To become Future-Ready Businesses (FRBs) there’re a few things to consider for tomorrow. In this article, we’re going to take you through some of the key principles and practices to keep in mind. One thing is for sure, digital maturity requires agility, curiosity, and a customer-first ethos are some of those features. Something that an outstanding business should consider.
In partnership with Boston Consulting Group, Google recently studied 2,000 of the world’s most digitally mature companies. More so, in order to understand what they had in common. In addition to reporting a 5-percentage-point increase in market share during the past two years as compared to their peers, there were three common traits that stood out.
Thus, it’s important to consider how you too might implement some of these elements into your organization’s own transformation journey to future-proof your brand. We’ll also share what companies can learn from digital leaders in order to get ahead. Therefore, say tight so that you can gather a thing or two to uplift your current business standings.
What The Future-Ready Businesses (FRBs) Entail
Notably, Future-Ready Businesses (FRBs) have a positive attitude to change, are open to new technology, and have clear steps towards business transformation and a detailed strategy. They are also up to date with trends, and uncertainties and are very adaptable. In addition, these organizations have different ways of approaching business challenges.
Technology has allowed us all to evolve and adapt to our new world. And while we focus our energy on managing the current global crisis, our attention should also look towards the recovery of our society and economy — a recovery perhaps like no other we have witnessed. Understanding what makes some businesses better equipped to survive and thrive is crucial.
That’s why we decided to see what characteristics these organizations have in common that help them be better prepared for what the future may hold. On asking businesses what those challenges are, there were five that stood out across almost all industries, countries, and business sizes. Such as rebuilding and reinforcing resilience in the face of disruption.
Whilst, having to adapt quickly to changing customer and societal behaviors. And, in terms of sustainability, it’s all about becoming standard, while creating solutions to the new challenges and opportunities of data. As well as rethinking the way they recruit and nurture talent. All organizations can learn from these ‘future-ready’ businesses to better prepare for the future.
How The Future-Ready Businesses (FRBs) Are Building For Tomorrow
Marketing leaders have been future-proofing organizations since long before the pandemic. But for companies that may have struggled a few years back to gain momentum, the pandemic likely opened the floodgate to digital transformation. Today, the opportunity for marketers is to keep that spirit of accelerated learning and agility going in a sustained, long-lasting way.
For most, this is about continuing the digital transformation process, not starting over. If we’ve learned anything since the pandemic began, it’s that being ready isn’t a feeling; it’s a choice. We recently studied the world’s most digitally mature companies and observed them making big gains. Among other achievements, digital leaders reported a 5 % point increase.
Especially, in market share during the pandemic versus their peers. Beyond embracing the idea of digital transformation, these companies made choices that not only prepared them to respond to a global crisis but helped them emerge as digital leaders. In our analysis, we observed three traits that most leaders in the Future-Ready Businesses (FRBs) have in common.
Consider how you might implement these into your organization’s own transformation journey to be ready for what’s next. Below are the three main traits that Future-Ready Businesses (FRBs) need to add more focus energy for tomorrow.
Trait #1: Make Agile, Flexible Plans
The brands best prepared for the pandemic had marketing programs that we’re agile and responsive enough to capture short-term opportunities while also building long-term resilience. Take The Ordinary, for instance. A skincare line made by “the abnormal beauty company” Deciem. The brand was pandemic ready for direct-to-consumer and self-care trends.
While Deciem began as a scrappy Canadian startup looking for a global audience in the crowded beauty space, it broke through by breaking down its marketing approach into a few simple steps. First, Deciem’s marketing team set clear objectives, focusing on brand awareness and customer loyalty. Then they studied regional search trends to identify the top 5 markets.
Particularly, using shopping campaigns where the brand could turn searches into sales. Lastly, they use the Google automated tools seeded with the data from those successful pilots to scale globally — with results of a 5 to 1 return on ad spend.
Trait #2: Apply A Test-And-Learn Mindset
Another trait leading brands consistently demonstrated was a strong culture of experimentation. In fact, digital leaders reported seeing 3X higher returns from digital initiatives — in particular, on the basis of customer-oriented solutions. Such as automated campaign optimization and customized landing pages — versus those less digitally mature.
