Chris Brogan started the practice of launching each new year with just three words to live and work by. He found it more effective than making and soon thereafter breaking a slew of New Year Resolutions. I’ve participated in this annual ritual for a number of years now. Three words to guide my business sensibilities for the upcoming 12 months.
My three words for 2016: Community | Collaboration | Commerce
and the two businesses that epitomize the symbiotic relationship and power of community are Carii and Chimani.
(More about them further down. )
Here are ways that they can play out for you and for business:
2016 will be the year of collaboration, short attention spans, high-speed communication expectations and a great deal of new and surprising interruptions across most every industry. Familiar Statements? They should be. Lots of changes are ongoing because of the continuing and expanding impact of social media and highly portable tools like smartphones.
Word of mouth is a very powerful influencer that spreads rapidly through our ever more connected world. We are becoming a world that is tethered to the internet. We are always online, always available and we expect the same from all of our vendors, suppliers and friends.
I talk about Social Media as a cultural change. Social media tools and “social business” are more than just today’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. All of the social pathways (including email, texting, instant messaging) that people use to stay in touch have shifted into the predominant place for how we learn new things and how we communicate with others.
To make the most of these changes, think about how information is transmitted and received and put yourself into the mindset of the recipient.
There were 2.6 billion smartphones in use in 2014 and that number is predicted to surge to 6.1 billion by 2020. This means 70% of all people in the world will have smartphones and most all will be wireless. Two billion of the new users will come from the Asia Pacific. (Ericsson)
- Community matters more than ever. Teams working together can produce more and better results than any one individual. Collaboration will rule in the for-profit and the non-profit sectors.
- Communications – NextGen collaboration tools and social media will find their way into common use. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are aging tools compared to what is becoming available for immediacy and collaborative function today. Visual output towers over most everything else in this environment. A picture is worth a thousand words and a less than one minute video will be worth thousands.
- Commerce – Getting business done should sound more and more like “we are all in this together” and “no one can do it themselves,” as we all expect instant communication and immediate results. This means doing your homework before launching a plan and understanding that the availability of multimedia and real-time messaging requires being nimble enough to pivot (change) mid plan execution.
What should you look for?
Consider that in 2016 Twitter turns 10 years old and Facebook will be starting its 12th year. They are ancient technology. Look for a slew of new products and platforms trying to break into widespread acceptance and competing with the old guard of social platforms. Privacy concerns and poor deployment by brands using interruption advertising has made the Wild-Wild-Web less useful to users. As advertisers and their agents desperately try to gain our attention, users will continue to screen out and block as much noise as possible.
My advice to business is to take the time to listen to your customer base, engage in conversations as participants and not as broadcast advertising machines. “Suggested” tweets and “promoted” posts are becoming less effective.
Look to collaboration and community-centric solutions. Watch for an explosion of video and chat opportunities that take place in real time. Blab and Periscope aren’t the most graceful of the new tools but they are addressing the need for visual immediacy. Likewise keep an eye on community platforms to start addressing the needs of Six Billion Wired Users wanting connection and not noise.
My favorites are Chimani and Carii. Both put a lot of effort into building value via community. Carii allows communities to create affiliations and screen out non-relevant advertising and noise. With Chimani you act as an individual with the value of all that information has been accumulated at your fingertips- whether or not you can get online (smart thinking for hiking remote spaces). Everything you need for a trip to the National Parks. Congrats to them for being selected as a Google Launch Partner for the new app first indexing technology. I’ve even more respect for their Really Smart Marketing leadership with their timing coinciding with the 100th Anniversary of The National Park System.
Watch for the results of the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas in January where 170,000 people gather to see what’s new and trending. In the meantime, back home, think community, because, in the end, we are all in this together.