Sustainable companies of the future will build loyalty through less not more
And it probably isn’t too far into the future. Patagonia are already starting to build loyalty with it’s ‘Please don’t buy this campaign’ from late last year and I am sure there are many more. But what would it mean for the property industry, for building owners? What are the new models of the property industry?
Well, let’s have a look at what what is behind the trend. From the McKinsey 12 disruptive technologies ‘The Internet of Things‘ and ‘The Cloud‘ are increasing the amount of data, knowledge and connection that brands and companies have to consumers. In a great article from Fast Company the author describes how “We have the technology today to track exactly what we consume, when we consume it and how much it costs – individually and collectively. Branded products and services are increasingly connected, as are the people that use them, so individual brands and the companies behind them can learn how they are being used”.
The Fast Company author hopes that companies will start to do good and not evil, shifting their focus from “increasing penetration and frequency–selling to more people, more often–as ends in themselves, and research consumer attitudes to everything from packaging design and pricing to the position of products on shelves to do it” to “instead of trying to blindly increase penetration and frequency, future brands will help consumers understand how much they consume, and what this means for their health, wealth and happiness”.
The article describes what they see the future of many companies, “supermarkets will deliberately sell us fewer products in smaller packages. Automotive brands will stop selling us cars and start selling us access to mobility services. Financial services brands will help us to spend less money within our means. Soft drinks brands will sell us fewer sparkling beverages. Insurance brands will charge us lower premiums based on our individual behavior, not actuarial tables”.
But what about property, landlords, building owners?
I wrote a while ago about the future influence of ‘Mobile Internet‘, ‘The Internet of Things‘ and ‘The Cloud‘ and how they will change how and where we work. That in the future our preferences, calendars, client locations and traffic speed will determine the optimum location for us to work, that mobile internet will remove the boundaries of our work space, that online presence will remove the need to be in the same office as our collegues. But this requires a very different property industry.
And the ultimate opportunity for property owners lies in how they respond to this. To put it in context the summary question from the Fast Company article was about which company you would trust with determining your choices from your historic preferences and future needs.
The company that I use to determine which desk to sit at for the day, the company who keeps my preferences for work environments, the company who has access to my client database will need to have huge levels of trust.
The company who does this for my company will need to stop selling me in-flexible rental areas, will need to lease me desk space not floor area, will give me buildings that enable sustainable behaviour not just a nabers rating, they will charge me for useage not for unoccupied desks, I don’t need office floor area I need access to office services.