Digital leaders share a strong culture of experimentation. In fact, brands that adopted a test-and-learn mindset saw 3X higher returns on their digital initiatives versus companies that were less digitally mature. Brands that adopted a test-and-learn mindset saw a 3X return on their digital initiatives. Look at Monday.com, the cloud-based work operating system.
Its product’s evolution has been supported by marketing to match its agility and growth. The brand scaled globally, going public just last year, by using a data-driven approach to test and optimize messages on platforms like YouTube to capture different audience segments. A B2B player, Monday has adapted its messaging from industry to industry.
In particular, so that they can appeal to over 200 business verticals that manage core work processes on its platform. For example, when first trying to connect with marketers and creative teams, Monday realized it could better optimize its general go-to-market messaging. So it pivoted and, in less than a week, it tested new campaigns with quite good results.
Results that showcased the product benefits for marketers, driving a 25% increase in qualified sign-ups. Monday also has incorporated an always-on testing mindset into planning and budgets, dedicating 30% of its budget to identifying new audiences, new creativity, and new bidding strategies.
Trait #3: Be Customer-Centric To The Core
Finally, we noticed that digital leaders routinely overcame organizational silos. Whilst, making digital transformation a companywide imperative and recommitting to being a consumer first. Companies at the forefront of digital are committed to altering their entire organizations, not just particularly forward-leaning teams.
By making transformation a company-wide imperative, they were better prepared to respond to changes in customer behavior and needs. On that note, the Kia company exemplifies this: It went through a brand relaunch, shifting from a traditional automaker to a sustainable mobility solution provider. And, it became a more customer-centric organization in the process.
Like many automakers, Kia used to see its dealers as customers and had limited direct interaction with consumer car buyers. But, Kia recognized that potential drivers searching online wanted an integrated experience. More so, when they walked into a showroom and, hopefully, drove off the lot. So Kia did something new.
It started working with regional dealers to build standardized web templates and data policies — to provide a more consistent experience for customers. As well as to give the company a better picture of its end users. To build its first-party data strategy, Kia focused on providing a real value exchange with consumers. For example, let’s consider some car buyers.
Usually, they love designing their dream rides in Kia’s car-configuration simulator and appreciate the ease of booking an in-person test drive online. The company also has been able to create more relevant offers for its logged-in users. In one test, Kia connected its website data with a dealer’s CRM platform and saw a 4X boost to its conversion rates from marketing.
What Makes A Future-Ready Business?
If we’ve learned anything since the pandemic began, it’s that being ready isn’t a feeling; it’s a choice. We recently studied the world’s most digitally mature companies and observed them making big gains. Among other achievements, digital leaders reported a 5-percentage-point increase in market share during the pandemic versus their peers.
Deciem’s marketing team set clear objectives, focusing on brand awareness and customer loyalty. Beyond embracing the idea of digital transformation, these companies made choices that not only prepared them to respond to a global crisis but helped them emerge as digital leaders. In our other analysis, we observed more factors that make a business ‘future-ready.’
The driving forces that future-ready businesses have in common:
- A Positive Attitude To Change: They embrace change and are excited by the future.
- Open To New Technology: They acknowledge the power of technology to solve business challenges.
- They Are Very Adaptable: Meaning, that they can react quickly to new trends or challenges and are quick to market
- Work Towards Transformation: Whereby, they’ve clear business steps and set business technology roadmaps in place
- Trends And Uncertainties Updates: They clearly identify business shaping forces and ask for help from thought leaders
- Detailed Strategy: They’ve got a wider business strategy for the future that is documented, specific, funded, and measured
Additionally, as you’ll learn in an eBook from the next link herein, any business can become ‘future ready’ with the right mindset and behaviors. With that in mind, to read and know more, you can just download the full report to find out how in detail.
The Partnership Role In Building Future-Ready Businesses
One thing worth noting about all the above traits is how reliant they are on each other. To be customer-focused, you have to be agile enough to adapt to behavioral changes. To be agile, you need to test so you know where to put your resources. And, testing is the key to a customer-centric ethos, as it’s the best way to recognize changes in customer expectations and needs.
