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customer experience
Alex Wilmott
  • By Alex Wilmott
  • Jan 21 2016

Not another set of 2016 predictions

A thinker's approach to 2016

I know I don’t just speak for myself when I say it’s good to see the back of those sleep-inducing articles that start with “Five predictions for 2016” and “2016 the year of the blah blah blah”. When are PR and Marketing departments going to wake up and face the fact that business leaders stopped caring about all that soon after it made its debut on social media a few years back. Some of the articles are so crass they may as well be predicting a rise in the oxygen in-take from the human race in the year ahead.

Take ‘digital’ for example. Too often, seasoned business leaders are encouraged to read LinkedIN articles that spend 800 words literally saying and predicting absolutely nothing, but have the word ‘digital’ all over them - so they must be good. “How to digitalise your digital digits in the digital year of 2016”. Oh pull the other one. If you haven’t become aware of the importance of the constant digital evolution, you’re probably not in business anymore. Digital communications strategy has become integrated with PR for years now - and this is common knowledge. But the rules of business will never change. Everything starts and ends with your customer, and it always will.

If you want to know what to avoid and what to undertake in 2016, take a little time to reflect on what happened last year; because history has a nasty habit of repeating itself.

We could examine the brands that had a nightmare - Volkswagen, Talktalk, Thomas Cook, Seaworld… the list goes on. But all of these shared one common downfall - their extensively broadcast problems stemmed from failing to place their customer at the heart of their decision making; placing profits above people.

However, there were plenty of winners too….

ALDI - Taking the coveted Which ‘Supermarket of the Year’ award and expanding operations beyond Europe into the US. Fair play, this brand continues to operate with a spring in its step despite economic challenges that have seen many supermarket giants fall by the wayside.

APPLE - Another very strong and steady year for Apple in terms of both innovation and brand value; which reported a 43 percent rise on the Interbrand rankings. Apple is making a habit of silencing critics who often predict its downfall, whilst out-performing it’s aggressive and numerous competitors.

O2 - From its Priority Moments loyalty scheme to the continued effort in building Europe’s biggest mobile network recycling programme, it was another good year for O2. However, the #WearTheRose campaign became an unavoidable joke when the English rugby team crashed out of the group stages of the World Cup. (That’s not O2’s fault though, I’d blame the English forwards).

JOHN LEWIS - 2015 saw the brand unite all their social media accounts and platforms to launch another widely anticipated and well-received Christmas campaign. There is no doubt that the John Lewis Christmas activity has become a household tradition up and down the country. Might it go wrong this year or can this model of emotive advertising continue? I think we can expect a different approach in the near future, probably one that’s more interactive with the customer.

The reality is those brands that execute a customer experience that’s focussed on those who pay their salaries will retain and grow their customer base. Those who take shortcuts, neglect employees, forget customers, lie to the press, stay in their comfort zone…will almost surely have a bad year.

If you’re looking for ridiculous predictions and shallow content, please accept our apologies. But in any case, have a great 2016 and stay tuned for honest insight here at Smith+Co.