articles | 15 January 2019 | EY Cyprus

EY: Consumer-facing companies risk irrelevance due to a lack of bold transformation plans

Consumer-facing companies must change how they are transforming their businesses and take bold steps in order to remain relevant to the data and technology-enabled smart consumer, according to EY FutureConsumer.Now research that identified five business imperatives for consumer-facing companies to act on now.

  • Companies need to focus on building their strategy for the future instead of protecting their legacy
  • Consumers expect highly personalized, real-time experiences
The imperatives are a result of qualitative research work with more than 200 business leaders, futurists and professionals from a variety of different industries for over a year to create a 360-degree view of what the future consumer could look like, and what this will mean for companies today.

Stemming from the research, EY offers the following recommendations for consumer-facing companies to address the five business imperatives:

  1. Challenge every assumption: Agile market entrants are using technology and new routes to market to challenge incumbent business models, yet most companies are trying to protect legacy businesses by leveraging scale and chasing incremental improvements. Companies will need to address three requirements: maximize the declining benefits of existing business models to fund transformation; build on current capabilities in ways that drive new business models and create new capabilities that enable a pivot into new opportunities.
  2. Choose your tribe: Companies that take leadership on the values and concerns of the stakeholders that matter most to their business, their tribe, will gain competitive advantage. By differentiating on their purpose and embedding it across every facet of their organization, business stand to form deep, lasting, and profitable connections with consumers, talent and other stakeholders.
  3. Win every micro-moment: Technology-empowered consumers will increasingly purchase goods, services and experiences in “micro-moments,” without a preference for a platform they use. Companies will need to customize and adapt what products they offer, at what price and when they offer them as consumers make purchasing decisions in split seconds, regardless of brand.
  4. Deliver measurable outcomes: As technology provides the consumer with more insight on purchases than ever before, generalized brand promises will become redundant as consumers demand more measurable, personalized outcomes that go beyond the key benefits of the product or service. The smart consumers of the future will have total transparency about the quantifiable consequence of every purchase and consumption choice they make. Companies can show the transparent, positive impact of their product or service in order to better appeal to their target consumers.
  5. Master the ecosystem: As new technologies and business models disrupt established value chains, successful consumer-facing companies will seize new opportunities based on where and how they can add value. Companies need to identify the consumer-centric ecosystem they want to create and decide where in this ecosystem they want to play.
Referring to the conclusions and proposals of the report, Charalambos Constantinou, Partner and Head of Advisory Services of EY Cyprus, commented: "Consumer-facing companies are today faced with a major challenge: the ever-changing expectations and needs of their customers. In order to remain relevant and useful, they will have to challenge and revise the mindset that helped them grow in the past and build a new business model that will allow them to foresee, comprehend and respond in real time to their consumers’ wishes."

To learn more about EY and FutureConsumer.Now, visit

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