Image via @beeple_crap
"Human emotion is the hidden force behind every major trend" Patrick Dixon, The Future of (almost) Everything.
In a world where technology is constantly changing things and many future jobs don’t exist yet, businesses are struggling to use past data to predict customer behaviour and trends. Last week, I attended The Future Laboratory's Global Futures Forum in which they presented why we must use human needs to predict future behaviour. They have identifies seven human needs, brands and services then answer these needs.
Whilst luxury consumer are cash rich and time poor, the rapid development of technology potentially replacing humans in the workplace, the overpopulation cities and our impact on the environment, our future seems unpredictable, unsustainable and out of control. To adapt, education must change (65% of children entering schools today will end up in jobs that don’t exist), and so must the workplace.
“Though we can’t yet know how this generation’s work lives will play out, many of its members today place a higher value on new learning and new experiences than on the traditional incentives such as moving up the corporate hierarchy.” James Allen, Bain & Co
Companies will value EQ (emotional intelligence) over IQ.
I recently attended a discussion hosted by Kate Nightingale, founder of Style Psychology where a group of panellists discussed changes in retail and the shop floor. Mel Hales, director of Rush Talent [mindfulness coaching for businesses] advised that we must "hire on values rather than skill. You can teach skills but you can’t teach values.” After all, we are going to be working alongside technology to enhance human skills. This is particularly relevant in retail, an industry that has changed so much in recent years. The employee retention term on the shop floor is getting shorter, perhaps in part because they aren't having their emotional needs met, they aren't being engaged with or listened to by the people running the company. These are the people who know your customer best. They meet them and speak to them every day. They impact your customers emotional experience in store, so they must themselves feel connected to you brand. Hannah Shepherd, Head of Retail Experience at Virgin Media, ensures she spends time on the shop floor, dressed in the same uniform as her colleagues, taking instruction from them and listening to them.
"Tomorrow’s successful brands will combine benefits of automation with the creation of a neurologically diverse workforce, dispersing established hierarchies. The heart and management of companies is key." The Future Lab.
A brand experience MUST be internal as well as external. When this happens, we can use social media as it was initially intended, as an anti-media that allows people to have an authentic conversation, and to feel emotionally connected with brands by seeing who and what is 'behind the scene's'.