Consumers: tech-savvy, always-connected, skeptical, and demanding. The machine intelligence behind nonhuman intermediaries – mobile apps, wearables, smart speakers and other AI-powered systems – is expanding these consumers’ intelligence quotient by giving them more ways to access information and explore more choices, making them more powerful than ever. This new human-algorithm alliance has turned the business-to-consumer dynamic on its head, challenging brands to connect more intelligently and hyper-personally with customers.
Trying to influence humans alone won’t be enough in the future; brands will also need to influence algorithms. Every industry and business will need to become ‘B2HM’ ― Business to Human and Machine ― and the most successful brands will be the ones who earn a trusted reputation with both customers and their AI assistants.
So how can companies become B2HM? They will need to go the extra mile in overhauling their digital infrastructure, go-to-consumer strategies, and customer experience goals. In short, they will have to adopt a three-pronged ‘Reimagine, Rebuild, and Rethink” approach:
- Reimagine their brand. The AI-augmented consumer is changing the very meaning of “brand”, and the resonance of a “brand name.” Would customers care if your brand disappeared? Our latest research shows that they wouldn’t. Rather than relying on legacy brand reputation, consumers increasingly want assurance they’re getting the “best” product or service for their needs. Will apps, bots, or personal assistants assure them that your brand fits the bill?
- Rebuild digital reputation to reach augmented customers. Brand reputation can be swayed by many online attributes, including the ease with which consumers can obtain information, buy a product or service, or find ratings and reviews. Only 47% of consumers feel businesses make it easy to assess their brand value, especially at the time of purchase. When AI-augmented consumers, or the intelligent algorithms they rely on, find it difficult to assess brand value online, they’ll quickly move on.
- Rethink their relevance to form deeper relationships with consumers. AI-augmented consumers value brands that know them well, anticipate their future needs, and deliver the right product at the right place at the right time. This is where the majority of traditional businesses miss the mark. While nearly 70% of consumers said a customized personal experience is important to them, only half are satisfied with the experience they get from traditional businesses. The greater the depth of personalization, the higher the probability of influencing machines and the consumers who trust them.
The human-machine alliance will have a profound impact on how traditional business models will evolve, presenting both opportunities and risks to companies. Intelligent machines are playing an increasingly important role by augmenting humans with the information they need, influencing their decisions, and ultimately helping them become more efficient. Your brand can’t sit on the sidelines. But don’t worry – you don’t need to try to become Amazon or Google. The key to success is to reimagine your brand in the age of algorithms. Check that your brand features on Amazon, with a Google ranking, for example. Becoming B2HM is your golden opportunity to move ahead. In a fast-moving, interconnected world, brands that flow with consumers’ lives are valued the most, and brands that flow with consumers’ needs will be the most successful. So go with the flow! Go B2HM!