The NOW Gen

Neiby Rodriguez

Brands

Customer Experience: Is All About Relationships

Most businesses know about customer experience (CX) strategies. They know they should be doing something but don’t know what. They might have an annual CX strategy meeting to discuss how their brand could improve CX. But, unfortunately, there’s often little follow-through.

In reality, improving customer experience is not about creating a strategy or developing a list of actions to enhance mentioned experiences. Instead, it’s about creating an organizational culture where everyone in the company understands why customers are important and how we can cultivate relationships with them in every interaction.

You must remember that customer experience, or CX, according to Econsultancy, is the sum of all customer interactions with a brand. In other words, the relationship between a company and its customers. Leader CX brands keep their customer at the center of everything they do.

We live in a new digital age, and the NOW generation expects instant gratification and a great customer experience. Today’s consumers are looking for brands to connect with through various channels, is your brand searching for this connection?

Brands have focused on attracting mass traffic to their virtual storefront. In this technologically advanced era, there is nothing wrong with creating a great digital experience for your customers, but having a good relationship with them is also essential for your brand. 

You may have some customers who love your company. Do you have a relationship with them? For a connection to be successful, both parties must be willing and able to work on building the bond.

According to QualtricsXM, customer experience isn’t something you can control entirely from your end because customer interactions define their experience. Then, we can optimize the parts of CX that we can handle by understanding your audience and their needs, values, and behaviors. 

To create experiences that build relationships and inspire loyalty, companies must listen to and engage with their customers throughout the journey. The first step is listening to customers, not just at the beginning of their experience but throughout it. 

In our last blog we mentioned: «When you have a consumer relationship, they’re more likely to stay with your brand and recommend it to others.» This is because connecting with them will make them feel part of your brand’s community and hence be loyal to your products/services.

Listening to your customers will make a difference in your brand’s growth because it will help you reach your audience better. Plus, listening to and taking customer feedback into account helps brands improve.

As HubSpot’s article: «What is Customer Experience?» mentions, the more contact with your customers, the more you will be able to give them an exceptional customer experience. 

Another critical step is to remain consistent throughout channels. People like to connect with others through different media for different reasons. So, continue listening to your consumers and reach them through their preferred channels. This will make your brand go from being intrusive or annoying to meeting the customer where they feel most comfortable. 

Customer experience goes beyond strategies, digital expertise, and customer service. Relationships with your customers will open a broader way to connect with them and could potentially transform your brand’s CX.

This series of actions have been gaining momentum in recent years, but there are still so many things companies can do to improve how they interact with their customers. If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that when companies get better at creating incredible experiences for their customers, they tend to see better results than their competitors who don’t focus on these areas as much or at all!

Brands

Advantages of Consumer Relationships

The relationship with your customers is a topic that’s been getting more attention in recent years, and for good reason. Developing strong customer relationships can lead to increased customer loyalty, better customer engagement rates, and higher sales numbers. This article will explore some of the most important benefits of consumer relationships and how they can help your business grow by improving your relationship with customers.

Having a relationship with your consumers is the best way to grow a community for your brand. This is something that the NOW Generation values. Having a community where consumers can interact with each other and brand ambassadors or representatives. The benefits for customers of developing relationships with brands include customer loyalty, better customer service, and positive word-of-mouth promotion. Plus getting to know your segment on a deeper level.  

As a business owner, you know that customer service is crucial to your success. It’s important for you and your team members to be able to provide the best possible service in order for consumers to want to do business with you again. With customer relationship management (CRM), however, it’s easier than ever before for customers and businesses alike to interact with each other in ways that were never possible before.

According to Forbes, CRM’s core function is to collect data that helps businesses understand and communicate with customers. This basic management tool can open pathways to having great relationships with your consumers, and learning about them and how they connect with your brand. Besides increasing business profits. 

It’s important to consider the benefits of CRM in terms of a company’s bottom line. The most obvious benefit is increased brand loyalty, which in turn leads to more positive word-of-mouth promotion and brand awareness. Some companies estimate that customer retention rates can increase by 25% when they implement a CRM strategy.

