Value Propositions Of The Future
When we design Value Propositions, we’re essentially making predictions.
We’re predicting that a certain customer will like a certain offer at a certain price point at a certain time.
If they’re all correct, we have the basis of a successful business.
If one or more elements are wrong, we will struggle to remain relevant and viable.
Therefore, the skill of making predictions is important – especially when it comes to technological and societal change.
It’s easy to predict dire futures in which technology brings about change that makes our lives worse.
In reality, all change has happened voluntarily – we’ve changed our buying patterns because we were offered something more appealing.
Or to put it the other way, we’ve refused to adopt better practices because we don’t see them as being appealing enough.
Let’s start by looking at the recent value propositions that have transformed industries, and changed the way we live today.
None of these were imposed changes, we accepted them because we liked them.
Also bear in mind that there’s no real distinction between technology businesses and other businesses: tech improvements can revolutionise almost any industry.
Apple and the iTunes Store changed how we bought music through three compelling offers:
· Try before you buy (30 second sample)
· Only buy what you like (selection of individual tracks)
· Get new music whenever you like (download from your computer)
Then Spotify came in and offered even more:
· Stream for free (with ads)
· Unlimited music at your convenience (monthly subscriptions)
· Curated playlists (genres, moods and special guests)
· Your music is available anywhere you are (cloud basis vs computer basis)
· Share playlists with friends (Facebook connectivity)
Blockbuster offered a cheaper cinema experience:
· Convenience (watch movies at home)
· Flexibility (Pay per day/week)
· Range (thousands of titles available)
Then Netflix and YouTube knocked them over.
· Risk free trials (fixed price subscriptions)
· Convenience (no need to leave your house)
· Accessibility (watch content from any device)
· Cultural relevance (you and your network can watch the same shows at the same time)
· Flexibility (binge watching rather than waiting for each episode)
· A near infinite catalogue
· Videos uploaded by individuals rather than studios
· Eccentric and bizarre content with niche appeal
· The ability to make and share playlists and channels with others
The patterns we see here are important.
Most of us don’t intuitively see the importance of new technology, until someone explains what it will do for us.
That’s the lens through which we can start predicting what value propositions will be relevant in the future – by thinking about how people behave, and what would be compelling enough to make them try something new.
A few major changes to autonomous driving will enable an entirely new range of value propositions to consumers – and make most of the current ones obsolete.
They’ll have to be persuasive, in order to have customers give up the ability to drive themselves.
For people who drive to their jobs, a car goes from being an active experience to a passive one.
Therefore, we may see brands focusing on what the car enables them to do en-route, such as video calling, hosting meetings, using a computer/tablet, etc.
A car becomes a workspace on wheels, which eliminates the wasted time currently spent driving.
Much like how Volvo advertises their safety features, brands will compete based on the safeness of their autopilot systems.
Think of Qantas and their reputation for safety, and how this can persuade customers away from cheaper options like Malaysian Air – the same dynamic will play out in the car industry.
Similarly, a car can quickly become a gold-class cinema or gaming hub. This will appeal to customers who were previously entertained by a radio to suddenly watch shows or movies, engage in virtual reality gaming, or even create music.
Customers will be able to pick their own “Driver” – the voice and communications system in the car.
In the same way that GPS units had celebrity voices, each brand of car will have distinctive, personable identities that interact with passengers, like Siri or Alexa do today, or what JARVIS does with Iron Man.
Cars will no longer need to be parked – they can either return home during the day or be used to complete valuable tasks.
This may mean that we drive somewhere in the morning, then have our cars complete deliveries or deliveries or uber trips, then return to us when we need them.
Some brands will focus on the ability to get drunk and still get home safely, removing the current dependency on taxis or designated drivers.
Similarly, it will allow passengers with illness or injury to be immediately taken to a hospital or doctor, even if they are on the verge of unconsciousness.
3D printing will give us the ability to quickly produce any structure we like, with minimal labour and cost.
Some see this as the end of unskilled work, which is initially unfortunate but ultimately desirable as jobs shift towards creative roles rather than manual labour.
This gives a landowner the freedom to create whatever designs they like – a house that is tailored to your exact specifications, made in incredibly short times.
Companies will advertise the benefits of designing your own dream home, either one designed by any professional architect in the world, or something that is uniquely your own.
This also places a higher value on architects and creatives, who can now service vast numbers of clients simultaneously.
Modification is easy, and drastic changes can be completed quickly.
This will decrease the burden of renovation experienced by those who buy run-down houses, or families buying outdated styles of architecture.
With this added capability, personalisation of one’s home becomes a more prominent status symbol.
Painting large surfaces can be done in hours instead of weeks, with exact designs “printed” onto walls rather than added by hand.
This becomes a huge gain-creator; the chance to show off your taste and style in every facet of your home, which can be redone seasonally to remain novel.
The idea of staying in a motel during renovations becomes extinct, with residents able to move into their houses in a matter of days.
This is further enables by a machine’s ability to work day and night, and on weekends and public holidays.
The decreased costs of construction can be passed onto the customer, especially for those who are using “Open Source” building designs. This allows people to either build larger buildings or to update them more frequently, whereas today they are constrained by their budgets.
The threat of machines replacing human jobs is quite confronting, so it will take some compelling reasons for us to move towards an automated workforce.
Because these are similar to the reasons above, let’s instead look at the new Value Propositions that will need to exist simultaneously.
In the wake of automation, many workers will seek alternate employment.
This will give rise to retraining colleges, who advertise the higher wages and more rewarding work that comes from jobs that cannot be automated.
They’ll focus on the social benefits from having a more “human” career, their graduate’s employability, and the avoidance of shame attached to redundancy.
With the decrease in unskilled labour, there will be a shift towards highlighting one’s own unique and desirable talents. We currently see this in fields like graphic design where everyone has a folio of past work and client testimonials.
This will become commonplace, with 1-2 brands becoming the default places for workers to showcase their abilities – like a combination of Facebook, LinkedIn and Seek, mixed with a personal website.
These brands will then sell the benefits of prominence of search rankings, where people can pay to have their folios more visible to prospective employers.
As people become more productive, there become a greater emphasis on personal branding and reputation management.
This is doubly important given the permanence of incriminating photos and messages, with personal brand managers helping those who want their embarrassing pasts supressed, or their achievements magnified.
Rapid team formation
Project managers will be able to curate teams like Nick Fury assembling the Avengers – with highly talented individuals brought in for their specialist expertise.
This will see teams form, perform and disband quicker than ever before, being paid higher day rates but for fewer days at a time.
In turn, this will lead to the appeal of “Permanent Teams” who offer more stable employment and the chance to work with the same colleagues for multiple years at a time.
Whilst this is taken for granted today, it will soon become a selling point of agencies in the future, removing some of the uncertainty that comes from frequent job changes.
This all comes back to Bill Bernbach’s idea of “Simple, timeless human truths”
People want more leisure time, and fewer menial tasks.
They want to express themselves creatively.
They want to feel like they have job security.
They want to feel unique and valuable.
They want to feel like they have control over their futures.
When we consider the capabilities of new technologies, this is the lens we should look through.
Not “What does it do for people?”, but
“What will people tell themselves that this will do for their lives?”
Being technically correct isn’t as valuable as being persuasive.
Luckily for us, technology changes but people don’t.