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This Week in Business and Brands: Customer Connections, Monster Mashups and More

Facing the Future: Taking Jobs = Making Jobs

Every cloud has a silver lining – and for the myriad of jobs set to be displaced by AI and robotics over the coming years, the bright side is there’s a whole new workplace in the works. Optimists everywhere are now reframing the imminent disruption of many routine, blue-collar jobs as a liberation towards “new-collar” jobs, thus embracing our new computer colleagues as coworkers instead of coups d’etat. And looking back, this is nothing new – with each previous variation on the industrial revolution, the redundancies were met with even more opportunities for a newly employable workforce. In light of this expected growth and a shifting skillset, educational initiatives like WorldQuant University are offering tuition-free “financial engineering” degree programs to help workers find out where their new career path takes them – and “the key is to keep that path clearly lit for everyone.”

(Well Worth) The Long Read: For Goodness’ Sake?

Now more than ever, the phrase “now more than ever” is being used by brands of all kinds in their rallying cries for goodness – but are they really just good for business? From Facebook to Budweiser to Audi, messages of inclusion, acceptance, and overall betterment of the world have become standard practice at every opportunity of engagement. Although that makes some skeptics wonder: “Is Zuckerberg – and any business leader claiming that values matter more than dollars – simply a hypocrite?” But even under scrutiny, ethics hold strong at companies like Salesforce, whose staff includes a “Chief Philanthropy Officer” and “Chief Equality Officer,” ensuring not only external charitable efforts but fairness (in compensation, for example) from within their own walls. Having integrity both inside and out, these firms are setting a strong example that others ought to follow – like Uber, whose profit-centered strategy has put them under the (a)moral spotlight too many times to count. Seems like the lesson to be learned isn’t to get while the getting’s good – but that the good of giving is getting even better.

Revamp to Revive: Verizon’s Frankenstein

When facing a monster like Google or Facebook in the ad tech space, how do you compete? If you’re Verizon, you reassemble a number of deteriorating parts to bring your own creation to life – but can Oath keep its promise of power in combining AOL and Yahoo? While each has its own ample ad tech arsenal, aligning them amicably may prove to be more than a little arduous. And don’t expect the creature to come alive overnight – as one CEO asserts, “It will be an integration exercise for the next several years.” With challenges in making both code and cultures play nice, the real value for Verizon is their combined scale and data, the ultimate currency in today’s digital advertising marketplace. But only time will tell whether the two can make one, rising up the ranks to become more than just No. 3…

Customer Connections: With Flying Colors

This week told a cautionary tale of one flight service doing it wrong – but how about five lessons from one admirable airline doing it right? We’ll turn to WestJet’s control tower to give us a sampling of how they retain their customers:

  • Start with love from the inside: with over 80% of employees as company shareholders, the company matches its staff’s stock purchases, compounding dividends and loyalty at the same time.
  • Listen louder: Getting feedback is one thing. WestJet went one further, following customers from door to door – that is, home to plane to home – and “now have a detailed journey map of each person’s experience” with the brand.
  • Get analytics in real-time: Why wait for a survey response that comes days after the customer experience? WestJet taps into the real-time emotions with passengers right at the gate.

Department of Digitization: Cloning Your Colleague

That’s all for this week! We’ll leave you with this look at the unexpected coworker you can already replace with AI: your boss.