In addition, having an extended relationship with customers can help you better understand their needs and wants as well as their preferences for products and services, allowing you to better cater to them in the future. When you have a consumer relationship, they’re more likely to stay with your brand and recommend it to others. This is because they feel like they’re part of a community that shares the same values as them. 

According to a recent study on customer expectations, 79% of consumers consider personalized service more important than marketing. Consumers want to be known and treated like so. Especially if we look at minority groups we can find that a feeling of belonging allows consumers to become loyal to a brand. 

When consumers are loyal to a brand, they can make it easier for you by buying from you again in the future. They’ll also be more willing to refer your product or service to others who may need what you have.

Engagement is a two-way street. Customers need to feel like they are being heard, and businesses need to make sure that their customers feel valued. When customers know they’re being listened to, they are more likely to make repeat purchases and recommend the brand. 

In addition to this effect on sales and loyalty-building efforts, engaging with your customer base also has other benefits such as increased employee engagement (for example by sharing positive feedback).

The bottom line is that customer relationships are beneficial to both customers and businesses. Businesses can improve their marketing and sales efforts by engaging with their customers, while customers will receive better service and personalized offers in return.

Blog

This is Why Brands are Using NFTs

By now, the amount of talk about non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has reached almost everyone on the internet. There are some things to note about NFTs; today, we will cover some of the things that make them relevant.

Let’s begin by mentioning that NFTs are invaluable; however, at the same time can be purchased and sold. They are unique like diamonds in that no two NFTs, or diamonds, are exactly alike. This is what makes them desirable: uniqueness and scarcity.

A big plus of NFTs is their transparency. Not only are they transparent because they are literally digital, but there are traceable. No matter how many times whoever purchases it, the original owner will be able to track it because of their smart contracts.

An article by The Art Newspaper stated that these smart contracts in NFTs ensure their uniqueness and that the digital assets remain undivided and non-replicable.

It wasn’t long until relevant brands started to use NFTs, which is simple: this is the future they are creating. We are currently moving from an experimental to a more mainstream approach.

According to an article from Zeno Fine Art, “2021 became the year of the NFT, and there was a huge explosion and surge in NFT supply and demand.” This journey began in 2012 with the creation of the first tokens, and big brands started to get involved in the last couple of years.

So, what can we expect from NFTs in the future? First of all, they are here to stay. As we mentioned in our last blog about the Metaverse, they are the future of the internet experience as we know it. 

And this is because the NOW Generation is involved in real and digital experiences. NFTs play a big part in this because they allow consumers to purchase a digital representation of an original asset. In other words, they can represent art, audio, video, virtual real estate, virtual worlds, fashion, and so much more, making NFTs important to brands.

Consumers worldwide seek the best experiences, from instant gratification to exciting assets. NFTs are a great way to give consumers a unique experience that will put your brand ahead of the competition. Also, brands must stick to NFTs that are akin to them. 

Using NFTs to increase brand awareness needs to be specifically curated for the consumer community of the brand. This means that to continue to bring awareness, brands need to know how their fans perceive them and use NFTs to grow this recognition. 

As Web3 settles in, the interaction between consumers and brands will shift. NFTs are essential to maintain and improve these relationships. This innovative aspect of the virtual world can open opportunities to connect with consumers. It is not just about digital items, a digital community for a brand’s biggest fans. 

NFTs are relevant to the NOW Gen. Thus, brands will continue incorporating them into their digital marketing strategies. They are a new connection bridge between high-value customers and the brand products and services.

The expectations for the NFTs are still developing. We can’t be a hundred percent sure of what the future holds for these virtual tokens. However, how we virtually connect is changing, and brands must stand on the leading edge of these trends to remain relevant. 

Is your brand looking into the future of NFTs? What is your strategy to be part of this trend? 

Brands

Metaverse: The Future is NOW!

There’s a lot of buzz about the Metaverse. But, what really is this new cyberspace, and how far are we from fully joining it? The term “metaverse” was first mentioned in 1992 by Neal Stephenson in his novel Snow Crash; it referred to a three-dimensional virtual world where people interacted with computer-generated avatars. Sounds familiar? 

