The ICONIC Mindset

New Year, New You, New Normal: ICONIC Predictions for What's Next

January 31, 2021 Calvin Stovall | John Avola
The ICONIC Mindset
New Year, New You, New Normal: ICONIC Predictions for What's Next
Chapters
1:35
Calvin Stovall's 2021 Resolutions
3:51
John Avola's 2021 Resolutions
5:48
Employees over Profits
18:03
Employees are going to expect more focus on diversity, equity and inclusion
20:25
The race to automate and digitize everything with intensify
30:52
Customers will continue to demand exceptional experiences
41:03
ICONIC Points
The ICONIC Mindset
New Year, New You, New Normal: ICONIC Predictions for What's Next
Jan 31, 2021
Calvin Stovall | John Avola

New Year, New You, New Normal: ICONIC Predictions for What's Next
Episode #11

Faced with the pandemic, companies did things that seemed impossible, overnight. And some industries, like ecommerce, experienced growth in 9 months that wasn’t predicted for years. 2021 begins a new year, new you, new normal and with the New Year ahead, Calvin and John remain dedicated to helping businesses and leaders be ICONIC! This episode has only one goal... provide an ICONIC list of predictions for 2021 that will give your business an edge above the competition and help you prepare for what’s next.

  • 0:01:35 - Calvin's 2021 Resolutions
  • 0:03:51 - John's 2021 Resolutions
  • 0:05:48 - Employees over profits
  • 0:18:03 - Employees are going to expect more focus on diversity, equity and inclusion
  • 0:20:25 - The race to automate and digitize everything will intensify
  • 0:30:52 - Customers will continue to demand exceptional experiences
  • 0:41:03 - ICONIC Points

To learn more about John Avola and Calvin Stovall, visit iconicpresentations.net. All The ICONIC Mindset episodes can be downloaded at theiconicmindset.com. If you enjoyed listening to this episode, please subscribe to our show.  Remember to select a star rating and/or write a review for The ICONIC Mindset podcast.

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  1. Open your podcast app and search/navigate to The ICONIC Mindset
  2. Scroll to the subhead titled "Ratings & Reviews" 
  3. Tap to give a rating and/or select "Write a Review"
  4. Once you've finished, select "Send" or "Save" (top-right corner)

Thank you for listening! We value our listeners and subscribers.

Don't just be, Be ICONIC!

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

New Year, New You, New Normal: ICONIC Predictions for What's Next
Episode #11

Faced with the pandemic, companies did things that seemed impossible, overnight. And some industries, like ecommerce, experienced growth in 9 months that wasn’t predicted for years. 2021 begins a new year, new you, new normal and with the New Year ahead, Calvin and John remain dedicated to helping businesses and leaders be ICONIC! This episode has only one goal... provide an ICONIC list of predictions for 2021 that will give your business an edge above the competition and help you prepare for what’s next.

  • 0:01:35 - Calvin's 2021 Resolutions
  • 0:03:51 - John's 2021 Resolutions
  • 0:05:48 - Employees over profits
  • 0:18:03 - Employees are going to expect more focus on diversity, equity and inclusion
  • 0:20:25 - The race to automate and digitize everything will intensify
  • 0:30:52 - Customers will continue to demand exceptional experiences
  • 0:41:03 - ICONIC Points

To learn more about John Avola and Calvin Stovall, visit iconicpresentations.net. All The ICONIC Mindset episodes can be downloaded at theiconicmindset.com. If you enjoyed listening to this episode, please subscribe to our show.  Remember to select a star rating and/or write a review for The ICONIC Mindset podcast.

Connect with us!

To leave a podcast review:

  1. Open your podcast app and search/navigate to The ICONIC Mindset
  2. Scroll to the subhead titled "Ratings & Reviews" 
  3. Tap to give a rating and/or select "Write a Review"
  4. Once you've finished, select "Send" or "Save" (top-right corner)

Thank you for listening! We value our listeners and subscribers.

Don't just be, Be ICONIC!