Resilience is possible, but only if you build a cohesive business culture committed to adaptability. Marketing leaders have been future-proofing organizations since long before the pandemic. But, for companies that may have struggled a few years back to gain momentum, the pandemic likely opened the floodgate to digital transformation.
Making digital transformation a companywide imperative, and recommitting to being a consumer is the next thing to consider. Charting our Route to Ready means always being focused on the customer journey not just where customers are today but where they are heading next. Being among the future-ready businesses is about more than your marketing.
It’s a broader transformation and an opportunity for the likes of our very own Google team and Web Tech Experts Taskforce to be better partners. From rethinking go-to-market strategies to figuring out the operations of consolidated, as well as hybrid retail models. In that case, there is just so much more we can do together to get ready for the future.
1. Focus On Sustainability As The Leading Toolkit
Sustainability has been creeping up the business agenda for some years now. Generally, as the public becomes more vocal about it and regulations increase. Furthermore, 67% of businesses are improving their sustainability. While 46% of Future-Ready Businesses (FRBs) see being sustainable as essential for their business to continue operating.
Global lockdowns have also given us some fascinating insights into climate change that are unlikely to be forgotten. So, it’s more important than ever that businesses show how they’re tackling this issue. What about adapting to the changing times? Well, on top of this, there has been greater empowerment of customers in recent years.
Meaning, that 64% of businesses expect the power and influence of consumers to grow. And, as a result, their ability to sway the behavior of organizations has grown significantly. Customers increasingly want to express their individuality and social values through the goods and services they buy.
Remarkably, most Future-Ready Businesses (FRBs) are already reacting to this. They are focussing on brand purpose, prioritizing their ethical behavior, and investing more in their local communities.
2. Start Utilizing Resilience In The Disruption Face
At the start of 2020, no one could have predicted that we’d experience a global pandemic, lockdowns, and an economic upheaval unseen since the 1930s. This has had an enormous effect on companies worldwide. Yet future-ready businesses (FRBs) were found to be much better prepared for Covid-19, are coping well, and expecting to bounce back faster.
While 49% of all businesses report that profits are down now compared to last year, 30% of FRBs still report increased profits. Looking at the next five years, 57% of FRBs also expect their profits to increase, compared to 45% of all businesses. But, how are they doing it? ‘Future-ready’ businesses see the crisis as a natural time to experiment with new ways of working.
As such, they have made broader, smarter investments in new technology. They aren’t afraid to adapt and take risks. It’s more than that though. FRBs are far more likely to help those around them and are focused on the health and wellbeing of their employees. In fact, 97% have supported their employees further during the pandemic, compared to 90% of all businesses.
3. Have A Data-Centric Outlook In Nurturing Talents
As for this one, the emergence of Big Data is also creating a further set of challenges too. Not only is it becoming an increasingly important strategic asset, but it’s also vital to store and process it securely. FRBs are often born on the cloud, and securing and processing data is in their DNA. Just 20% of all businesses see themselves as industry leaders in various ways.
Such as in storing and processing data securely. Among FRBs, this number jumps to 39%. This puts them a step ahead of rivals and makes it easier for them to get the most out of analytics. Similarly, in terms of nurturing talents, a business is only as good as its people, and accommodating the modern workforce has never been a greater challenge.
A new generation of employee wants to work for a business that fit their values. While, at the same time, existing employees need more retraining opportunities. FRBs see this as an opportunity. They’re using tech to create digital workplaces that appeal to younger workers, and that makes it easier for all kinds of employees to work more flexibly.
While, on the other side, with a focus on their wellbeing at all times. There is still much room for improvement in being open to diversity in the broadest sense. But, FRBs are still ahead and will surely benefit in the long term. And, that’s another great and key human element that’s key for the Future-Ready Businesses (FRBs) success moving forward.
4. Try Creating A Productive Work Environment
In order to create a productive work environment, you’ll need to start by rethinking health, wellness, and safety in the workplace. Bearing in mind, that the COVID-19 Coronavirus was a prime example of a sudden, unforeseen challenge to employers’ and employees’ ability to do their jobs safely. Across the globe, employers are investigating various methods.