According to an article from Wired, the word metaverse can be used interchangeably with “cyberspace.” Because just like Stephenson described it 30 years ago, the metaverse will be a different way to experience the cyberspace we currently surf. 

Today, the metaverse is somewhat accessible to us through videogames like Fortnite or Roblox, on which you can participate in group activities, like missions that are part of the game or even concerts in these virtual worlds. However, the future metaverse will house ways to work, shop, play, and any other activity you could think of.

First, we need to understand that the metaverse is not only one thing or place that will come, but rather a mixture of many different ways to experience the future of cyberspace. This so-called 3-D web seamlessly sets in with various prominent companies putting their brands and money on it. The fast pace of these investments means that great things are coming. 

We must also remember that these kinds of shifts, in the way we experience life, happen every few decades. And with change comes the opportunity to enhance these new experiences.

For example, in the previous decade, we could never imagine using the internet for more than just finding information or communicating with coworkers via e-mail. Now we have a constant flow of content beyond simple texts or e-mails. We have applications full of video content, graphics, video calls, and much more that we can experience on the internet.

Online spaces are a complement to our lives. We share our life experiences on social media, interact with others, and consume creative content online. Although we didn’t believe this would be possible, we can instantly connect with many other people through the internet, and it has become an integral part of life and communication.

Matthew Ball, the author of The Metaverse: And How It Will Revolutionize Everything, forecasts that the evolution of the virtual trend will move from being a depiction of our lives into a place where we’ll exist. This means that besides everything we can currently do online, we will be able to be present in this new cyberspace simultaneously. 

Although it will still take some time for the Metaverse to be fully adopted, leading brands are already taking steps toward marketing in this new space. As mentioned above, the metaverse will bring change to more than one aspect of life, including marketing and how marketers target their audiences. 

According to a McKinsey article on the metaverse, now is the time to open our minds to test and learn. The best way to adapt to new experiences is by learning, and when something is so brand new, there isn’t much more than trial and error to understand what works for your brand. 

The NOW Gen is looking at the metaverse as today’s top-notch innovation. Consumers are eager to find and experience brands’ innovation in the metaverse. As marketers, we must aim to deliver innovative consumer experiences for the metaverse, the direction is marked, and the limits are expanding more and more each day.

Brands need instant gratification and cutting-edge experiences for consumers. Our duty as professional marketers is to stay at the forefront of innovation, and the metaverse is just the beginning of a myriad of brand growth and innovative opportunities.

Blog

Globalization, New Challenges for Brands

Globalization is not a new trend, but it remains relevant because of its impact on the way businesses and consumers interact with each other. Globalization has been present around the globe for a long time, and many brands strive to use it to their advantage. 

Making your brand global is not an easy task. While many successful brands have been able to become globally recognized, the process is not easy, and it doesn’t come without challenges. 

Besides these challenges, the new globalization is here. The fourth industrial revolution, geopolitics, and the escalating effects of climate change are the three primary forces propelling a new chapter in the history of globalization. 

According to an expert panel held by The Drum, these three things have all happened in the past, just not at the same time. As a result, companies are now figuring out strategies, markets, and how they position themselves. 

With the new globalization comes the need for speed. This makes sense because the NOW generation is all for instant gratification, and when it comes to growing a brand in a global market, how fast can it approach new consumers on a local scale.

Digitalization is also taking a big part in this new era of globalization. With the numerous products available to your market, brand culture, lifestyle, and behavior habits are the most helpful in reaching your consumers.

From a consumer point of view, depending on where they live,  people worldwide consume the same products. However, through social and mass media, people find similarities between their consumption habits and those of people on the other side of the globe. This is called glocalization. 

Glocalization is the ability to penetrate various global markets while meeting the needs of each local geography. Even though it is not a new concept, not all businesses with global aspirations have mastered the art of glocalization. Therefore, companies must excel at integrating local resources, modifying procedures, and implementing global technologies to create effective glocalization strategies.