Introduction:

Welcome to the iconic mindset podcast with John Avola and Calvin Stovall. This is the only place that uncovers the multiple levels of iconic businesses and brands. Every episode reveals the secrets behind what it takes to make your business idea or movement iconic. Now, here are John and Calvin.

John Avola:

Hey Calvin. How are you?

Calvin Stovall:

John, what's going on? Good to see you, man.

John Avola:

Happy New Year!

Calvin Stovall:

Happy New Year to you. Welcome to 2021. Thank you. 2020 is gone .

John Avola:

We made it. This is our first episode of 2021. I'm excited.

Calvin Stovall:

I am too. I am so fired up about this.

John Avola:

So today I know we're going to be talking about a new year, new you, new normal. We're going to touch on some iconic predictions for what's next. But before we jump in, I want to hear from you. Do you have any new year's resolutions that you're working on?

Calvin Stovall:

I don't really do resolutions, typically. I do write goals. I write goals every year. One of the things that I know for sure that I'm going to focus on is to get back to better health with the pandemic, wanting to take care of myself, of course, the best I can. And I wasn't able to get to the gym as much as I used to. So that will be one of the things I will ramp back up. I know we're not fully open yet. I was doing a little stuff at home, but you know how that is. I like to go to the gym. People are there with you. It just brings a different energy to it all. So that is going to be one that I'm going to focus on. And the other thing is, I know I have iconic branding and all of that. I want to live my brand out more this year, like wearing wardrobe with musical artists on it and things like that and just live it out a little bit more and I haven't done it. You know how it is, Johnny, now everybody's a speaker, everybody's an expert. I want to find things that are authentically me that can help differentiate me from everybody else out there in the marketplace. So that's another thing that I'm going to focus on and, of course, continue to love my two boys, but I was going to do that anyway. What about you? What are you going to do different this year?

John Avola:

Well, I've got one thing to say to you real quick before we jump into some resolutions I've been thinking of, because I want to hear this from you. Can we expect a book in 2021?

Calvin Stovall:

Yes. Absolutely. 2021. We will have a book. That is a goal. I can't believe I didn't mention that. I actually wrote it down. Yes. There will be a book.

John Avola:

Our listeners are going to be the first to know. There's going to be an iconic mindset book of some sort published in 2021.

Calvin Stovall:

Yes, it will be. But what about you?

John Avola:

All right . So for me, that's similar. Similar. I agree with the goals. I'm not looking to change a lot, but definitely looking to better myself forward. One of those areas is around communication. I really want to improve my communication skills, to be a better writer, speaker, better podcaster , to study those professionals that are out there today. What are they doing that sets them aside? Just really understand how to be a better communicator. So I've got that. Also need to dedicate more time for some personal development. Getting into expanding knowledge, educating myself. I'd love to learn things. Like specifically home repair stuff that I always hire out. If the fence needs to be replaced, I want to go buy a board and put some screws in it. You know what I mean? Get some power tools out. Buy a circular saw and be sure I don't cut my hand off. I want to try some new things. My last one is just more personal and that's just become more spiritual. So I just want to make a real effort to attend some virtual church and give some thanks.

Calvin Stovall:

Those are all fantastic goals, John. You know I'm here to support you in any way I can. That's awesome. All right, I guess we'd better get this thing started.

John Avola:

Of course , of course. Well, and speaking of the pandemic and COVID, it's something we really can't ignore. We saw companies do things that seemed impossible overnight. Look at e-commerce, I'm sure we'll be talking about that today. They experienced growth in nine months, which wasn't predicted for years. And so this episode we want to dedicate to 2021 predictions, to share with our audience what we believe is next, and help our audience stay ahead of the competition. So with all of that, Calvin , I'm going to jump right in and ask you , what are you seeing out there? What are some of those iconic predictions that you've come across?

