people who are actually looking for answers to bring about change are left to draw upon the classic treatises of Peter Drucker, Dale Carnegie, Geoffrey Moore, Tom Peters, et al. Yet, what those pundits don't provide is the "how to" shape your role and opportunity in this evolving landscape of consumerism. There's an old saw, "technology changes, people don't." The tsunami of social, mobile, real-time, technology is disrupting everything; this means that for success one must make the change of how one influences. What changes is how people influence, are influenced, along with how, when and where they make decisions.
There is a plethora of material on the "new" tools and there is no need for another book that talks about the same businesses that are using new technology to pursue relevance. Nor do we need another book for dummies or wannabes. What is required are answers and experience paired with the concrete data that arms us with the confidence to make decisions with intelligence and strength in a time when many surrender to gut-based decisions or general assumptions.
This is where Solis's content is king: he's a digital analyst studying technology and its impact on business. This is abundantly clear in the book, as he continually uses real world analytics to make his case that there's a new generation of connected consumers (Generation C as he calls it) on the opportunity horizon that are behaving differently, yet the existing touch points (those typically aligned with the traditional funnel) are missing or underestimating them.
What is to appreciate here is Solis's application of digital anthropology into a dialogue that's often rooted only in technology and trends. What's the Future (of Business), his "WTF", will shape this discussion and its impact, adroitly breaking down consumer decision making to four moments of truth. He shows that these moments, whether b2b, b2c, or any industry where people rely on any aspect of the Internet to get information, create a new epicenter of influence. This "influence loop", the moniker he gives it, claims to affect every moment of truth, rich with the shared experiences that populate Youtube, blogs, review sites, communities, and apps.
His point is crystal clear. What will happen in a world where a Google search is not the first step in discovery? What will be the reaction when a web site isn't the result people desire? What will happen when people place greater trust on informed or experienced peers first? There is clearly a different kind of connection, and breathing real, shared experiences are everywhere. Truth is, they can be readily and easily discoverable. And, to SEO your way alone to be relevant will turn into SOS. That is the point.
The core value in Solis's book is its coaching on how to create and invest in meaningful and sharable experiences, and this is the future of business that Brian preaches by making the book an experience in and of itself.
I get this; he created a coffee table book for business by studying UX to better learn how today's consumer reads, shares, and why. His congruence of feet, tongue, heart, and wallet all going in the same direction is proof of his authenticity, and promise of his premise. He fashioned with the team at Mekanism to create what he named an "analog app." It's textural, emotional, and colorful, even the paper is thick and unique to flip through. He made a physical book matter again even in a digital era. He professes that you can do this, and by following his code and credo, imagine what you can do...
From the Inside Flap
The volume of emerging technologies can overwhelm the best of us. Yet it's impacting business and society alike. In recent years, many top Fortune 500 companies have slipped out of contention as their business models failed to keep up in these turbulent times. Survival requires constantly adapting as your customers' behavior changes. You need new systems, processes, and intentions in place to recognize disruption as it happens, assess new opportunities, and quickly test new ideas.
Is your company equipped to change with your customers? Is it ready and able to create meaningful experiences that keep them hooked? If not, it's time to recognize how customers are not only changing but also how they're sharing experiences about you and your competition. This is where real transformation begins.
What's the Future of Business? is not a question—it's an answer. It explains how experience design helps your business and how you can harness its power for business growth. This book introduces a new movement that aligns the tenets of user experience with innovation and leadership to improve business performance, engagement, and relationships for a new generation of consumerism. What's the Future will also inspire you to rethink your business models, approach, and customer and employee relationships in order to create amazing, real-world experiences.
- Why experiences matter to your business
- Why the future of business will come down to these shared experiences
- The importance of brand in an era of Digital Darwinism
- How to marry user and customer experience with business leadership
- Why today's designs (and thinking) are failing
- How to design experiences around the four Moments of Truth
What's the Future of Business? teaches you how to start creating and nurturing incredible and shareable experiences for your customers from the moment your brand touches them. Learn how to craft experiences that mean something. The future of your business depends on it.
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Top customer reviews
The book is all about the customer experience. But I had a bad customer experience reading this book. The book does tough upon some interesting questions, but when you think Brian is going to give some real answers, he keeps writing pages and pages about, well, I can't remember. It just keeps repeating the same stuff on some ivory tower level, while never really giving concrete answers.
It just didn't stick.
In the end of the book, there's a case about Burberry. According to Brian, from an interview with the an exec from Burberry, they have really managed to align all channels, on and offline, to provide the same customer experience. Unfortunately they do not tell how.
And I guess that sums up the book. Sorry Brian, I know you musth have put a lot of work in this book, and I am sure lot's of people will enjoy this one. This book is probably not my type of book.
Longer Review and disclosures.
First the disclosure - Brian Solis is a friend - he was invited to my wedding and I've known him for years since I moved to the Bay Area. That said, I pre-ordered the book and bought it myself. But as with so much in business at all levels the personal friendship certainly helped drive his book to the top of my "to-read" (and to review) stack and I was pre-disposed to like it. Furthermore as I know many of his co-workers at Altimeter Group and we have many other mutual friends much of what he is writing about in this book is among the stuff we talk about when we get together (yup, we're all business/marketing/futurism/tech geeks and nerds at heart).
A few weeks ago I joined a new startup as their Director of Marketing. We are a tiny company (I'm the first actual hire) but even as small as we are there were many insights and reminders in What's the Future the reminded me of important things we as a company and especially I in the context of marketing our firm need to keep in mind going forward. First and foremost that we have to think about the whole experience of our product - from awareness of the product to getting the product to using it to sharing it with others.
I am also a writer myself and a fan of the physical design of things - especially books. What's the Future of Business is a beautiful physical object. In interviews Brian has described this as a coffee table book that you actually want to read and that description is accurate to an extent. It is a highly designed book where the form has important functions in serving the thesis of the book itself. He has created an experience - with a design that includes many pull quotes and great illustrations - and through repetition of simple patterns and images as well as a great summary at the end helps you experience the book as if attending a great talk or presentation - a bit less as a pure book and more as a whole thing. Mostly this is a good thing - the short chapters and illustrations help reinforce the points - while also making them fairly memorable and actionable.
That said there are places where the design falters - a few sections that seem long compared to the others - and in a few places at the end as the earlier chapters are summarized it is not always clear if what you are reading is a summary or a review with additional points and elements that had been left out of the earlier chapters. And the need to write to many audiences all at once also hurts the book a bit - it is very much written with the very large corporation seemingly front of mind - a marketer for a smaller firm has challenges just getting our first customers let alone getting the future mobile first experience of those customers sharing that experience with others right. But that said, we in fact need to be as concerned about the emergence of Generation C as Brian calls them.
Overall this is a book that is well worth reading and which I hope sparks a lot of people to rethink their businesses - just as many companies are starting to get a handle on the emergence of the Internet connected customer they need to start dealing with a next wave of consumers who start on mobile, connected networks and go from there.
Most recent customer reviews
After flipping through a few pages my colleagues and I turned it into...Read more