Entrepreneur India shared in an article the importance of acclimating brands to global growth. According to their article, success at glocalization comes from being sensitive to local culture, social norms, and consumer habits. Basically adapting to the area where your brand is arriving.

Even major brands have struggled to bring their business to a new location. “One size fits all” doesn’t apply in globalization. Brands need to consider that the need for their product in different places may not be the same. 

This may be accomplished; many companies have successfully arrived in new markets and tropicalized their brand to the local market. For example, big food chain brands have noticed that just bringing products they already sell and not incorporating anything local to their menus is not as successful as adding an item with a local taste for the consumer. This is how you can glocalize your business.

Another way businesses can adapt to a new culture is by hiring local professionals. Local associations within your company will help your brand access specific insight on a microeconomic scale while remaining globally relevant. This is a big step because once you know the culture, you can find better ways to approach the consumer and provide them with what they need.

Globalization is not about completely changing your brand but about being flexible and willing to adapt to your consumer’s culture. The need to grow is a constant in the current global business environment. However, growth in a globalized world would not be possible without learning from the NOW generation.

Business

The Digital Gig Economy is on the Rise

As the world continues to change, so does the way we work. Noncontractual, short-term, and task-based work is not new, but it has increased in the past few years. For example, many workplaces transformed their operations into a virtual collaboration space during the pandemic. This was a completely new practice and not an easy transition for many. But, at the same time, others with experience in digital gigs found it easy and a great way to keep the economy moving.

The digital gig economy is a clear example of globalization, and its main perk is how it connects companies with qualified talent worldwide. It is growing bigger by the day, and many Americans are turning to it as an alternative to full-time work. In addition, after the COVID-19 pandemic, many job seekers will likely turn to it to get by.

In no way is the gig economy a new practice; its first growth spurt was after the Great Recession. So while many believe it will soon fade away, it has proved to be here to stay and has even evolved into a more digital pathway.

The emergence of the digital gig or platform economy is one of the essential new transformations in the world of work. According to the International Labor Organization, there are two main types of platforms for the digital gig economy: web-based platforms and location-based applications. “An important component of the platform economy is digital labor platforms which include both web-based platforms … and location-based applications (apps).”

The main difference between these two is the kinds of jobs they require. For outsourcing or web-based platforms, the desired results are most likely to be digital products, for example, briefs, creative goods, audiovisual resources, etc., making it easy for people from all over the world to be connected and work together on these digital platforms. 

On the other hand, for location-based gigs, digital platforms are the channel of communication between consumer and provider, for example, deliveries, running errands, etc. In this case, the digital platform allows uncontracted service providers to earn a living while making their own schedule and only working as much as they need. 

A more digital gig economy is an asset that benefits employees and employers equally. For example, job satisfaction, flexibility, remote work, and professional work are a few positive results of this form of work. However, if we look at these benefits, we can find many reasons for the digital gig not going anywhere. 

According to a case study by Brodmin, most gig economy workers are satisfied with their work. “Based on numerous research and publications, there is a general consensus that people who decide to freelance full-time are quite satisfied with the change as well as with their new careers and lifestyle.”

In the last few years, we have seen growth in the freelance worker population, and the flexibility of working remotely is one of the leading causes of this increase. In addition, being able to provide work to someone in a different part of the world, and on the other side, being able to work for a company in a separate geographical area is enticing.

Flexibility has been mentioned multiple times already in this article, and it seems to be with great reason. For example, in their book “Work in the Age of Data,” BBVA’s OpenMind, mentions that flexibility is one of the primary desires of workers because they can obtain professional work from talented collaborators from all over the world while offering a flexible work schedules, pay, or even a flexible workflow. For the Now generation, this is an opportunity to connect with companies and collaborators from around the globe, which encompasses globalization. 

The digital gig economy is on the rise. We believe it will continue to grow and benefit many different markets because of the needs of The NOW Generation. Digital gigs are the perfect way to allow younger generations to work using their talent and skills from anywhere they might be, plus giving them the freedom to grow and explore different ways of experiencing life while working.

