Hungry Jack's

There are a lot of things in life that, for better or worse, ain’t what they used to be. For me, this fact becomes very apparent whenever I travel and especially when I have a reason to leave the US.

The entire travel process has changed greatly over the past 30 years. Physical ticketing offices rarely exist anymore; today we can buy flights online and use our mobile phone as a boarding pass. Airports used to be gateways to the exotic; now they are the physical manifestation of mundane legal rules and regulations. Passengers can’t smoke in-flight anymore, but we can check email and hopefully will never be allowed to make phone calls.

Destinations have changed as well. The proliferation of global brands make this difference ironically apparent, making foreign cities both comfortingly familiar and unfortunately similar. Almost everywhere you go, you can have a Coke or Starbucks coffee, buy an Apple product, or get outfitted in Nike gear. Whether this is good or bad depends on your personal preferences.

But this is all good news for businesses. The rise of global consumer culture drives similarity in preferences, allowing brands to streamline demand generation and reduce operating costs. You can get curry-flavoured sauce for your McNuggets in London and you can’t in New York, but the macro picture is that everyone knows that the golden arches represent food, folks, and fun – at a fair price.

As a consumer, this means that experience matters most. It’s getting a sunburn on Bondi, walking through Central Park, smelling spices in Istanbul. It’s LED overload in Akibahara, sweating in a Helsinki sauna, feeling mist while peeking over the Cliffs of Moher.

For social business to succeed, brands need to take a holistic perspective on consumer (and employee) experiences. Many contemporary approaches are limited because social media are digital, thus channeling focus on closed-loop, online-only experiences. But this isn’t science fiction – we don’t live dreams – digital initiatives must tie into a real-life purpose.

Social business is business. Why use new opportunities to replicate old ways of doing things? Be careful to not get myopically focused on a single user environment or to replicate only what you see other businesses doing. The experience you create – how and why – is all that matters.

Join the Conversation

No comments

  1. Hey Peter. This is a very thought provoking point. I sat through a Verizon/Microsoft webinar this morning that walked me through a generic SharePoint solution and cost benefits of cloud-based services. It was an off-the-shelf, here’s a toolkit experience.

    For me, social business design is first about understanding a company’s strategy, and only then applying business winning, business building tools that deliver the strategy. Business today if often too “tool first.” Certainly experiences must be taken into account, but more importantly they must deliver strategic outcomes. That’s design.
    It’s the opposite of “social busniess templates.”

  2. Here’s what I love about this post: The writing is so good that the article would be relevant to your readers even without the social business tie-in. You touched on a universal sentiment in your set-up, and, much as I appreciate the business counsel at the end, I found myself wanting to read more of your thoughts and observations on the state of cultural homogeneity. This is great stuff Pete, truly. -Joe

Leave a comment

Comment now or forever hold your peas

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.