Linky Love #4: Turning An 800 Pound Gorilla Into 800 Gazelles
A big business is like an 800-pound gorilla. It isn’t agile or fast, and when they fall, they fall hard. In today’s market being a gorilla is not a good thing like it used to be. Business today is all about collaboration with consumers and responding quickly and promptly. In an article titled, “Rules For The Social Era“, Nilofer Merchant, the corporate director at NASDAQ, provides us with her recommendations on what the big businesses of today should be doing to fit in the social era.
The social era does not call for big businesses anymore. Instead, it calls for a “leaner” approach where customers don’t feel the overwhelming ominous presence of big conglomerates. It is important to make your business more approachable and connect with the customer. Merchant references the ING cafe modelwhere the branch is set up as coffee shop and does not deal with deposits, only cash withdrawals. Instead, all deposits are sent to the ING head quarters via mail. It takes the “big” business feeling out of the branch and makes for a more enjoyable experience. In the social era, it is important to re-invent the wheel and big businesses are struggling with it.
Big businesses need to eliminate the linear “conversation chain” and implement a direct connection model. Customers don’t like jumping through hoops to get what they want. It has become your job as the big business to reach out to them directly before they even think to reach out to you. This way you can gain their feedback and address issues before they know they have any. Make sure the first conversation they have with an associate is not at the register!
Merchant argues that it’s not enough to just get your customers to “like” you on Facebook and I agree. Businesses and consumers need to share a value and/or purpose; otherwise the consumer relationship is meaningless. It’s not enough to just create a Facebook page and try to get the most likes if you aren’t using it to spark conversation. As a business it is your job to give your consumers what they want before they know they want it. The way to do that is by getting into their minds and listening to what they have to say.
To Merchant, big businesses that act like gorillas seem like dinosaurs. They struggle to keep up with the ever-changing times and are stuck in their ways of the past. They don’t excel in the present and before they know it they will be wiped out when the asteroid hits earth.
A big business that acts more like a gazelle will be able to keep up with the social era and collaborate for the future. Gazelles are swift, agile and rise quickly after a fall just like a business that embraces the social era.