A proven, exciting Retirement planning process for individuals and couples, The Best-Half is a combination of workshops, coaching and personal reflection. It was developed by experienced coaches and educators. For organizations, The Best-Half is a process to be used in succession management especially for transitions and to establish common goals and objectives in the senior phases of a career.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Let’s all be a little kinder

It’s the time of year for rituals. We plan for and enjoy Christmas and New Years. We will take some time off, enjoy having family around us and recharge and maybe even reflect. With the ‘consumer storm’ in full swing it’s easy to put on blinders and get the ‘to do’ list done. My goal is to get things done in a kinder way. I also want to deal with people who are kinder to me and who treat their people and their customers more kindly. It’s even good for business. A recent Strategy and Business article on Brand Value discussed the changes in our buying habits post-consumer recession. In the article, author John Gerzema talks about the dramatic shifts in what people expected in the consumer marketplace and how they defined and pursued what they considered the good life. As a factor in decision making, sheer desire for the goods themselves has been declining sharply for the past decade. Out with exclusivity and in with positive relationships; out with snobbishness and exclusivity, focus on attributes related to bringing people closer together or making the world a better place. Among the once-prized brand attributes that declined in this period were: “exclusive” (down 60 percent), “arrogant” (down 41 percent), “sensuous” (down 30 percent), and “daring” (down 20 percent). On the opposite side of the scale, the brand attributes found more important were: “kindness and empathy” (up 391 percent), “friendly” (up 148 percent), “high-quality” (up 124 percent), and “socially responsible” (up 63 percent).
The author points out that the 391 percent increase is not a typo! It is the biggest shift in attitude the researchers have seen in over 20 years. The preference is to show kindness in both its interactions with customers and with its employees. With consumers watching pennies and luxuries being deferred for staples, the customer experience needs to be adjusted quickly and decisively in order to preserve a spot in the marketplace. We certainly have seen several of our clients  ‘re-jig’ offerings to align their customer and client experiences to produce a kinder gentler outcome. We are also seeing an even greater move to the small, the handcrafted and the personalized. Websites such as Etsy.com have grown exponentially offering handcrafted and vintage goods with a one-of-a-kind feel. With a superior shopping experience savvy consumers are eschewing big box for kitchen table crafters.
Our wish for you this holiday season is to spread kindness. Donate to the Salvation Army every time you see a kettle, show some empathy for beleaguered store staff and give the gift of kindness to friends, family and total strangers.


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