2016 was a crazy year. If we pause to take in all that’s transpired in the world in the last year and the last decade, we would realize we are in the middle of a significant transformation given geo-political surprises, the state of global economies, the changing nature of work, continued upheaval caused by new business models, technological advancements, and so on. We aren’t at the beginning of this change. Consider that the rise of the populist movement has been brewing for some time—think Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party Movement, the Arab Spring, and the youth uprisings in other areas of the world. After the Great Recession, new business models had already started to pop up such as Etsy and AirBnB. A technology gamechanger, the iPhone launched in June 2007, almost 10 years ago.
We certainly aren’t at the end of this evolution either. We are experiencing dramatic shifts that will require that we be Resilient—standing strong, pushing forward, and not letting the state of the world break us down—while also taking Responsibility—accepting that we are part of the solution and that our personal experiences and what shapes our world don’t just happen to us. We are active participants, or at least we should be—from the media we choose to consume to the stores we choose to buy from to the products we choose to purchase. From how we manage and present ourselves to how we interact with people in our daily lives to what organizations we choose to support. Change can happen on a small scale—small habits we choose to change to improve our own lives to interactions we have one-on-one with others to have a positive impact on their lives. It can take just one sign of respect or kindness, one smile to make someone’s day better. It can take just one person standing up for a cause to create a movement and shift the balance to get us moving in a new direction. According to Ford’s 2017 “Looking Forward with Ford Trend Report,” 47% of adults globally agree that individual consumers have the most power to effect positive change on society compared to 28% for governments and 17% for companies. Then what are we waiting for! We have more power than we think to impact our lives and others.
What does this mean for companies and brands?
- Take the high road:
- Provide solutions—help people get done what they need to get done in life.
- Address the real needs of real people.
- Don’t just think about the “up market.”
- Make quality products.
- Be positive and motivating in communications.
- Be personal.
- Positively participate in society:
- Do the right thing in your business dealings.
- Treat workers better.
- Get involved in the community.