• Meet some speakers of our digital expert class in Barcelona

    Every industry is feeling the impact of high speed digitalisation. Business models are being disrupted. Consumers are adopting new technologies faster than ever and their loyalty is decreasing faster than ever. There is no other choice anymore: every company needs to speed up their digital plans. Digital influences every aspect of the business world. It’s about a new customer relation, new forms of marketing, new ways to recruit people and it’s finding a new way to collaborate with each other.

    Because of these change, Peter Hinssen and I decided to set up a 3,5 day digital expert experience. We brought together some of the best speakers from all over the world to bring you up to speed about the digital changes.

    In this expert class, we will take you on a unique journey to listen to top thought leaders in their field. The expert class is a small group experience where the speakers go in-depth and the sessions are very interactive.
    Everything is set-up to create the perfect learning experience.

    You can check the entire program via this link:

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  • 5 tips to win international clients through social media

    Social networks are by definition global. If you are hoping to expand your business into new international markets, social networks offer opportunities that didn’t exist before. The secret to success is regarding social networks as global channels. Even if you’re operating in a local market you still need to understand its international potential. Still, there is one prerequisite to success: if you are dreaming about international markets, the core language on your social channels should be English.

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  • The thin line between success and failure in using customer data

    “Big data” was undoubtedly the buzz word of 2013. As a result, you can bet on it that a lot of major companies are brainstorming on a big data strategy as we speak. I am afraid, though, that most of those big data strategies will focus on making piles of cash through the use of customer data.

    Customer first, without compromise

    There is a simple business rule that’s easily forgotten, viz. ‘customer first without compromise’. If your Amazon order goes wrong or when the people at the McDrive forget your Big Mac, the problem is solved with no questions asked. This is a very powerful and simple approach but it is one that many companies seem to forget when there is a cost involved. When it comes to using big data, this rule is more crucial than ever. Data and privacy are such hot topics these days that a small mistake in this field can have big consequences.

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  • 5 dangerous arguments for not re-inventing your own business

    I’m writing this blog in Finland. I’m here for the week for different speaking opportunities and I can’t help but notice how ‘Angry Birds’ is everywhere here. It’s not that surprising, really, since Angry Birds was created by a Finnish company. Their change in business model is an interesting story, actually. They started out as a gaming industry outfit but now they are looking to position themselves as a Disney-style company. As in so many other countries, Angry Birds is omnipresent here thanks to merchandising, activity parks, etc. It’s a wonderful success story. Essentially they’re doing what Disney does but contrary to the Americans, their point of departure is not a movie or a cartoon. Instead, they built their empire around a highly successful game. This is a very clever business model innovation. This type of story is popping up everywhere now. Not rethinking your industry is a very dangerous thing to do these days. Still, every week I hear loads of excuses from companies that don’t see how this is relevant to them.

    Below I’ve listed the five most popular excuses. If you catch yourself or your company using them, think fast and correct your course.

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  • The consumer is becoming our greatest competitor

    My parents owned a photography store in the small East Flemish town of Maldegem. Photo Video Van Belleghem had a solid reputation. My father took over the business from his father. For a few decades, the store was synonymous with good quality and friendly service until I broke the chain. I didn’t take over the family business – much to my parents’ delight by the way. After all, they had ringside seats as digitization claimed its first victim.

    In the mid-80s – and certainly in a provincial town like Maldegem – parents traditionally called in a professional photographer to immortalize their son’s or daughter’s first communion. People would line up to get that perfect picture taken but by the mid-90s, the long queues had dwindled to the odd passer-by. Digital photography completely uprooted the sector. Almost overnight, the introduction of digital cameras improved the quality dramatically and made cameras affordable. The competition in this story didn’t come from a fellow photographer or a low-cost competitor but rather from consumers themselves. All of a sudden, mom or dad or uncle Tony could make their own high-quality pictures. Making your own pictures also added a degree of authenticity and pride. No one was expecting the customer to become a competitor.

    Today, the process is repeating itself in the catering industry. A caterer’s biggest competitor is not the catering business that sets up shop nearby but the amateur chef at home. Serving catered food used to bring prestige but today it is a sign of culinary inadequacy. More and more industries are facing stiff competition from their own customers. The travel industry (with AirBnB), the clothes industry (eBay) and the media (YouTube) are just a few examples.

    Competing with the consumer’s hobby is extremely difficult. Resistance is not the answer. The travel industry is trying to fight AirBnB in court but even if they are successful in the short term, stopping the consumer is all but impossible in the long run. The proper reflex is looking for ways of creating your own added value in this new world. Maybe you can make things easier for consumers by helping them with their hobby. Or perhaps you could start an alternative business to surf the new trend. When the dam bursts, all you can do is adapt to the new reality dictated by the competitor-consumer.

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