Step out of your communication bubble
Further down in this article we were thinking about using something as allegedly boring as statistics. But we would like to start off with a couple of words on bubbles.
Bubbles have a tendency to grow, float lightly and sooner or later burst. They are beautiful and fascinating to view from the outside. From the inside they can be unbearably boring and incomprehensible.
In worst cases very dangerous.
In the 1630 of the Netherlands tulip bulbs were the subjects of a senseless and extremely destructive speculation bubble. At the end of 1636, beginning of 1637 two loads of wheat, four loads of rye, four sturdy oxen, eight pigs twelve sheep, seventy-nine litres of wine, 425 kilos of cheese, for tons of butters, one bed, a bundle of clothes and a silver cup was paid for one single bulb.
The price increase led to speculations of future harvests. The first futures trading in the history of mankind arose. The buyers turned to sellers that didn’t have any tulips in stock and asked to pay later, perhaps with the money that they had lent with the forward contract as collateral.
People were buying an selling non-existing tulips, for money that weren’t theirs, to prices they couldn’t realize.
Regular, sensible people were drawn in not to miss out on a bargain. It was the first financial bubble of mankind. And as all financial bubbles it burst. In February of 1637 the prices stopped increasing. Everyone started to sell. The panic grew into an avalanche.
Monkeys in contemporary 17th century Dutch dress are shown dealing in tulips. A satirical commentary on speculators during the time of "Tulip Mania". Painted by Brueghel the Younger.
We have all started a new education or job. And in the beginning we have all thought: “I don’t know what these people are saying.” Everything sounds like Greek until one day, a month later or so, it all seems very obvious.
We all live inside a bubble. A tiny bubble consisting of our experiences and our specific knowledge. We can share a bubble with others. Our colleagues, for example.
We work less and less with production and more and more with services. It’s becoming more common to work within a small or medium sized company. The number of people in employment in the group of companies with 1–99 employees has increased since 1993 from 1 million to 1,6 million in Sweden. In the group of 100 employees or more, the number of employees increased from 2,4 millions to 2,7 millions. In terms of percentage the difference is dramatic – 58 per cent to 9 per cent in growth.
We use these statistics to provide a bird’s eye perspective on the fact that finances are segmented and specialized more and more; which is easily exemplified. The large banks are today complemented by relatively newly established niche operators, which specialize in for example credit extension, currency exchange or savings. Technology and innovations, not least within the IT field, create new services. And companies that offer them.
The amount of bubbles is higher. Bubbles that are all from incomprehensible to lethal. The line is thin. Today’s companies offer specialized services and unique products To companies that also offer specialized services and unique products.
And to be so specialized that what you say is incomprehensible, is dangerous.
Because it’s important to understand your oh so specialized customers’ oh so specialized needs. And it is super important to explain to them how your offer will be the answer to those needs.
In the case of the tulip bulbs an entire nation was drawn into a wild speculation frenzy. The bulbs were priced far above what was motivated by the demand. The specialized companies of today are at the same risk. Those who don not constantly cast a glance outwardly, towards the customers’ real and actual needs, risk loosing their foothold quickly.
This is why your communication needs to stay between the points of intersection between your and your customers’ bubbles.
And that is also why you need a partner who’s an expert at this – who can engage your most important clients. And who does it by first and foremost taking an interest in their needs. And who later (obviously) presents them with your offer that will answer their needs.
Welcome to Freya News.
Johan Sundstrand, CEO