Calvin Stovall:

One of the ones that I've seen and which I hope, which I believe, is going to continue, is organizations putting employees above profits. What COVID did is force leaders to really focus on engaging their employees' hearts and minds. People were working remotely. And so you had to kind of switch up how you might've typically communicated with your team. You couldn't walk into somebody's cube and have conversations with them. You see them in the hallway, meet them at the water cooler, whatever, that all went away. So I think you had to really find ways to really engage your team. What I think what we ended up seeing , John, is that you had those leaders who were good at that already pre COVID, but then you had those that were not and found that the old ways of trying to inspire people wasn't working through a screen because people had other things that they were dealing with. You might've had an employee where you might've not had a strong connection with them in the office, now all of a sudden everything has changed. And now you want to get on a Zoom call and say to that same employee, "Hey, how you doing?" I call it counterfeit care because it's inauthentic. I think what leaders had to do is they had to change. Those people that were doing it well, they realized that the old way wasn't working. They had to dig deep and they started setting up one-on-ones and doing skip levels and just finding out ways to keep their teams together, even though they were physically distanced. That's what I'm seeing. There's more to that, but I want to hear what you think about that too.

John Avola:

Absolutely. I agree with you. The entire workforce has changed. What's interesting is a lot of the cultures that were set in person have been able to transition into this short term where the prediction, or what we're looking at in the future, is how is that long-term crisis fatigue going to affect this remote environment? Those check-ins on a regular basis that you mentioned, the one-on-ones, how do we keep that going? And what I found was interesting is a study by Forrester that was done just a couple months before the pandemic. They found that fewer than one third of companies actually conducted employee experience surveys. So they have no idea what their employees are feeling and that's in office. And now, as you mentioned, going to this remote world, they, the other two thirds that did not take that survey, or do not have any idea of what their employees were feeling, they were blind to what their employees were experiencing, and they had a really difficult time trying to engage them in their work. The other thing to mention here, too, is that you want to be proactive, getting the pulse of your employees, understanding how they're feeling, getting into their mindset, and helping them with the productivity, keeping that morale high, really emphasizing the importance of culture. That's what's going to be most important here in 2021.

Calvin Stovall:

Yes. I agree with you a hundred percent. And the leaders who have done this particularly well, they've seen their teams continue to execute. Although it's too soon to tell, I bet the leaders that are doing this well, they won't see a massive flight of employees leaving once things go back post COVID. You know why? Because they've made the connection. They've made an emotional connection with that employee.

John Avola:

It's also brought out the employer's true colors, right? So we're talking about the positivity of those that know their employees. But what about those companies where it's brought to light where their employees really sit, how low they may be on the priority list? Companies not putting their employees over profits are the ones who are using the software or some type of app to track employees performance, or sign in at any time on their screen, while they're in the middle of working. That's the last thing you want while everything else is going on. That's another perspective, that if you're not aware of what your employees want and your employees are seeing what the company culture is truly like during a national pandemic, you're not going to retain them. That's not iconic.

Calvin Stovall:

That's not iconic. What COVID did, it pulled the Band- Aid off. it was authentic. You have to be authentic, that's the second quadrant in the framework. Again, authenticity is key. And I know that trend hopefully will continue. I predict more companies will do that. I know organizations have to make money and things of that nature, but now isn't the time to focus on stockholders and quarterly reports and all of that. You've got to really focus on doubling down your efforts, focus on your people because they're going to remember how you treated them.

John Avola:

Yes, they're your frontline . They represent the company's values, its mission. And we both have said this several times, employees are your most valuable asset. Hands down. I came across this quote. You know Sir Richard Branson? Virgin Airlines. He's unbelievable. I actually found a quote from him that's directly in line with this prediction, employees before profits. And he says, " when companies focus on employees first, in the end, shareholders do well, the customers do better, and your staff remains happy."

Calvin Stovall:

That's true. You can't say it any simpler than that.

John Avola:

Listen to Sir Branson.

Calvin Stovall:

That's right. Take care of your employees. They will take care of your customers. And the profits will take care of themselves. That is it. We all had challenges with COVID and everything. And we kind of talked offline a little bit about this, but it was challenging, just mentally for folks. I saw a recent study on mental health issues. We know this is on the rise, but they said 53% of US adults reported the stress about the pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health. So we're talking about one out of every two people. It was a lot to carry. I think companies and organizations that focused on making sure that they were providing resources and support for employees to help them get through that whole thing again, people first.

