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As brands try their best to stand out from the crowd and customers get savvier with what they buy, the power balance between the two parties continues to shift. We’ve highlighted 3 trends to keep in mind this year that – should you need – will help your business maintain a healthy relationship with your customers right through 2018 and beyond.

1. The year of the real connection

Long gone are the days where you can simply promote a product or service and wait for the money to roll in. Even utilising this tactic on social media isn’t going to net you a profit. Customers expect more. A lot more. To really speak to them, you need to build a genuine, long term connection with their community. How? Easy…Kind of. Firstly, understand that customers can see straight through fakeness. Most people are immune to marketing clichés and often dismiss brands that are trying too hard to impress. Be true to yourself and your business, and you’re off to a great start. Secondly, form your communication strategy around building a genuine connection. Yes, Facebook and Instagram posts can be used here – but think outside the box. Utilise newer tools, like Facebook live or Instagram stories, to build real world narratives around your business. Ones that communities, and the people that inhabit them, relate to.

2. It’s time to start thinking about Gen Z

Millennials are becoming old news – literally. With the oldest of the bunch now topping out at 35, the much-maligned generation is giving way to a new beast: Generation Z. Gen Zedders are born between 1996 and 2010, which means they’re now entering the work force. Which means they’ve got money. Which means they’re buying things. It also means you probably work with one or two. As new key players in the business world, those in Generation Z are sure to shake a few things up. After all, this is the generation that were born into the digital world. If you work with them, use their knowledge of this space for a unique perspective. If they’re your core demographic, or about to be, take the time to study up on what makes them tick – and how your product or service can connect with them. Preparedness here, is the key.

3. The experience economy

A great way to help your business truly connect with people in 2018, of any generation, is to rethink what it is you’re actually in the business of. If you’re a café, do you serve eggs on toast with a side of avo? Or, do you give patrons quality time to catch up with friends? If you’re a retail store, do you stock new on-trend dresses? Or, do you really sell confidence? Understanding this subtle difference will help you grasp the value of the Experience Economy. Or, in other words, the idea that businesses need to create memorable experiences for their customers. With the memory, or experience, becoming the product in itself. This can be manifested in many simple ways. Some of which you’re probably already employing. From quality customer service, to extending the product beyond the transaction, memorable experiences can be found in any touch point you have with the customers.

Have a think about what experiences you can implement for your customers in 2018, and you’ll go a long way to making money happen. Find out how Business Fuel can help – complete our online application form today. We’ll be in touch to discuss how we can assist.