It has been while since I have managed to get a blog out. I did write one in the summer but never finished it; I am putting this down to the arrival of child number 4.
So as Christmas is nearly here I felt the urge to get something out, as it feels like it is going to be a testing period for a lot of business. The ripples of Brexit appear large even if it isn’t clear what the long term implications are; and we have the fast approaching presidential election, markets have been rocked by the closing in the polls, surely history can’t repeat itself.
However, I am going to try to ignore all of that for the moment as further speculation won’t help!
So I want to just talk about what we have seen in a year where we have managed to get closer to our customers in a variety of ways. But perhaps what has been most fun has been the sharing and discussion around the challenges and opportunity they face.
We have run a number of events this year – a bit of a step into the unknown for us. This has allowed us to have informal conversations with industry leaders dealing with the day to day of taking their digital content to a global audience.
The first one was back in February, run with the team from Astound Commerce. The event was great (if a little drunken) and it showed the excitement and opportunity of going international for a business, but also the associated fear and risks.
We followed that with two further events we organised in conjunction with Oban Digital and Contentful, two companies at the forefront of offering solutions for all things digital, especially when addressing multiple markets.
What came across from these events is that there is an appetite to learn from your peers across various industries, as the challenges faced are often similar. Companies want to validate their decisions beyond their service partners and getting this validation from other businesses that they respect is powerful.
The topics covered were certainly broad; one with particular resonance was around how to capture culture in new business units where the regional culture is different. For some of our guests (Lush and Whitestuff in particular) with such strong internal culture, there were some great learnings but obviously all business to a greater or lesser extent face that challenge as they go into new markets.
Platforms were a hot topic, especially with so much consolidation in the industry, from Headless CMS (take a bow Contentful), to PIM, to e-commerce, and to automated marketing.
There were some more light-hearted discussions as well but I will protect those involved and not reveal the topics.
My overriding impression was that we have some amazing companies still driving brand and digital innovation, and that, despite the undoubted challenges and uncertainty that we face, there still has to be confidence about our ability to take these on. This isn’t just in facing a global world but hopefully continued innovation in energy, travel and communication which has an overall positive effect in reducing this uncertainty.
The last of these events was in September and we are producing a whitepaper, so I won’t reveal anymore other than I am looking forward to seeing what happens next, and hoping for the best while planning for the worst.
*Photo credits: nopporn / Shutterstock.com