John Avola:

People first.

Calvin Stovall:

I'm excited that organizations realize that and I predict that is going to continue.

John Avola:

Employees are looking for it, Calvin. I came across a study by Aetna. They found that 89% of employees would stay with an employer longer if they provided mental health support. 90% would stay. And then it went on to say, two thirds would not work for a company that didn't have a clear policy supporting mental health. So there are very few individuals out there that are looking for companies that do not have a mental health awareness as a benefit. I hate to say this, but it's true. Unfortunately, I don't think it's over. Our leaders are going to continue to see employees struggle with anxiety and depression, burnout, trauma, grief, due to lost loved ones and sick family members. You've got to invest in the resources to help your leadership team get through this and help coach their employees.

Calvin Stovall:

Yes. You've also got to be aware of red flags. If you are truly connected and you have connected with your employee and you have a great communication between you both, you will notice when things are off. I want to just encourage people out there, if you're running a team and you notice that you typically have somebody that's super engaged and they're always contributing, and then all of a sudden you start seeing drastic changes in their behavior and things of that nature, step in. You don't have to be a therapist or anything. You just have to care, just have to care. And make sure you have some resources to offer them so they can get some help.

John Avola:

Absolutely. And Calvin, you mentioned red flags and neither of us are psychologists, but I think it's important to our audience to get an idea of what those warning signs are , what those red flags may be. I did a little bit of research, before our podcast. I just wanted to help our listeners out there, because whether you're leading a team, an organization, or you have a loved one that's close to you, we all have someone affected by this. Calvin mentioned 50%. Half of us. One in two people are dealing with mental anxiety or depression. So those red flags real quickly, there's just a couple of them. If you're noticing someone feeling very sad or withdrawn from work , they estimate around that 10 day to 14 day timeframe, it's something to consider. If you see some reduction in productivity, if you're seeing drastic increases in mood, behavior, personality , difficulty concentrating, intense worries or fears , if you've noticed a significant or quick weight loss or gain that wasn't anticipated or predicted. And then those that are even closer to you, if you're seeing any type of aggression , self infliction of pain , and of course , God forbid, any type of attempted suicide, these are serious warning signs that must be addressed. And in that same article that lists some of those warning signs, I read that only half of those that are struggling with mental health issues actually seek help. One in two people are suffering and then one or two people of that group is seeking help.

Calvin Stovall:

We've got to stay aware. 2020 was hard on a lot of folks. I think what it has done is made us better leaders and more. It's shown us the importance of authenticity, the importance of empathy and compassion. And so , again, the pluses of COVID.

John Avola:

And you said it, just simply checking in. Ask, how are you feeling? Reminding them it's okay not to be okay. Sharing that you're not alone. Letting them know that there's help out there.

Calvin Stovall:

That's our first prediction. We will continue to see organizations put employees above profits.

John Avola:

The next prediction I have goes closely in line with employees over profits, still focusing on employees. I'm predicting that employees are going to expect more focus on diversity, equality, and inclusion. Back in June , we had a ton of companies stand up openly against racial injustice as civil unrest erupted around the nation. Racial justice movements started Black Lives Matter, and employees are now expecting more ethnic and gender diverse workplaces. Employees and job applicants are looking for companies that have policies that will stand out and say how are their company culture, employee morale, retention, how are those items affecting diversity, equity, and inclusion?

Calvin Stovall:

We're going to call this the year, it's probably the next five years, the year of difficult conversations. Companies have to be aware of what's going on within their own organizations. And they've got to be vulnerable and address some uncomfortable topics. That's the only way you're going to make real change. They have to be self-aware and realize their biases and shortcomings, and don't do things just to check the box. If you want to make real change and effect real change, you've got to have some difficult conversations. You may have to hire a consultant to come in and help you accomplish it. Do it being authentic and making real change. And don't just check the box type.

