New Business Strategies
How does it change business strategy most profoundly?
It means that businesses have to go back and restructure everything from their brand to the technologies that they use and the pricing points. It requires a total rethink. And the bigger the business is, the harder that is to change, and there comes the resistance. You can't just say, "Let's put up an e-commerce site and let people send us e-mails and ask us questions about products." That's nothing. That's passive. We're talking about real levels of involvement that will be required here. Time- and money-involved. Nurturing. A lot more work on the part of the business to pamper the customer. A lot more time and money is going to have to be spent now to keep customers and get more of them. And I'm not just talking about being nicer. I'm talking about involving them in every inch of how you approach strategy.
Take Gensler Architecture. Instead of taking a "we know what you need" attitude, they started asking customers about what's going on in their business and how they thought that might affect their use of space. And what they found was that consumers now want information tied to what Gensler was offering before. So Gensler came up with information offerings, if you willadvice on how to make customer offices more flexible to the rise and fall of work force size and so forth. This is an example of a firm moving from delivering the "what," in this case building and interior designs, to the "how," methods for making workspaces more flexible, and the "why," why such flexibility will make their clients' employees more productive.
Unlimited growth used to be the ultimate goal of business; today our psychology tells us not to waste resources. We're in a period of concentrationcrunching time, space and distance. We have to move our business cycles, shorten them to more accurately match the accelerating tempo of today's marketplace. Psychology has shifted from competition based on price to competition based on value. People want more, faster. Do you want to be in the hula-hoop business or the health and exercise market? We need offensive strategies, which consciously evolve in the wake of whatever the environment has given us. The old view was that business was built around products; today, they are formed around service relationships with consumers.