Post date: 11-08-2020
During the past few months we have worked closely with clients in the Hospitality and Food and Beverages industries helping them decipher new trends that we see emerging in the market. This has given us a unique perspective of the dynamics of the market and has allowed us to verify a significant change in the behavior of consumers and more specifically, in their expectations regarding the goods and services on offer. We call this new paradigm the Economy of Self.
In the Economy of Self the consumer expects an offering that is not only at all times tailored to his or her individual beliefs, but also verifies and respects his or her individuality and boundaries. This may mean that product traits which have traditionally been identified as insignificant or complementary to the main offering, may now be emerging as dominant. In some cases, what has typically been considered common courtesy, may now be viewed as offensive or even dangerous to one’s wellbeing.
For example, the sitting arrangements of a restaurant or the way in which a waiter interacts with the client are becoming critical to the client’s perception of the benefit he or she may be getting.
The shift in expectations often means that businesses are called to adapt their brand, and often the products offered, to cater to the demands of their clientele. One’s own self is the driving force behind key consumer decisions and importantly behind the benefit that is attributed to the actual product.
One could argue, of course, that this is nothing new. Indeed, our own understanding of the world, our beliefs and special circumstances have always informed our purchasing decisions and in extension our behaviors as consumers. What makes our Economy of Self so special, is the fact that consumer beliefs, values and individual boundaries are now becoming extremely dynamic, if not erratic.
These beliefs may be the product of a number of arbitrary factors including scientific data, conspiracy theories, a piece of sensational news in the media and of course one’s own individual circumstances. This in turn makes any prediction regarding changing consumer demands particularly difficult.
The reality of the Economy of Self makes segmenting the market and successfully targeting a specific audience a highly complex endeavor. The dynamic nature of consumer demands means that companies are faced with the challenge of addressing each individual’s demands instead of those of a defined group of people.
Regardless of its complexity, however, market segmentation and positioning is an inseparable part of doing business. The success of this task is dependent on many factors, key among which, is often the level of flexibility and efficiency of a business. This flexibility and efficiency is heavily dependent upon the role of the Compliance Officer.
Compliance for a business takes all kinds of shapes and forms and in fact, affects every aspect of its operations. Some may think about compliance solely in terms of legislature. Recent developments have reminded many that this is indeed important, especially as many states are trying, albeit with great delays, to keep up with the global pandemic and enforce standards on how businesses should operate.
Failure to abide by set standards and directives comes with hefty fines and therefore compliance is now, more than ever, associated with specific monetary values.
However, the role of Compliance Officer extends or should extend way beyond that. What we often suggest to our clients is that they try to view the role of Compliance Officer as a role that directly affects their brands and products.
On paper, offered products may be flawless but in reality their delivery may be lacking. In such cases, it is the role of the Compliance Officer to reconcile the two and minimize the gap between design and delivery.
For example, a Compliance Officer would need to verify that all client facing employees actively try to offer the advertised experience. The Compliance Officer would also need to make sure that clients who take part in the advertised experience act according to the expectations of other clients and so on.
Besides this principal function, which typically involves verifying adherence to standards, the Compliance Officer can also serve as an excellent proxy for the timely identification of shifts in the beliefs, values and expectations of clients. This knowledge, usually gathered from interactions with clients and client facing employees, may need to be factored into the next product iteration and may be a key differentiating factor for a business.
The Compliance Officer is a role that should be present and active in every business regardless of size.
For many companies it makes little sense to have a dedicated Compliance Officer on their payroll. This does not mean, however, that the role remains unfulfilled. Depending on the workload, the role of Compliance Officer could be part of the responsibilities of another senior position or even those of the owner of the business.
In our Economy of Self flexibility and responsiveness can be decisive in a company’s quest for survival. In this reality, there is much to be gained by understanding and empowering the role of the Compliance Officer.
About the author: Stathis Rassias is the Managing Partner and Chief Strategist at Strategy Lens. He spends his days advising companies in the Hospitality and the Food and Beverages industries on how to empower their operations and succesfully navigate their markets. You can reach out to Stathis at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at +30 2614 409 230.