John Avola:

Employees want that genuine support. They're looking at it from every level in the organization. It doesn't have to be your senior leaders. It doesn't have to be your individual contributors. It's a movement that everyone can participate in. For those of you , our listeners, that are in a position where they can influence human resource type policies. Now is the time to evaluate your diversity, equality, and inclusion in the workplace. Map your employee experiences, survey your teams , launch initiatives. We're doing things around monthly newsletters, employee feedback sessions, even some of our team members just naturally joined or formed their own book club. This is the time that you give your employees the opportunity to make a difference.

Calvin Stovall:

That is a major one. Great prediction. All right . So we are moving on to our next prediction. I love this prediction. We are going to continue to see this frenetic crazy, insane race to automate and digitize everything.

John Avola:

Everything.

Calvin Stovall:

Everything is going to be digitized.

John Avola:

We all want easier lives.

Calvin Stovall:

And I think that's cool. Companies will continue to try to find ways to make customer experience better and easier, more convenient for the customer. And they're going to continue to innovate and do those things. The only concern I have is, as you know, I'm all about making emotional connections with your customers and making sure that you differentiate yourself through that customer experience. And my concern is if we digitize everything, what happens to the human-to-human interaction? What happens to that part of it, because really your differentiation comes from that experience that you have with that customer. And if you're distanced from them, that's a challenge. That's going to be a challenge. And the organizations that figure out the balance between that digital and human and still make an emotional connection are going to be the ones that win.

John Avola:

It's almost defining that perfect ratio. There's a human touch and a digital touch. And what is the ultimate combination of those two, as you said , to generate the sale or to complete the sale. I have to say , Calvin, I've been thinking about this a little bit more, and I may even challenge that thought on the loss of emotional connection. Just hear me out, because I'm almost wondering if it boils down to the industry. If you look at it from a B to C, business to consumer perspective. And I'm thinking hospitality probably sits outside of this theory as I'm thinking out loud right now. I'm going to set hospitality aside before you come back at me! Can a physical human touch give the person the feeling of company XYZ knows me, in the way that you interact with that company online? For example, walking into Kroger or Target, I'm not expecting the greeter to know my name, to ask me if I'm going to purchase another video game or to say, hey, we've got some amazing sales, go checkout aisle 11, or to know how many loyalty points that I have. And hey, if you purchase this item, you're going to quadruple your loyalty points. But in a digital environment, you can. When you log in and you visit your favorite store's website, you can see your name and how many loyalty reward points you have. It'll offer you suggestions based on your past purchases. It'll give you some of your sales or your purchase history. And with a few clicks, you select your item. And that could be delivered to you within a few hours or a couple of days. But at the same time, the company itself has a better opportunity to know you as a person based on your digital interactions than the company does having you physically walk through the door of the store. Now, going back to the opposite thought in a B2B situation where you have a sales team, like if you're trying to buy a new product, say a Salesforce product, you're going to want that customer interaction, right? You're going to want to know more about the product, the tool, how it can help you , what more information the sales woman or man may have. There's an opportunity there to create that connection with your customers when you're selling a product that is going to affect the business directly. So I don't know, I've been going back and forth on, is there really a loss of connection when the company may know you better and therefore be able to optimize and digitalize what you want in a faster manner than looking at it from a loss of emotional connection? I don't know. Now you may want to touch on the hospitality industry.

Calvin Stovall:

That is different. I hear where you're coming from and I do think it depends on what you're buying and how well the organization can digitize the experience. Every organization is not that good at it. Even the hospitality industry has challenges with it. You can go to some hotels today and you could have stayed with that particular brand numerous times. And they still don't say, welcome back, thanks for being a loyal customer. It happens sometimes, but a lot of times it doesn't. And so it really depends on how well t hat technology is being implemented and how well it's used. I do agree with you, but my fear is you can also become a commodity, if everybody is doing that. I believe you c ould over-digitize. Too much technology may not be good.

John Avola:

There's a balance.

Calvin Stovall:

Again, it's back to the balance. What has happened is organizations like Amazon that have been able to take that online experience and truly personalize it for you. Netflix has done a fabulous job at doing that. We talked about that in another podcast, how well they're able to look at what you watched, what you like, and then push out content that you probably want to see. I think those things are absolutely fantastic. But as these organizations continue to do that and digitize, and pull out the human interaction, I think after a while, if you're not careful, you will become a commodity. You'll just be like everybody else. And we all know that with brands, it's an emotional connection that has to still be in there because that's where, when things do shift and things do change, you'll still want that particular brand. You're willing to pay more money for that brand. You're willing to travel further for that brand. So it's all of those things that's wrapped up. I've loved being able to have the convenience of having a digital experience, but I also want, sometimes I need, the human touch.

John Avola:

The human touch. That makes sense. I agree with you. And I think, it just summarizes around balance. It's balance.

Calvin Stovall:

I'm going to ask you a question. Do you think if COVID never happened, we would be where we are, as far as technology, online experience, is?

John Avola:

No way.

Calvin Stovall:

We were pushed into this situation.

John Avola:

Yes. And it has drastically accelerated. Like virtual assistance technologies, those are by far light years ahead of where we were before COVID. People were doubling and tripling down on investing in these services because that's what customers were looking for. It's interesting about those chat bot and virtual assistants, we're just at the beginning too. It's predicted that as these technologies mature, companies will leverage their own data. And then couple that with third-party data to offer even more personalized experiences.

Calvin Stovall:

That's awesome. Forrester Research has come up with a phrase called Zero UI . I guess that means user interface. It's basically a transitional interface that relies on voice , gestures, and location instead of touch. So it's being applied in a lot of places, ATM's , payment machines, and actually, you're scanning restaurant menus now. So I think we're going to continue to see all of this stuff happening.

John Avola:

The National Retail Federation found that no-touch payments for retailers increased 70% last year.

Calvin Stovall:

Because people are just so afraid of COVID now, it's like nobody wants to touch anything.

John Avola:

Absolutely. I agree. Just to kind of close this one out, Calvin, I did want to leave with a note for our listeners, and that is the importance based on everything we just said on how quickly companies need to adopt to these technologies. And I'm going to say this. I hope it's not true, but if you've got a website that is not mobile friendly today, if you're pinching to zoom in customers, if you don't have a website they can access on a mobile device, please, please, please stop everything you're doing and make that your number one priority. You need a mobile friendly website. I just wanted to leave that last note.

Calvin Stovall:

That's important. And if you create an omni -channel experience for your customers, all of that stuff is going to continue to be important. Yes, sir. You've got to get the website right.

John Avola:

That's your front door.

Calvin Stovall:

That's your first impression and the lasting impressions. Basically to summarize that right there, John, like you said, get your technology in order. That's how you're going to create the experience that your customers are coming to expect and figure out for your organization for whatever you're selling, technology balanced with human interaction.

John Avola:

So that's awesome. I think these predictions are going to help our listeners. What do we have? One more prediction to close us out. And that prediction is customers will continue to demand exceptional experiences.

Calvin Stovall:

Yes, they will. Because a bad experience, they will walk away. They're going to be gone. Shep Hyken, I think a lot of people know him. He has been in the customer experience space for a very long time. And he did a study, 2020 Achieving Customer Amazement survey. And his survey found that 96.2% of customers are willing to leave because of a bad customer service. That is a huge number. Here's the thing though, John. The funny thing with COVID is when it first happened, customers were giving organizations grace. If you dropped the ball here and there, things weren't going right, or whatever, you were like, oh, it's a pandemic. But I think now people are like, hey, you need to step up your game.

John Avola:

I think what you're saying, Calvin, is the customers have high demands and expectations. And if you don't meet these expectations, I think I hear the social media megaphone.

Calvin Stovall:

There you go. You 're going to get slammed. We are just increasingly impatient. We just are . I have one thing that I've coined a soundbite culture. I call the younger generation a soundbite culture because they communicate through chat boxes, comments, TikTok, Snapchat, texts. This one we're talking about now I call this kind of a microwave culture where we want everything, and I've heard this called the now customer. I'm calling it the microwave customer because we want it right now. Not tomorrow, not in five minutes. I want it right now. So that's what we're dealing with.

John Avola:

What was very interesting to me is, every year there's the most popular brands, the world's top brands is published. And this particular year, 2020, the top three brands were number one, Amazon. This is the top three brands in the world. Amazon, Google was number two, and Apple is number three. And I thought about those three companies for a moment and all three of those, Amazon, Google, and Apple have something in common. And the commonality between those three companies is that the customer experience is simple. There is no friction. And all three of those companies are experts in speed to market and therefore speed to delivery to your home. A good example of this, Calvin, and you're going to laugh, is that I needed an Apple charger for my computer. It died. The computer's done. No power. Oh man, it's the middle of the afternoon. What am I going to do? Go to apple.com, search for my make and model, found the charger. At the checkout, it said, would you like this delivered to your house within the next two hours? What? No way. I had to say yes, just because I wanted to see if it was real. You're telling me, you can deliver a charger in my hand in two hours? I could make myself some lunch, I would have the charger, and I wouldn't have to go anywhere. And Calvin, I'll tell you, it happened. Within two hours, a courier showed up at the door with the exact part that I needed, charger hand delivered. Thank you. Walked away.

Calvin Stovall:

See, when companies deliver stuff like that, it creates an expectation.

John Avola:

Yes, it's so true. It is. I think the more that we get into 2021, in addition to the convenience and the demand, customers are going to expect that personalized promotion. They're going to expect being catered to from an individual level. It's more so a one-to-one, not a one-to-many anymore. It's the expectation of the company knows who I am, what I need, and I'm expecting them to deliver what I'm looking for.

Calvin Stovall:

Absolutely. I think you've heard me say this before and I usually do it in my keynotes, I have a quote. You're only as good as your customer's last Amazon experience. That's just a reality and for our listeners out there today, I want you to understand that you're not only being compared to your competitors. You are being compared to any organization, regardless of industry, that can create a memorable customer experience for them. So I don't c are what you're selling, the bar has been upped and you have to step up your game. We're just not talking fodder here. This is real.

John Avola:

And you make a good point. Like what you just said, it's not necessarily the competitors that you only need to be worried about anymore. You need to be worried about any experience that can affect your customer's perception of your brand.

Calvin Stovall:

Absolutely, John, and they're getting those perceptions from those iconic brands that are able to do it on a consistent basis.

John Avola:

So another example. My daughter, she needed a special kind of pretzels, right? Because nothing is easy in pre-K. You can't just go to the store and buy a bag of pretzels that anyone would buy. You've got to have this special pretzel. And this teacher, she knows exactly what she wants. And these pretzels she wants are, they're like a waffle shaped pretzel. They're square pretzels with kind of a tally in the middle of them. And so I searched for a week for these pretzels. I'm going to grocery stores, going to Walgreens, going to CVS. I'm like, hey, I'm looking for pretzels. They're like, you're in a Walgreens . Why are you looking for pretzels? I looked everywhere. I'm risking my life out here for these pretzels. I'm all PPE, masked, face shield, gloves, hazmat suit. I'm just looking for a bag of pretzels. So then I head over to Amazon, of course, where I should've started. Found them in about two and a half seconds. We're prime members. But in this case, this item was the next day delivery. I hit this one swipe, buy now. And sure enough, those pretzels were at my door. Amazing, amazing.

Calvin Stovall:

You see all the time you wasted going to all those stores?

John Avola:

I was down to the wire. I had one day left and sure enough, they showed up the day before. So I wanted to share that with you as another example. And these trends, I don't think they're going away.

Calvin Stovall:

They're not, these predictions are real and they're going to continue.