Blog

The New Brick-and-Mortar: Social Commerce

As a society, we constantly look for more convenient ways to cover our need for speed. During the COVID pandemic, formulated marketing strategies to supply consumers’ need for instant gratification were established, like e-commerce and its successor, social commerce. 

Social Commerce started appearing in the U.S. a couple of years ago on popular social media platforms. Although social commerce can be new and confusing for many marketers and brands out there, social commerce has come into existence quite seamlessly in the past years. 

Social commerce, stemming from eCommerce, refers to the shopping experience that occurs directly on a social media platform like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even TikTok. This trend relates directly to the time consumers spend on social media platforms. 

According to Forbes’ article “The Future Of Selling Is Social: Social Commerce Vs. E-Commerce,” consumers spend more time on mobile apps than web browsers. Making social media platforms a most powerful advertising tool than any search engine. “Given that consumers spend more time on mobile apps than on their mobile web browsers, wishful thinking may imply an indirect paradigm shift away from Google, as the world’s most powerful advertising platform, to Facebook.”  

The NOW Gen is all about using social media for entertainment, communication, staying in the loop of news and trends, learning, and even commerce. This instant-gratification-looking generation has made the swift move from traditional e-commerce to social commerce because it feels natural to instantly shop what you are discovering in your social media timelines. The seamless addition of social commerce to the consumer’s routine of social media usage will allow its growth and fulfillment.

In the past couple of years, various social media platforms, from Facebook to Twitter, have invested in features to facilitate selling products. These people-connecting platforms are now integrating live stream events, digital stores, and more to become a selling point to its users. 

Social commerce for the U.S. is still in its early stages, but it is expected to be just as big as in the Asian markets. On the other side of the globe, specifically in China, social commerce is a popular trend amongst social media users. “About 51.5% … of social media users have or continue to purchase via a social media channel.” It is no surprise, since China is also the global eCommerce market’s leader, that they are also leading this social commerce trend globally. “China continues to lead the global e-commerce market, accounting for 52.1% of all retail e-commerce sales worldwide, with total online sales just over the $2 trillion mark in 2021. It also has the world’s most digital buyers, 824.5 million, representing 38.5% of the global total.”

Many brands are getting on social commerce because the consumer is asking for it. As mentioned above, the NOW generation is known for its need for instant gratification. Therefore, the paramount convenience of social commerce is immediacy. 

Consumers are also looking for “mouth-to-mouth” product recommendations, and social commerce allows them to hear directly from brand ambassadors. The social shopping experience is richer than a regular shopping experience. With added social factors, consumers can seamlessly complement their social interactions with the brands they know, trust, and hear from new products or brands.  

As Ad Age has mentioned in their article, “Shopping Trends Every Marketer Should Embrace In 2022”, getting on board with the social commerce experience will give consumers the convenience and engagement they are looking for. “Expanding virtual shopping experiences appearing on social platforms will entice consumers who want a more engaging and convenient way to shop online. The in-store experience will never look the same as everything from easing curbside pickup to concierge services to enhanced AR/VR visualizations will become normal features. Moving forward, brands that engage directly with consumers via content and creator-influenced experiences that come enabled with commerce functionality will capture significant market share.”

Brands are learning from China to implement social commerce strategies. Some trends you can look out for include: video, live stream shopping, live chat, and social influencers. The consumer is looking for these things to be convinced that your product, and brand, is the best option. If you are looking to join the social commerce movement, consider the following ideas:

Choose the right platform and format to showcase your business. It is critical to understand what social platform is used more by your consumer segment. Also, evaluate how you will present your products on social media, now your newest storefront.

Prioritize quality visuals. The social media consumer is constantly flooded with thousands of videos on social media. Your business needs to stand out from the rest to make an impactful shopping experience. Take your time to tailor these assets for your brand and product.

Finally, although this new way of commerce is significantly increasing in our markets, don’t forget to constantly evaluate and adjust your strategy. With the NOW generation, speed and change are crucial to success. Social commerce is here to stay; take advantage of it.