“Hello! I am your customer!”

“Yes, a real person, a human being.

I have my needs and wants, to get through the day, and to achieve what I must. But I also have my hopes, dreams and ambitions. For too long you have treated me as a name or number. You group me into segments, or sometimes just a mass of average people. But I’m not prepared to tolerate that anymore …”

The new customer agenda

In seeking to understand the longer-term agenda for customers, we need combine our insight into customer priorities and aspirations of today with the broader “megatrend” drivers of the external world.

In my new book Business Recoded, I define 8 meta priorities for customers emerge, likely to drive customer attitudes and behaviours through the decade to 2030:

  • My Access:Smartphones and their derivatives, will be my access points to both physical and digital worlds, enhanced by collaboration, intelligence and augmentation. Gamification is really a shorthand for more intuitive, immersive and inspiring forms of access, as physical and digital experiences combine. I will seek easy, relevant and trusted brands as gateways to my preferred worlds.
  • My Identity: I define myself how I choose, often rejecting conventional labels. Social media has democratised my ability to express myself. As a blogger or an influencer, amateur rock band or self-publishing author, anyone can build their own brand, often with more authenticity and empathy than glossy stars. Brands are platforms to help people share passions as new tribes, and do more together.
  • My Wellbeing: I embrace physical and mental wellness with a more personal and holistic approach that combines what is good for my health, my fitness and my future. More authentic, more natural, and more local solutions will become increasingly important. Brands, particularly in the areas of healthcare, nutrition and sport will become my new wellbeing partners.
  • My Community: Instead of defining ourselves by locality or nationality, occupations or socio-demographics, people will choose which the communities they seek to belong to and defined by, which they contribute to and care about. Digital lifestyles, geographic migration, and urbanisation will drive this. Social status will less about wealth more about quality of life. Brands will align with these communities.
  • My Responsibility: I care, and seek to do more, for “myself, my community and my world”. As social and environmental issues become more tangible, reducing materialism, waste and resource use will be key environmentally. Socially, I will seek to support the most vulnerable people in local communities, and others globally. I seek brands and other platforms that can amplify my desire to contribute more.
  • My Portfolio: I will build a portfolio lifestyle, around both my personal interests and professional activities. As lifelong careers give way to more fluid and freelance work, I will develop a portfolio of experiences and skills, alongside more personal hobbies and activities. My networks, socially and professionally, will be key to unlocking my portfolio through collaborative work and community life.
  • My Rights: I have the power to express my views, to actively stand up for what is fair, responsible and legal. I seek respect, to be protected, but also I have a poweful voice. Personal data and privacy are at the core of this, although I also recognise that this requires balance – to achieve more, I need to share more. I will respect and support brands and organisations who stand up for me and my principles.
  • My Value: My personal success is still measured in economic terms, with some symbols of materialism and self-gratification. While sufficient incomes matter to achieve a sustainable lifestyle, my value in society is more quantified by contribution, through creativity and collaboration. I respect others who do more for our world, from small acts of kindness to ways to accelerate our progress.

Customer attitudes and influences

The tectonic shifts in markets, globally connected and digitally enabled, are creating a rapid change in attitudes, and the strategies of brands. Economic downturn was the crying pain of a changing world, the rise of new metropolises of affluence, and the fall of geographical boundaries and socio-economic stereotypes.

Customers have become more different – less about rich and poor, more about young and age, experiences and attitudes. Whilst wealth is consolidated amongst the longer-living boomers, Generation Y and Generation Z (aka millennials) have very different aspirations and priorities. Time matters more, materialism matters less. Add happiness, authenticity, friendship, even mindfulness too. We are more emotional, more human, more collaborative.

Yet there is no longer a mass market of average people, instead many niches, connected and influenced and more similar within their niches across the world than to others within the old geographical boundaries.

We should also be careful not to assume that millennials are the only digital consumers. Like any categorisation, there will be those engaged digitally and others less so.

Building a customer-centric business

Building a business around customers seems obvious, yet the shift from product-centric to customer-centric is rarely easy.

Most companies still think, organize and operate around products – they define themselves by their products and categories, organized around product-centric profit centres, focused on selling products, and (what they make, to be the best in the category), focused on selling and delivering products, measuring success by the volume of products sold.

Peter Fisk helps you build a customer-centric business with more inspired purpose, about how it makes people’s lives better. It focuses on the customer’s world (be it a business client seeking to grow, or a consumer seeking to enjoy life). It organizes around the customer experience, one that brings together products and services to solve real problems, and enables people to achieve more. The perceived value of this is much greater, which leads to far great profit potential, as well as ongoing revenues and advocacy.


Examples of recent clients include

  • Apotex: Building a customer-centric culture based around the concept of turning clients into “raving fans” by doing more for them, helping them to win in their businesses.
  • RBS: How to create a new bank, Wlliams & Glynn, around customers. Specifying the blueprint for the retail banking concept, that seeks to stand out for its different approach.
  • Santander: Building the world’s most customer-centric bank, working with top 350 managers worldwide, to explore and embed the essentials of customer centricity.
  • SDL: How to innovate a win-win customer experience – about the customer, and then about the business – and harnessing the power of marketing analytics, digital media and automation.
  • Teliasonera: “Customer insights, propositions and experience” design for each key audience in each market of Central and Eastern Europe.

Explore more about customers