Monday’s Keynote Speakers Preach Powerful Messages
From disruptive technology to dialing back stress, Monday’s Power Keynote presentations at The PPAI Expo in Las Vegas addressed the hot-button issues that have attendees wondering how they’ll survive a digital evolution while managing the daily grind without suffering from burnout—or worse, missing out on opportunities for positive change.
Silicon Valley analyst Brian Solis told his audience that the customer experience is evolving quickly because of technology, which influences how consumers make decisions. “The customer experience is evolving so quickly,” he says, “that we have to adapt to meet their needs, and to be able to see these things for what they mean on a very human level.”
Solis reminded the audience that audiences now largely begin the search process for what they need on their mobile devices, because they are always within reach--this phenomenon is changing the way society works.
And, while keywords once were gold in the quest for driving traffic, now the question is the primary tool. Successful companies with an online presence are creating content around the questions customers ask, and not simply keywords, says Solis.
He points out the current challenge faced by Google, which he says feels the challenge posed by Amazon, where users search for what they need by asking for it in true question form.
All innovation starts with a shift, Solis explains. “Innovation starts with how you choose to see the opportunity, and once you start to question everything, doors start to open up.”
Speaker Ryan Estis provided his own insights into meeting customers where they are in order to grow their businesses between now and 2020. “You have got to initiate continuous reinvention,” says Estis.
He notes that the type of disruption that used to happen to businesses such as Blockbuster Video and Compaq computers is not the type of disruption faced by businesses today. “Customers are changing faster than most companies can keep up. What do you do in this time to connect with customers?”
The speed of change requires companies to reinvent themselves and their approaches in order to keep up. Leaders of these companies must be lifelong learners and be willing to step outside the comfort zone. “Your biggest breakthrough is one where you step outside your comfort zone,” he says.
To win in the era of the customer, says Estis, companies need to brand the customer experience. “By brand, I mean create an identity--standards of excellence, routines and rituals that you can practice daily and deploy against your customers’ needs consistently that actually resonate with the customer in a meaningful way.”
Of course, the rapid pace of innovation and change can’t be sustained for too long without the risk of burnout. Speaker Colette Carlson humorously illustrated the daily grind that many in the audience experience for themselves, and shared with attendees her strategies for minimizing stress, maximizing connections with others and approaching life and work in a meaningful way. Carlson’s high-energy style included props and jokes that illustrated a deeper message: manage expectations to manage stress.
Carlson says the expectations we especially set for ourselves need to be managed. She warns against “shoulding ourselves,” which is the habit of negatively looking back at those things we feel we “should” have done to meet constructed expectations.
Carlson says even short moments of being still can help reduce stress and open the door to innovation and ideas. She points to the creator of Instagram, who came up with the idea for his app while on vacation. “Breaks now prevent breakdowns later,” she says. “Breaks create breakthroughs.”