Let me put my content into the right context first! So many people want to start their own business, innovate and achieve a sense of purpose in their life. It’s evident from not only the number of people who want to start a startup but also the big cheque companies which want to behave like a startup.
A bit more than 50 percent of small businesses fail in the first four years and a record 80 companies were born every hour in The UK in 2016.
Performing pattern analysis over the success and the failure of these startups, one would find that it has always been the tactics deployed that lead to success rather than the strategy and religion of entrepreneurship or innovation. In a dynamic changing market of changing user needs and demands, the right tactics and business strategy always win over the religion.
Now, explaining context could be an easy thing to do in content creation, politics and foreign affairs etc but the same cannot be said when it comes to starting your own business and designing products and services that people love.
But what is CONTEXT here?
It’s a critical part of understanding your customer and the market in general. The right context can hugely influence how you build your product or business.
Speaking of content in the right context: this is how an e-commerce company Shopify provides customer experience just after customers log out. In the end of the article, you would also find a process which will help you find the right context and the time to apply it.
There is a hype that content is king and I too believe that content creation is the best way to market a product these days but content put in the wrong context is ineffective and vague. No amount of paid media or promotion can change a bad product or service into a good one. Hence, developing products and services that people love is even more important.
With the ever changing dynamics of the market, no matter the industry, Context has shifted its intent to the creation of meaning, leading to value creation for the customers. Nevertheless, every new product or business brings along a new set of problems and challenges in the lives of the people, creating a never ending vicious circle of customer expectations. Just observe the level of rising expectation of the customers around you as people use more and more of the products and services provided by Google, and AirBnb etc and then try to imagine whether whatever said above makes sense.
At the forefront this never ending vicious circle is the reason for the advent of new products and businesses, however, in the hindsight, it poses a big confusion for new entrepreneurs and big cheque companies in gauging customer demand and finding the right product market fit.
The confusion might creep in right at the starting of designing the product or at the time of the product launch as the dynamics of the market might have moved over to a new set of trends. Of course, there is an Agile way to product development and service creation, but my point here is that many entrepreneurs and even big cheque companies ultimately find that their product has failed.
When it comes to business and strategy the context can be found out by performing SWOT or PESTLE analysis or by more sophisticated models deployed by big consulting firms and taught in Business Schools. Some other forms of context in marketing and advertisements are the Intent context, the situational context and behavioural context. However, using them is not the means to an end.
The above methods lack the power of involving the “human factor” in the equation and thus most of the analysis’ results are almost a fluff. If you remember a dreadful real-life case in the history US aviation, in which the pilot was accused of a flawed decision for landing his damaged plane in the Hudson river as depicted successfully by the movie “SULLY”, is a great example of an accusation based on flawed computer analysis that pressed upon the importance of the “human factor” in all future cases. Tom Hanks, I believe would do a better job than me in explaining you his exact experience.
Well, now what? A great way to find the right context and the human factor is Design Thinking. It is the key to finding the right context and real problems of the customer for your business’s and product’s success. I’m not selling the process just for the sake of it: Design thinking mixed with Agile and Lean Startup principles adds the means to the end; for the success of new products and services it is an important method for finding out the context – or in business context the “outside-in view” of the business. The right jargon: customer centricity.
Consider the example of Apple which has a refresh rate of 18 months for iPhones. You might think that Apple almost lags behind its competitors in terms of technology and innovation. However, they have evolved their business strategy by adapting their thinking along the lines of ecosystem design—which is basically designing and thinking about the integration of each innovation and change on the broader systems for an enriched and smooth customer experience. That must solidify the case for having a context to your solution building and business designing. Putting the context of competitive advantage to the same business strategy must have validated the rationale that Apple wants to make their customer dependent on their services and increase switching costs.
The main context here is what customer problem are you trying to solve but that too is not enough.
Follow these key questions to find and understand the right Context:
- In your particular field of interest, what are the key ideas/thinking the target segment/person has?
- In your particular field of interest, what are the observations/highlights your target segment/person is making?
- Regarding your particular field of interest, how do the target segment/person really feel? What underlying emotions are the drivers of their point of view and behavior?
- What triggers activity in your field of interest? How often? For how long? How much money would be involved?
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