Industry disruptors all have one thing in common – they combine the best in technology and simplicity to solve their customers’ problems. The result is an exceptional experience for the customer and that’s what keeps them coming back. In 2019, over 80% of organisations were planning on competing mainly based on customer experience (CX)
Where price was thought to be the fiercest contender for B2B consumers, quality of product, service and support are, in fact, bigger decision factors
That’s why digital transformation is so business-critical to the B2B sectors. Technology is key to opening up new revenue streams, driving innovation and most importantly, responding to increasingly demanding customer expectations. After all, companies that harness technology to deliver their promise grow 4X faster than their competitors
But it’s not the only ingredient to delivering a differentiating experience. Carlo D’Alanno, Executive Creative Director at Rufus Leonard explores how the integration of your brand and your people with your technology is the secret to delivering meaningful and game-changing disruption.
Spotting a game-changing idea
We know that disruption is innovation that creates a new market and value network, eventually displacing established markets and their leaders. These transformational ideas come from understanding and responding to new behaviours and leveraging new or underutilised technology.
They’re born from ambitious organisations who understand how to integrate the right people and skills to stretch a vision and deliver on a single, motivating purpose or mission. In short, game-changing and business-changing ideas create real-world impact for people and businesses. And most crucially, these ideas happen when creativity and technology come together in a meaningful way.
Your brand as your differentiator
Binet and Field research recently revealed that brand building in B2B should, on average, account for 46% of marketing spend and 54% of lead generation. It’s crucial to find your distinct position within your competitor landscape, be honest about your business and build around a mission or purpose that your people can buy into and your customer experience can deliver on.
Brands that dominate their sectors have a credible offering delivered in a way that others can’t. Think Nike+ turning a footwear brand into a premium health and fitness provider. Zipcar proving that the sharing economy can work with real stuff. Or Kickstarter connecting bedroom entrepreneurs with investment. The B2C sector is brimming with simple ideas, beautifully executed, to make a meaningful difference to people. And B2B should be no different.
It’s about identifying and investing in hero moments along the journey – specifically where your brand could credibly provide a unique experience – which will create a memorable and differentiated experience for your customers. This is what will keep people coming back to you and encourage them to talk about you to their friends.
How B2B businesses are changing the game
Squarespace – democratising a previously closed world
The crux of Squarespace’s success lies in its empowerment of small businesses and individuals to market themselves digitally – in ways that previously would’ve required a skilled professional.
- The idea: A website for building (and managing websites), for anyone with a computer and an idea.
- The stretch: They democratised the previously closed world of website creation, giving the tools to the people with the business idea, but not the design and code skills.
- The tech transformation: Previously complex and hidden tech and skills are packaged and provided to users without the need for training or expertise. Building code into templates and modules transformed the way sites can be built.
- The design transformation: A user interface that is a shining example of their own principles of simplicity, usability and accessibility. It’s a rare thing – a beautiful piece of software.
- The impact: 2m+ subscribers, valued at $1.7bn, hosting circa 350k websites with 22% market share (self-editing and publishing, plus hosting). These are big numbers and speak to their success in growing a previously untapped niche: entrepreneurs and small-scale start-ups looking for a cost-effective and beautiful route to market.
R 2 Data Labs – from manufacturing to a data analytics powerhouse
Rolls Royce launched the data innovation hub, R 2 Data Labs back in 2017. Utilising new technology in Machine Learning and AI, they’ve moved the company from a product-based to a service-based model.
- The idea: A data innovation catalyst inside Rolls Royce.
- The stretch: Improving the way customers operate by delivering untapped value and insight from aggregating a myriad of data sources.
- The tech transformation: They deploy advanced data analytics, industrial Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to accelerate the development of new data insights, services and apps. Using a unique operating model, based on data innovation sprints and driven by their sector experience, they take a collaborative co-creation approach working with Rolls Royce and clients to tap data value in more ways, more quickly.
- The design transformation: Working in partnership with other Rolls Royce business units using manufacturing and design to build the perfect ‘virtual twin’. A virtual environment for experimentation that will give customers unparalleled insight and the ability to understand their data in new visual ways.
- The impact: These data analytical capabilities improve efficiency, productivity and risk management. New data insight is impacting the ways Roll Royce design and manufacture their products and has opened up new revenue stream in aftersales care. R 2 Data Labs is building data innovation communities through skill sharing, accelerator programmes and partnerships.
Creating a culture of shared creative leadership
To embed game-changing thinking into your B2B organisation, it’s important to nurture the integration of passion and profession, encouraging your people to be the driving force behind shaping your business. So ask yourself and your employees these questions:
- Passion: how might we help people find the ‘one thing’ that motivates their work?
- Purpose: how might we identify the common goal that brings individual passions together?
- Flow: how might we create a way of working and environment that lets a team get immersed and motivated and, be supportive and honest?
- Risk taking: how might we make it possible, and acceptable, to stretch our clients outside of their comfort zone?
Building every experience around this approach will ensure that technology facilitates the creative idea, that the creative idea is built on these capabilities, and that both ladder up to the strategy and brand promise. After all, delivering this is what will make your organisation stand apart from the crowd.
Your key takeout
How you answer these questions will be unique to your business, culture and sector. The common thread that all successfully strategic and creative brands share, is a willingness to integrate and delegate. To bring together people with diverse talents, passions, backgrounds and skillsets and to support them to solve the company’s biggest problems for themselves.