All posts by Michael Forhez

Global Vice President, Consumer Markets

2016 Readers’ Choice: Mobility

Originally posted in Readers Choice of CGT – A Short List of the Best Technology & Services Providers to the Industry

According to Peter Drucker, “Business has only two functions — marketing and innovation.” But with the pace of innovation and technology quickening we might want to think on using a new portmanteau; TECHNOVATION.

Technovation suggests that marketers must recognize the accelerating pace of evolving technology, now inextricably linked to adapting consumers, while adjusting our comprehension and organizational structures to embrace not just the obvious, e.g., big data and analytics, but also how consumers, themselves, view their online and offline lives as part of a seamless whole. Marketers must understand that technovation is not only about understanding what consumers are doing with technology, but also what technology is doing to them.

Mary Meeker of KPCB notes that since 2008, the time an adult spends on digital media has gone from 2.7 to 5.6 hours per day, and that mobile has increased from 12 percent of that time spent to 51 percent. In June 2015, Pew Research noted that a fifth of Americans are ‘almost constantly’ online, with 36 percent of 18 to 29 year olds reporting they are ‘almost constantly’ online. Nielsen recently reported, in the desirable 18 to 34 year old demographic, that 8.5 million people per minute now use smartphones and other TV connected devices, surpassing 8.1 million per minute that use traditional TV screens.
In his book “Decoding the New Consumer Mind: How and Why We Shop and Buy” Kit Yarrow opines, “our use of technology has changed our psychology” including for innovation optimism, consumer empowerment, faster thinking, symbol power, and new ways of connecting.

The Ericson Institute, in a just released study representing 1.1 billion people across 24 countries found that constantly having a screen in the palm of your hand is not always a practical solution, however. Prognosticators now believe this technology will be a thing of the past, perhaps in fewer than five years.

What might make this forecast a reality? The Internet-of-Things has already taken hold, and Virtual Reality now has a purchase on popular imagination. Watch for a plethora of new form factors, from flexible screens, to wearables, to implantables. The computing power driving this technology is readily available and rapidly evolving. IBM has Watson, and Google claims its “D-Wave Quantum Computer” will be 100 million times faster than any of today’s machines. If true, D-Wave could theoretically solve a mathematical problem within seconds that would take today’s digital computer 10,000 years to calculate.

This kind of computing power, linked to Artificial Intelligence, coupled with new user form factors, will drive innovation for the next era of digital communication making possible – quite literally – commerce-at-the-speed-of-thought.

A brave new world is upon us, taking shape around us and with all of us as participants and innovators in our own right.
Hail the consumer!

Technology, Transparency & Trust

The Three Pillars Defining Our Age

In our last blog, we discussed current pressures impacting the consumer markets, including the FDA’s Public Law 111-353 through its “Food Safety Modernization Act”, as well as from other governmental and ‘watchdog’ groups’ reviewing the food industry.

But we are now living in an age that is going beyond government mandates, because whether you are in the automobile or the peanut butter business, Transparency & Trust have become ‘headline’ concerns not just for regulators but ever more, and no less importantly, for consumers. And, in light of the latest news from the automotive industry, we must now acknowledge the irrefutable reality that there are, beyond government penalties, other consequences for brand equity and the managers who manage it.

In the recent past, most business have lived in the “IT” or Information Technology era, with an emphasis on the ‘T’- the technology aspect of the collection and storage of data. Advances in technology are now pushing us toward the Information (‘I’) age or Zettabyte epoch where the capture, storage and retrieval of information, and its access to all, is virtually unlimited. In this evolving new age, the mantra is … ‘If information can be known … it will be known!’

For today’s ‘Connected Consumer’, the entire universe of information is only a click away. Social media platforms, blogs and apps are keeping everyone constantly connected. Individuals increasingly feel the need to know—and share —everything. Whether its product reviews, political opinions, a family vacation, a dinner pic, or even their innermost thoughts, people are living their lives completely out in the open, laying bare all manner of minutiae online. And, while brands are noticing and looking for new ways to create corresponding connections they, too, are being laid bare.

As a result, consumers today are personally experiencing and demanding Transparency, before giving Trust. For a brand or a business, Trust from their customers and employees is critical. Transparency, is now an information technology mechanism that allows Connected Consumers access to information that defines a certain innate dissonance which always exists between disbelief and belief. Technology and Transparency therefore combine to determine the level –and increasingly a measurable level– of ‘Trust’ that is so critical to the success of a business and a brand.

Russell Ackoff, a noted academic and business consultant, often chided his students and clients to “stop doing the wrong things righter and do the right things.” Technology, Transparency & Trust are forcing marketplace change— a change that no longer allows a business to do the wrong things righter to enhance the P&L—it is a change that requires business to do the right things.

Hail the Consumer!

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As Global Vice President for the Consumer Markets, Michael Forhez, who recently joined 1WorldSync, brings 20 plus years of diversified experience in sales, marketing and management consulting. Frequently called upon to write and speak on subjects germane to the consumer markets, Michael is currently responsible for evangelizing 1WorldSync offerings within the Consumer Products and Retail sectors while engaging various stakeholders to better understand their collective requirements.