I recently stumbled onto a video of Adam Morgan (Co-founder of eatbigfish and the co-author of a brilliant book – A Beautiful Constraint) shares his perspectives on how we live in an age of unreasonable consumers and what do we need to think about in order to succeed in this world where we are surrounded by unreasonable consumers.
You can watch the entire video here.
The first question that comes to mind when I listen to Adam present is to question if we really have become unreasonable consumers?
I believe the answer is absolutely. We now expect to have clean, transport whenever and wherever we want to arrive and be hassle free.
We expect products we order to arrive same or next day and for them to cost cheaper than ever.
We want to binge watch an entire season of a TV series during a weekend.
We expect to order multiple items online and simply return what we dont like. We dont even want to go to a store to try out a new dress or a shoe or an eye wear. We want it to come to us in the comfort of our home.
And this is just the start. Every single area of our lives, we are getting more and more unreasonable, not because we want to but because we are trained to be, by brands which elevate their game and as a result make consumers more unreasonable.
This also makes consumers much more intolerant of bad experiences. Add to this is the fact that they can easily and most certainly have the ability to express their opinions (negative one’s much more than the positive one’s) to their followers or connections.
So, the question then Adam asks is the following:
As a brand, how are we going to respond to these unreasonable expectations of the unreasonable consumers (whom he calls Uber’s children– Adam Morgan
I believe here are some ways we can respond to this unreasonableness:
Become more unreasonable than the consumers:
This is probably the most effective way to respond to the expectations of Uber’s children. We need to be much more unreasonable on ourselves than they expect from us.
Adam shares the example of One Toyota, a car dealership for Toyota cars in the US. When one of their customers cars become due for their first service (5000 miles), they are able to service the car and deliver it back to the customers in under 6 mins. This is less than the time it takes for the customer to walk to the cafeteria, order a coffee and finish it.
When its customers did not believe that their cars were actually serviced, they had to run an information campaign to show how they do this to their customers, so they can believe that their cars were actually serviced. Now, once our customers experience this, everything else becomes unsatisfactory.
So, the question then is how to become more unreasonable than our consumers?
We can do that by looking at improving the performance, convenience and price points of our products or services by a factor of 5 or 10, instead of 5 or 10%.
In my conversation with Porus Munshi, the best selling author of “Making Breakthrough Innovations Happen”, he had shared that it is both easier and more interesting to go after an innovation that aims for a 10x improvement than going for a 10% improvement.
The reason for this being, there is no way we can achieve a 10x improvement by tweaking what we do now. The only way we can achieve this level of improvement is by rethinking how we work and what we work on (You can listen to the entire conversation I had with Porus for my podcast – Pushing Beyond the Obvious here).
In conclusion, I can only say that, to do have breakthrough performance in an era of unreasonable consumers, we need to be more unreasonable than our consumers and keep looking for ways to bring about a 10x improvement in how we serve our consumers.
To do this, we need our leaders to believe that this is possible. We need the leaders to start expect this. We need our leaders to enable the teams so they can go after these goals. We also need our leaders to be on the look out for opportunities for 10x improvements everywhere around us.
As Adam shares in his talk, most organisations that are happy to maintain their brand and position in a category, will start losing to those who will push boundaries and progress both their Brand’s and the categories in which they operate. They will continue to create more and more unreasonable consumers.
These consumers will continue to expect that level or unreasonableness from all their vendors/partners, which if and when doesn’t happen, move on or worse stay with you as they themselves dont want to work on 10x improvements. The collective weight of these organisations as a collective will take them all down slowly and then suddenly.
So, the question that leaders need to answer is the following: