Companies face four major challenges in 2022

What troubles organisations these days? That’s what Kristof Bossuyt and Nina de Graaf (iO) asked a number of our clients. The result? Four challenges almost every company in Europe faces these days.

Nina de Graaff, Kristof Bossuyt iO

When you, as a company, want to understand which challenges your customers are facing, you can order expensive reports or go into business with inspiring consultants. Or you can conduct a large-scale survey of your customers. ‘The last few months, we have looked into the most important issues businesses struggle with,’ says Kristof Bossuyt, Business Development Director at iO. In collaboration with colleagues like Nina de Graaf, Bossuyt identified four major challenges for businesses and brands:

  1. Staying relevant or becoming more relevant

  2. Being or becoming future-proof

  3. Building a robust and scalable digital ecosystem

  4. Accelerating growth in a smart way

1. Staying relevant or becoming more relevant

‘Many brands today struggle to stay relevant. Take Q8, for instance, which many people see as nothing more than a fuel supplier. We help Q8 with its ambition to become a player in the field of sustainable mobility. Together, we explored how the brand can broaden its scope and bring new services to its customers. The Q8 smiles app (from the smiles loyalty programme) doesn’t just make paying at the pump easier and safer – the offer even includes road assistance now. Relevance starts from what you can do and who you can be for your customers. Then, you need to interact with them in the right way to create a positive brand experience,’ says Bossuyt.

“Relevance starts from what you can do and who you can be for your customers. Then, you need to interact with them in the right way to create a positive brand experience.”

De Graaf: ‘If you, as a brand, know what your part in the world is, you need to think about how that translates to the value you offer. Don’t think about what you’re doing today, think about the future customer. The transformation from product to service companies is a huge trend in this respect.’

2. Being or becoming future-proof

Anyone who wants to be future-proof has to innovate. Bossuyt explains that, on the one hand, that has an impact on what you do externally, but that the people within the organisation also need to be on board. ‘You need to look for ways to make your organisation more mature to prevent a gap between the inside and outside. That’s why, at DPG Media, we introduced the Digital Academy, training and coaching for people within the company. Before starting, we spoke to over fifty people in various roles to find out more about the relevant needs. That can be anything from tactical SEO training to strategic sessions on marketing strategies.’

3. Building a robust and scalable digital ecosystem

The third major challenge is setting up a robust and scalable digital ecosystem. ‘We can think with the client and translate their business into digital tools. That way, we can help their customers in a scalable way. It doesn’t matter to us which technology you pick, we primarily look for something that fits your ambition and infrastructure,’ says de Graaf.

A good digital ecosystem setup has always been one of iO’s fortes. The company started in 2005 as an IT player and since 2018 has experienced a growth spurt after the entry of the investment fund Waterland to broaden into an end-to-end agency, helping clients with both communication and digital transformation. In just a few years, over thirty companies were acquired. This gives iO the scale to easily anticipate all customer requests.

“Don’t think about what you’re doing today, think about the future customer. The transformation from product to service companies is a huge trend.”

Bossuyt: ‘Clients often struggle with dated systems. We find out how we can innovate certain elements or merge systems to make them scalable. You can do a lot of things internally, but you will always need technological partners to stay up to date. The same goes for marketing: if you need to get out fifty pieces of content a day, you need people to do that. If you don’t need that much content, the chances of you attracting talent to do that at your organisation are slim. Often, businesses opt for a hybrid solution with on-site staff and iO experts.’

4. Accelerating growth in a smart way

When everything is on point, it’s a matter of accelerating growth. Data can be converted into insights and better decisions. According to Bossuyt, campaigns are just as important to B2B companies as they are to B2C companies. ‘It’s still partially a people business, but the digital aspect can support or even take the lead.’

The furniture company, Van Hoecke, is the perfect example of a company that has gone through a huge transformation. De Graaf: ‘Every year, they create 800.000 unique drawers that go to carpenters and kitchen constructors. We developed a digital platform that allows customers to order them themselves whenever they want. Then, the manufacturing is triggered automatically. Now, 70 per cent of orders are digital. But it doesn’t end there: all the drawers have a QR code on them, that can be scanned to order a new one if it should ever break. With Van Hoecke, we thought about the future and how their digital ecosystem can support that. This way, the brand’s relevance grows.’

This article was published on detijd.be
Photography ©Jiri Buller

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