John Avola:

They're here to stay. I know McKinsey and Company published a study that found an overall 30% growth in purchases online, but it also revealed that these trends that we're talking about are going to stay. 60% of those surveyed intend to continue buying online. 47% continue to take advantage of curbside pickup. Over half of the respondents said they're going to continue getting any type of food and grocery delivery services to their door. So these are all companies that are thriving in this area of immediacy and demand and experiences. You're going to see that a lot more too, like sitting down and watching TV. Calvin, I know you've got that beautiful 96 inch TV, kicking back, watching the Super Bowl here in a couple of weeks. And you'd see a product that comes across one of those amazing commercials. You want to have the ability to purchase. Your remote should have a buy now button. That's where we're headed, real time response.

Calvin Stovall:

Yes, sir. We could talk about customer expectations all day long, but I think our listeners get the message around this one. So what we want to say is this. Continue to invest in ways to make your customer's experience more convenient, making their lives easier. And because our customers are getting smarter and smarter expectations are continuing to increase, you have to make sure that you're doing things that are going to keep you in there. At least that competitive set.

John Avola:

Take exactly what you just said. Prioritize the efforts with the biggest potential for the consumer. Train your employees. Remember employees first and you're going to be fine. That's going to work. It's going to work out.

Calvin Stovall:

That sounds like a lot though! I mean it is, but you can do it. Anybody can do it. If you want to be iconic, you have to do it.

John Avola:

You have to, you have to, if you want to play in this space. If you don't, you'll be left behind. There's tools, there's resources, plenty of opportunity available to help you.

Calvin Stovall:

Those were great predictions. I hope the listeners enjoyed them as well. I'm so excited about 2021 and to see where these organizations are headed. I think we're in store for some great things this year. You agree?

John Avola:

Absolutely. I'm excited. I think , just to wrap up maybe a quick overview of the, I think we went through four , four predictions. Let's do a quick little wrap up here, summarize what we've said for our listeners. So our first prediction was around employees above profits. We talked about how important it is to have your employees first. We had a great quote from our friend, I'm going to call him our friend , Sir Richard Branson. How, employees first, everything else will follow. And then we rolled right into the importance of mental health and how important it is to be aware of your employees, how they're feeling, check-in, ask how they're doing. Be aware of some of those red flags we talked about, right ? Another prediction we discussed was employees are going to expect more focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, how important that is to have a diverse workforce, map your employee experiences, understand that your policies, procedures need to reflect a diverse culture. And most importantly, know that your employees are expecting that. They want to see diversity h appen within the workforce. Then we had a great prediction that we talked at length about, which was the automation and digitizing. Making our lives easier. We talked about how simplicity and no friction c an make that customer experience as easy as possible. We went through some c hat bots discussion, voice and virtual a ssistants, and how important those are. And then we finished up today's predictions with our last, but not least, b ecause I'm sure we will have some more, and t hat is around customers will continue to demand exceptional experiences. One of my favorite quotes from you, Calvin, your e xperience is only as good as your last Amazon experience. Remember customers are smart. We're all smart. Don't be trying to pull something over them. They're going to figure it out. A ttend to their needs. Anything else, C alvin, you want to add today?

Calvin Stovall:

We're hoping that we can do some video so people can see our faces soon. That would be great, if we do these with video. I'm always hoping that we can get some comments from people to see if there are any topics they want us to talk about this year, John .

John Avola:

Absolutely. Yes, we definitely appreciate our listeners. We want to hear from you. Calvin did mention, you may be seeing us in video, real time video. That's right. Episode 12 is going to be iconic, but anyhow, until next time, you know that you can find out more about Calvin and me on iconicpresentations.net. Learn more about us, listen to previous episodes, share what you think. There's a contact us form where you can reach one of us at any time. And Calvin with that... Don't just be. Be ICONIC.

Calvin Stovall's 2021 Resolutions
John Avola's 2021 Resolutions
Employees over Profits
Employees are going to expect more focus on diversity, equity and inclusion
The race to automate and digitize everything with intensify
Customers will continue to demand exceptional experiences
ICONIC Points