The world is overwhelmed with trends for next year, year overviews of the past year. I must confess I do also make such lists for newspapers and sites. It is part of life. Yesterday however I started thinking that, in 2011 the world will be just that little bit less perfect. Unfortunately, some important trends will not break through yet in 2011.
We learn to live with less privacy
The entire privacy discussion will be stored. People understand that Facebook is a public platform the entire world can see. It is not the technology but humankind who adapts his behaviour. In 2011, the discussion will be heavy. Usually the cause is a less intelligent person who gets into trouble via a status update. Many experts will look into the matter. The solution will not be found, and not much later it will turn out that the world has adapted. In the past, parents said to their children: "do not accept sweets from strangers". In 2012, they will say 'be careful what you post on Facebook". Besides, if consumers expect companies to be more open in their communication, we, consumers, should follow that example. Unfortunately, that will not yet start in 2011.
The majority of companies allow social media in the office
In 2011, unfortunately most companies will not understand yet how blocking their employers' social media equals missing out on a gigantic opportunity. Hundreds of employees who share their passion for their employer with their friends are the best advertising one can dream of. The phenomenon is so strong that the employer branding becomes meaningless, since its subject is a brand. A brand's positioning will be seen more and more as the equal of the company's culture. In the future, branding will be done by the employees, who are the real stars of a company. But unfortunately not yet in 2011.
Retention is the new acquisition
The focus shifts from attracting new customers to pampering the existing ones. Up to and including 2011, companies will see an existing customer as a given, since the main target will be to grow via new customers. However, every survey shows that the fastest growing companies focus on the existing customers. Fortunately, there will be more critical incidents in 2011 than ever before, since consumers will become more professional in bashing companies. Opinion leaders in the digital world will get involved more and more, following the example of Youp. Fortunately, by 2012 consumers will have overtaken just about every sector, which means that the entire industry will get a new mentality. But unfortunately not yet in 2011.
In order to close the digital gap in organisations, new training formulas are created: reverse mentorship. Traditionally new employees have to learn everything from more experienced existing employees. In 2011 however, this will show to only increase the digital gap, so they will adapt. Companies will go looking for the digital experts in-house. These people will then train the digital rookies. The good point is the double advantage: first of all the digital gap is closed quickly. And secondly: the digital natives learn a lot about the traditional company processes. Uniting these two worlds creates magic. But unfortunately not yet in 2011.
Random act of kindness
Do well for your customers. Go beyond the traditional customer service. You only obtain that 'wow' effect by suddenly surprising people. Doing something randomly good for one of your customers entails a boost in positive feelings. If a brand did a random act of kindness every day, the world would really be a better place to live in. In 2011, companies will not do this because they fear the customers' expectations would rise. And once you do it for one person you have to do it for them all, that's the sophism excusing us to not start this yet. However, the effect is the inverse. Consumers have a lot of sympathy for brands that create positive feelings with others. It increases the average brand identification more than you expect. But unfortunately not yet in 2011.
One thing is sure though: 2012 will be a gorgeous year. Enjoy the holidays!