This Week in Business & Brands: Pop the Hood, Lighten the Load, and Take Flight

plane taking off in sunset

How often do you take a look under the hood of your car?  Ever open up the circuit board on your computer?  How about taking a peek at the inner workings of the entire internet itself?  Turns out that the open source operating system everyone always forgets about is quietly driving so much of the digital world we don’t see – and even some of the one we do.  We’re always excited to discover what lies beneath for businesses and brands of all kinds, and Linux’s story is just one of many this week reminding us that the biggest growth opportunities are often the ones found well below the surface.  Let’s get digging!

Data Debates

By now it’s no secret that one of those biggest underlying opportunities comes in the form of big data itself – combing through the unseen can reveal insights and influence strategy in a dramatic way.  In fact, the mere access to that data is even changing how that strategy gets decided at all – and by whom.  So you’ve got to be careful not to lean too hard on that invaluable intel – aside from internal power struggles, reps might also find themselves looking to the computer screen instead of to the customer, weakening that crucial connection.  On that note, better to exploit the data to “work with the users, for the users” to strengthen those relationships even further.  Especially for retailers losing more and more customer facetime to online sales, the message is clear: go digital or go home.

Tellers and Tags

grey concrete building

Oddly enough, there’s at least one place the consumer still prefers to visit in person: the bank.  And that makes quite a pickle for financial institutions looking to cut costs, even as the number of U.S. branches is at an all time low.  That said, the same consumer does seem to support the “less is more” philosophy, says McDonald’s – the Golden Arches have heard the voice of the customer and taken simplicity to heart, minimizing both calories and corporate costs for a streamlined new ethos.  So how can a brand be sure they’ve got their ear to the ground to hear the latest viewpoint of the ever-evolving consumer?  Harness the hashtag, of course, as “insta-communities” are becoming the loudest megaphone in the conversation.  After all, a picture’s worth a thousand words – and that’s with no filter.

Tipplers and Tips

Listening to the consumer is always the first step, and fortunately it’s an easy one to take.  But putting that insight into action is always a bit trickier, so it never hurts to take a tip from veteran marketers executing those innovative endeavors.  So steal a sip from Stoli, who concocted a campaign from a cocktail craze and had plenty to cheer about.  Need some advice on charging into the Chinese market?  Ask the head of global digital agency SapientNitro, who knows it’s only a matter of time before the “Made in China” stigma subsides.  Then again, perhaps the bottom line really is the bottom line – as Priceline Group’s CEO can attest, even just a few bucks saved for the customer means a market share gain for the company.  Lesson learned: to fly above the competition, put the consumer in the captain’s seat.

What Co-Pilot?

That’s all for this week!  We’ll leave you with this new take on founding a startup: apparently flying solo can actually make your company soar.