Brand owners are being urged to ditch the customer-centric approach in favour of life-centric strategies – which recognise consumers’ paradoxical behaviours, driven by forces such as economic, social, environmental, and political instability – to thrive in the future.
That is the conclusion of a new report from Accenture which insists this life-centric strategy that will see firms achieve an annual growth rate of nine percentage points higher than their peers, with these businesses being three times more likely to outperform rivals on speed-to-market and almost five times more likely to outperform on customer lifetime value.
The report, entitled “The Life Centricity Playbook: Proven Strategies for Growth Through Relevance”, is based on research of over 1,700 of the world’s leading C-suite executives. The research identified a nearly unanimous challenge globally, with 95% of executives saying their customers are changing faster than they can change their business.
The report defines and details the life-centric strategies, highlighting the natural push and pull within customers’ behaviour today, noting increasingly unpredictable behaviour.
While businesses once looked to a product-centric approach focused on performance and then shifted to a customer-centric strategy to prioritise experience, the report raises the need for a new playbook for growth, life centricity.
Until companies stop over-simplifying their customers and start accepting that they are ever-changing, multi-dimensional people deeply impacted by unpredictable external forces, they will find themselves stuck, Accenture reckons.
Life-centric businesses deeply understand the different forces shaping customers’ lives and deliver the most relevant solutions for those contexts.
The report argues that companies that embrace a life-centered approach— one that takes into consideration the humanity of the consumer, their shifting modes and the unpredictable life forces that come into play along the way—are best positioned to thrive in the future.
Accenture Song chief strategy officer Baiju Shah said: “As people face constant instability in their lives, they are continuously reassessing their values and sense of purpose.
“Businesses need to adopt a life-centric approach, taking a broader view that allows them to see customers in their full lives and adapt to their ever-changing needs and priorities. Companies that pursue life-centric strategies will not only ignite growth but build long-term advantages becoming our new category leaders into the years ahead.”
Furthermore, while 95% of executives are accelerating digital transformation efforts, 97% feel that those efforts merely allow them to keep pace, not achieve new growth and customer relevance. Amid these findings, the study identified five distinct and proven ways that life centered companies can transform to capture growth amid uncertainty:
Gain a profound understanding of people: High-growth companies use data, human ingenuity and machine intelligence to understand people’s multi-dimensional lives more intimately, finding new opportunities to add value. According to the study’s findings, companies that do this are 16% more likely to achieve the highest levels of profitability growth and 19% more likely to achieve the highest levels of employee retention.
Broaden the canvas for value creation: Companies that focus on sustainable growth by providing customer, social, environmental, and employee value are 26% more likely to achieve the highest levels of market share growth and 24% more likely to achieve the highest levels of customer lifetime value.
Creatively transcend industry norms: The report also found companies that creatively apply their technology and talent in new contexts, expanding beyond the structure of their industry and into a broader ecosystem of meeting people’s needs, are 32% more likely to achieve the highest levels of revenue growth from new ventures and 29% more likely to achieve the highest levels of speed-to-market.
Design a delightful experience continuum: Companies that design for simple but significant interactions across a unified experience continuum, adding the most amount of value with the least amount of interruption, are 26% more likely to achieve the highlight levels of customer satisfaction and 26% more likely to achieve the highest levels of speed-to-market.
Build a fluid operation across functions: The report also found that companies that use human and machine teams to empower talent, unify workflow systems and platforms, as well as design agile organisations are 28% more likely to achieve the highest levels of revenue growth and 23% more likely to achieve the highest levels of profitability growth.
Accenture Song CEO and creative chairman David Droga said: “Every business, within every industry, is now in uncharted waters – with new, complex challenges and opportunities coming at them from all sides and at pace.
“While growth is always the imperative, being and staying relevant is now harder than ever. To succeed in the new reality, companies will not only need to make bold, creative changes to how they best serve their customers. They’ll also need to do it at the speed of life.”
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