Zero-X is original research about trust (2/3)

Zero-X is original research about trust (2/3)

As I mentioned in previous posts, we periodically conduct original research with business leaders, industry stakeholders, and customers to predict how people and brands will interact in the future. Eighteen months ago, we launched Ten-X which answers the question of how to increase by a factor of ten the number of interactions between brands and customers. Now, as we take the pulse of the moment, the consumer zeitgeist has shifted dramatically. Rather than focus on frequency, we hear the need for trust. Customers no longer give brands blanket permission to bombard them; they provide provisional permission, only in certain circumstances to help them and then ask brands to “get out of the way”. This principle that trust is fluid was a highlight of our 2017 research. Last week, we talked about Zero Friction and Zero Mass, our revisions on experience. This week and next, we talk about how brands need to change to retain trust.


Zero Boundaries as illustrated by Google Maps’ API platform

Not far in the future, customers will expect companies to come to them, and not the other way around. For example, customers will want to use WeChat to buy fashion items, or furniture. Companies therefore must be able to provide value through intermediaries, such as WeChat, to reach their customers. Providing a seamless interface for third parties will be a key differentiator as PX (“partner experience”) becomes the new CX.

Google Maps is one example of a company making its products available entirely through APIs for their partners to use. It takes one line of code to embed Google Maps into a website or app. As a result, many of the world most iconic location-based services leverage Google Maps, including AirBnB, Uber, Yelp and TripAdvisor, thereby exponentially increasing the number of users to the product. The underlying value is not only the feature offered to the customer, but also the high PX that comes with ease of integration.

62% of American executives already believe ecosystem participation allows businesses to innovate. And companies that are acting to build ecosystems are winning: Chinese insurer Zhong An receives approximately 90% of its premiums from partner platforms, and Expedia generates about 90% of its revenues through APIs. In total, revenues from ecosystems will reach $60 trillion by 2025.

In short, companies that don’t provide high PX, will struggle to get into the platform ecosystems where customers will access them.



Zero Waste as illustrated by Have Halal, Will Travel

Not far from now, companies must offer services that are sustainable, transparent and fair. This goes beyond taking broader social and environmental factors into consideration. It means that business engages customers in non-zero-sum collaborations.

New startups are emerging to help customers navigate their personal lifestyle choices. Another trend sees the need for greater transparency around provenance and supply chains. We’ve chosen an example which sits at the intersection, a Malaysian company called Have Halal, Will Travel. From their website, here’s their creation myth story:

It all started out when we were on an exchange programme in Seoul where there weren’t as many halal food options available then. Who wants to have seafood or vegetables every day for months on end right? That’s when we realized that there was a need for a consolidated space where Muslim travellers (and their friends!) would be able to seek out information about what to see and do, especially in countries where halal food is hard to find. And tada, that’s how Have Halal, Will Travel was born!


We believe services like these will succeed with future customers. 73% of customer are willing to pay more for a product that offers complete transparency and 94% of customers are more likely to be loyal to a brand that offers transparency. Business leaders are finally catching on. 53% of executives say that company performance on sustainability is at least somewhat important to attracting and retaining employees and 33% believe that addressing sustainability is driven by improving operational efficiency and lowering costs.

Conversely, companies that take advantage of customers or obfuscate will lose trust, as happened to Facebook after Cambridge Analytica event, where trust dropped 66%.

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