In 2010 we entered a new 20 year business cycle where successful companies will be those that better understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.
But what happens when government authorities with very specific rules about how companies communicate with customers regulate these interactions? Wealth management, insurance, and pharmaceuticals come to mind as example industries where marketers and relationship managers feel this oversight most acutely. How do you thrive in the Age of the Customer when how you interact - and the data you maintain - is controlled by law?
These are questions that I plan to explore next week with marketing and client experience executives from the Financial Services industry at "The Forward Thinker" sponsored by EarthIntegrate. Thinking through the issues around how to be more customer-obsessed in an industry where every communication could be monitored or audited, I believe the main challenge is not to stray outside the regulatory guidelines while meeting growing client expectations for responsive, online, anytime, anywhere engagement.
All while maintaining the intimacy that high net worth investors, for example, expect of their advisor relationships. Or that insurance members expect of brokers.
On October 15, I was invited to the launch of Unify, the new name for Siemens Enterprise Communications. Giving up a heritage stretching back to the age of the telegraph is a courageous move at best. Like some of its peers with a strong history in communications, Siemens Enterprise Communications has been through a tough period recently. Like Nokia Handsets and BlackBerry, the company has had to reposition its business to regain lost ground. But this is where the comparison stops, for this move is a bold departure and is being put into practice differently:
Unify is not an evolution; it's a new beginning. As the CEO Hamid Akhavan announced the new Unify brand, there was a mixture of emotions; it was both a sad departure from the powerful parent and liberation in the face of a new mission — harmonizing the enterprise. Mr. Akhavan presented the brand as young, hip, and customer-focused. A fresh, apple-green Unify logo completes the picture; it is differentiated, concise, and a good base upon which to build a lively brand in the years to come.