Forum 2019 | Innovate with purpose

Shad Foos | Mar 19, 2019 Shad Foos 03/19/19

In today’s dynamic marketplace, innovation is paramount to your brand’s success. One can’t simply run on autopilot and believe what works today will hold up tomorrow. But it’s not just a matter of changing for the sake of change—to remain relevant and gain competitive ground, your brand must evolve.

Earlier this month, we spent two days with a hundred leading brands, digging deep into that concept. How can we establish a new vision—one that will inspire change and drive action? We uncovered some interesting answers. Here are a few:

Put your employees first

CX innovators from Chick-fil-A, Heinen’s, and Nothing Bundt Cakes emphasized the importance of creating engaged and satisfied employees. Taking care of your team is the best way to enhance the customer experience.

For the grocery chain Heinen’s, that means promoting a one-team approach within the company. They are big proponents of demonstrating equal importance with all roles within the organization—from the leadership team to front-line associates. By leveling the playing field, Heinen’s has created a unified team, motivated to provide customers with a positive experience.


It’s a similar philosophy for Chick-fil-A. By granting employees scholarships, providing career development, and being closed on Sundays, the QSR chain goes above and beyond to ensure employees are rewarded and taken care of. They’ve found that this extra appreciation drives employees to value and appreciate customers, and it’s one of the reasons they have a very loyal following.

Be optimally distinct

It’s easy for brands to want to be “the next big thing.” But keynote speaker + human behaviorist Jonah Berger had some words of warning. He encouraged brands to find ways to be different, but not wildly different. Why? Because customers like what is familiar to them and are often uncomfortable with big change. Remember Google Glass? It wasn’t quite the hit Google had in mind. Though an innovative concept, the product was just too outside the box for most consumers.


When brands launch new products, it often takes the second or third round for them to really take off. It takes customers a while to get warmed up. Exposure leads to liking, so the more they are around something new, the more they will grow fond of it. Ease into change and give customers a chance to adjust.

Inspire smart changes

SMG CEO Andy Fromm and Chief Product + Technology Officer Dennis Ehrich challenged brands to not just strive for innovation—but to inspire smart changes. Times and conditions change so rapidly that you must keep asking yourself “What’s next?”

That vision is at the heart of SMG’s product and technology roadmap. From the new multi-source text analytics comment report to big developments in case management and social response, 2019 is already shaping up to be a big year. Combined with our best-in-class professional services, these platform and product enhancements will make it faster and easier to uncover and act on insights—helping you deliver bigger and better outcomes.

What will you change in 2019?

Customer wants and needs change fast—like every day fast. Your competitive set is innovating and changing, too. Are you keeping pace with the change it takes to win?

Change can sound hard. But that’s only if you try to go it alone, or if you defer decisions and investments to the point that that the gap (between where you are and where you need to be) seems too wide to close.

A better plan is to stay on top of the meaningful, but manageable changes you have the power to control now. Right now. Changes that improve performance and drive positive outcomes across your enterprise.

SMG is a catalyst for change; combining technology and professional services to deliver actionable customer and employee insights that produce measurable results, boost loyalty, and improve business performance.

We challenge the status quo every day. We push you and we push ourselves. Because we know doing the same will get you the same. But making small changes can make a big difference.

Shad Foos | Chief Marketing Officer
Customer Experience Update