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The End of Business as Usual by Brian Solis

January 18th, 2012 · No Comments · Book Review

The end of biz as usual“What are words for if not to inspire the hearts, minds, and actions of our employees and customers?” Brian Solis asks this before listing a series of buzzwords that operate as “crutches for characterless engagement,” and are “indicative of how businesses see (or don’t see) employees and customers.” His advice is simple: Take a moment to revise the way you speak, before it’s too late. We are getting awfully close to “The end of business as usual,” to use the title of the book.

The book is not about doomsday by a futurist, but rather about common sense by an insightful sociologist who calls a spade a spade, sees that tomorrow is today – and writes beautifully! When two-thirds of American rely on e-commerce to shop and 43% of all online consumers are social media fans or followers, it’s somewhat perilous to assume that tomorrow’s business will be what it was five years ago. The end of “business as usual” is the realization that, at a time when consumers are connected, the layers of non-communication and disconnectedness that businesses have built around themselves are irreversibly estranging them from customers. So, “rewire the way you work to succeed in the consumer revolution!”

Earn your way into the trust zone of social customers… Referring to a study conducted by the Aberdeen Group, Brian reminds us that forty-seven percent of retailers entered social media “because of competitive pressure to do so.” Clearly, “businesses must now find comfort outside of their comfort zones,” and had better get used to this sooner rather than later… Social media is not an option pushed by a bunch of social media aficionados. It’s the mandatory business operating system for companies to “earn their way into the trust zone of social customers.” Even though “customer-centricity struggles to find a home within the operationalized business,” brands are pressured into performing their own cultural revolution, no matter what.

At the dawn of new performance metrics… While leaders have been able to get away with simply giving speeches about adaptive companies and change management for the last 40 years without actually doing anything tangible, new forms of metrics are now good BS detectors. What is your Groubal customer service index? There is the brand that companies meticulously design and what customers make of it. “Connected customers define the value and the equity of a brand within social networks.” Actual social capital will drive stock value far more efficiently than PR games… That’s what you read between the lines of this book.

The laws of engagement… The book is a collection of essays organized in chapters that complement Engage or Die. While Brian’s books always include a conceptual dimension with very interesting and relevant references (I loved Pierre Levy‘s notion of “collective intelligence”), you can still read in any order you want. All entry points lead to the idea of a new business reality: businesses aren’t selling products as much as they are selling experiences through myriad social touch points. Engaging is the art of unlocking the value of these touch points.

The End of Business as Usual is as much of a must read as Engage or Die.

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