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Listen First!: Turning Social Media Conversations into Business Advantage by Stephen D. Rappaport

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Chapter 10

Sense Change to Compete in the Present

Institute for the Future forecaster Bob Johansen characterizes today's business environment as a “VUCA” world, one marked by volatility, uncertainty, chaos, and ambiguity. Few, if any, of us would argue this point. According to Johansen, the key to succeeding requires that we [sense] “the future to compete in the present,” a theme that runs throughout this book and gives us part of this chapter's title. Businesses that are able to sense and compete can “turn the VUCA world around with a combination of vision, understanding, clarity, and agility” (Johansen 2007).

Listening's near-real-time conversation harvesting and analysis provides companies with exceptional sensing capabilities. Listening is about today and tomorrow, not yesterday and the past. This chapter details the ways in which companies anticipate or quickly detect change among consumers by listening and then responding in ways valued by their customers and prospects. Skillful and adroit execution enables companies to build and grow while staying tuned into a changing, challenging environment.

Winning Plays to Sense Change and Compete in the Present

From the cases we reviewed for this chapter, we distilled four winning plays:

  • Listen for the pivotal insight that can serve as a platform for growth over time. Develop and exploit the insights that are capable of transforming your business. Old Spice Body Wash, for example, reversed share losses and built a new path for itself ...

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