The End of Business as Usual and the Beginning of a New Era of Adaptive Businesses by briansolis


									The End of Business as Usual and the Beginning of a
New Era of Adaptive Businesses
By Brian Solis, industry-leading blogger at and Principal Analyst at research firm
Altimeter Group, Author of two best selling books on business transformation The End of
Business as Usual and Engage!

Dave Peck is the author of Think Before you Engage, a new book that guides readers through 100
questions to ask before starting a social media marketing campaign. He asked me to write the
foreword and as a friend and neighbor, I of course said yes. But, the only condition was that upon
publishing, I could share the foreword with you here…

The End of Business as Usual and the Beginning of a New Era of Adaptive Businesses

Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Yelp, Foursquare, it seems that every day, there’s a new network that is
capturing the attention of consumers everywhere. These social networks were once thought to be
the playgrounds of the millennial. Now these networks dominate global headlines, changing the way

(cc) Brian Solis, - @briansolis
that everyday people connect and communicate with one another. But that’s just the beginning of
where this story unfolds. Social networks are fundamentally transforming the way people find and
share everything that’s important to them.

Social media democratized information and empowered consumers to take control of not only their
online experiences but also those in the real world. As a result, social media is changing how
customers shop, refer products and services, and ultimately make decisions. The relationship
between customers and business is changing and will continue to evolve as new media permeates
our culture and society. What important to understand is that this isn’t a fad nor is any of this going to
revert back to the way things used to be. Consumers are connected, entitled, and now expect
recognition and value just to get their attention, let alone their business.

How We Got Here

A funny thing happened with social networks. People starting sharing what they think and did so
vigorously. While the extent of what people would say about brands, products or services wasn’t
highly anticipated, it shouldn’t have come as such a surprise. After all, businesses were subjected to
customer opinions online going back to the early days of Web 1.0. With the likes of,
epinions, and online peer-to-peer review systems, the voice of the consumer was given a stage and
a magnificent theater to cast a spotlight on their experiences and expressions. Fanatical audiences
could now come and go at will to hear what anyone and everyone said. More importantly, these
audiences were captive, ready to take action based on what individuals had to say specifically
related to brand and product decisions they were considering.

The difference between then and now is profound. Social media didn’t invent the ability for
customers to share their opinions, but it did amplify them. Consumer reviews are no longer
stationary. With the rise of social networks, customer experiences are now portable and actionable.
And as customers expanded their personal social networks, their experiences became exponentially
influential. Now customers are empowered and connected and their words affect the decisions of
their peers in multiple networks. One experience can reside in Yelp, linger in FourSquare, make the
rounds in Facebook and Twitter, and come to life as a lasting record of events in blogs and
YouTube. And because of the viral nature of social media, the ability to affect decisions is potentially

Social media is as intimidating as it is encouraging. Not only does it work for customers, but it also
empowers businesses to learn from customer sentiment and adapt to their wants and needs. Social
media is a window to relevance and the ability to compete for the future, today.

The Sky Is Not Falling, It Rains with Opportunity

I remember the early days of Yelp and the backlash that erupted among business owners outraged
at the ability for customers to share negative experiences. The anger intensified as consumers
flocked to the network en masse. “People will stop coming to our establishment,” businesses would
exclaim. “Customers are going to be swayed by the bad things some of our customers are saying,”
others feared.

To this day, I still have only one word to say in response, “exactly.”

Customers are now front and center of the business owner, forever changing how businesses think
about the people they serve and why they deserve their support.

Social networks do not represent the end of your business. They do however symbolize the
beginning of the end of business as usual. This is where your journey begins. It’s not about fearing
the ability for customers to share what’s wrong; it’s about building relationships and delivering
meaningful experiences that inspire customers to share their take on why you are amazing.

(cc) Brian Solis, - @briansolis
Great experiences not only engender loyalty, they serve as the catalysts for attracting new
customers. The people who are connected to your customers will take action based on what they
say. This is the promise and opportunity of social media.

Your customers now feel a sense of ownership in the businesses they support. As a result, you’ve
now inherited a potent marketing force that pays for the privilege of doing business with you and in
turn, tells the world why.

I believe you are holding this book because you recognize that your customers are becoming more
important to your business with every new connection they make. With this book, David Peck is
handing you the keys to open the doors to social media and vibrant business opportunities.
By engaging your connected customers, you by default, become connected. Doing so shapes and
reshapes online and offline experiences, bringing small businesses and local establishments to life
in popular and incredibly active digital domains.

The reality of business is that customer experiences will either be positive or negative. The good
news is, these experiences are yours to define. What they encounter and what they share within
their networks is directly tied to your intentions, your investment in products and services, and the
means used to deliver happiness and guarantee satisfaction.

Social media aside, the future of business is about improving relationships and customer
experiences. By asking the right questions, making informed decisions and using readily available
tools, even the smallest business can be successful at engaging online.

This is your time to not just react to customer activity in social networks, but create remarkable
experiences that foster meaningful relationships. This is your time to lead, not follow.

Your customers are waiting.

(cc) Brian Solis, - @briansolis
Brian Solis is principal at Altimeter Group, a research-based advisory firm. Solis is
globally recognized as one of the most prominent thought leaders and published
authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has studied and
influenced the effects of emerging media on business, marketing, and culture. His new
book, The End of Business as Usual explores the emergence of GenerationC, a new
generation of customers and how businesses must adapt to reach them. Engage, Solis'
previous book, is regarded as the industry reference guide for businesses to build and
measure success in the social web.

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(cc) Brian Solis, - @briansolis

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