Such as how to improve the health and well-being of employees in the long term. Whilst, improving the agility and ability of their work to adapt to sudden changes. As health and safety requirements change and evolve, businesses will need the right processes and policies to protect their workforce. And also, the right technology to adapt to any circumstance.
Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be one of the biggest business challenges in recent times. Equally important, its restrictions have led us to examine what this means for the future of work. So, what does this mean for you? Well, there are a few things you can do in order to create a productive work environment for your employees.
Consider some of the following workplace features:
- First, consider reassuring your workforce that all is/will be well
- Secondly, make use of technology that caters to all ways of working
- Thirdly, using a variety of AI technologies, you can make your HR more human
- Fourthly, start identifying health risks quickly but privately
- Next, create confidence with health and safety technology
- By the same token, always keep your employees informed
- Fifth, build fixed and/or robust wireless networks
- Again, delivering the right tools for the job is also key
- Lastly, start using data to drive change
In this case, Vodafone is a very good example to borrow some ideas from. For one thing, it keeps your employees safely connected wherever they choose to work. As your employees work from different locations, make sure that they are always connected — whenever they want to be and are safe in the office. Bringing global connectivity to the home is the next item.
Keep in mind, that your remote employees need reliable, high-speed access to key applications and information. But, when they’re relying on connections at home, productivity suffers. With your workforce increasingly dispersed, a dedicated ethernet connection, can provide the coverage and speed you and your employees need. Of course, it sounds so great, right?
5. Plan For Your Business Route To Readiness
So far, we all know that digital transformation is a very essential business tool. But, the journey will look different for every brand. From redefining budgets to rethinking measurement, explore actionable solutions to help your company gain deeper insights, be more agile, create growth opportunities, and build resilience for the future.
On one side, part one of the research series by Google on digital transformation shows how simple organizational changes can help companies transform. While, on the other side, part two will explore the importance of the CMO and CFO relationship. And then, part three will focus on the next generation of digital leadership. So, it’s wise for you to follow the leads.
To stay competitive in today’s high-paced consumer market, companies must transform to be digital-first, so to say. Even so, only 14% of businesses today are considered digital leaders. But, why do so many lags behind? Because company heads mistakenly believe that digital transformation has to be an arduous, multiyear process that is solely reliant on technology.
The fact is that; true digital transformation is less about technological tools and more about remodeling organizational structure. Overwhelmingly, leaders from the most successful companies emphasize the importance of two organizational changes. And, as such, the first one is all about establishing a team structure that fosters collaboration.
Whilst, the second one is all about investing in a flexible, experimental work environment. This means, that as a business, in order to build a strong foundation, you need to consider a few unique aspects. The collaborative structure, flexibility, and experimentation. One: Collective strength, rather than individual talent, is now a defining feature of successful leadership.
Two: Innovation happens when you empower people at every level of the organization to challenge the status quo. Three: Staying ahead of the digital curve sometimes requires changing course at a moment’s notice. And doing it successfully requires leaders who know when to pivot and who are open to experimenting with new strategies and solutions.
Today, the opportunity for marketers is to keep that spirit of accelerated learning and agility going in a sustained, long-lasting way. For most, this is about continuing the digital transformation process, not starting over. At all costs, the COVID-19 Pandemic has given us quite some time to reflect and realize that work can be done differently and from anywhere.
And for that to be possible, businesses now need to be digital and responsive but not at the cost of their humanity. We believe we’re moving into a new era. A new era where companies rapidly and purposefully adopt the new technology. Perse, as they try to enhance people’s personal experiences and overall business lives, rather than letting technology control us.
For this reason, the key element in all of this is a massive rewrite of the social contracts between employers and employees. As well as between businesses and their customers, FRBs are already leading the way. It’s now good to consider how you might implement these into your organization’s own transformation journey to be ready for what’s next than ever.
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That’s it! Everything about the Future-Ready Businesses (FRBs) that you need to always have in mind while building your business for the future. So, what’s your take on this? Well, you can let us know your additional thoughts, suggestions, opinions, recommendations, contributions, or even more questions (for FAQ Answers) in our comments section below this guide.
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