Bill Gates is credited with having said that “we often overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One of the biggest mistakes any of us can make when disruption comes along and before we outrightly see it, is to underestimate the changes that will take place in our businesses. Due to the changes occurring in every aspect of our organisation; such as our clientele, the workforce, logistics, various functions as well as policies and procedures, the shift is often far deeper than most of us can perceive at any given time.

This can be immensely daunting, noting that various aspects of the organisation, spanning as deep as its very business model, may need to be uprooted.

On the other hand, taking inventory of these changes creates a firm foundation on which to begin taking advantage of opportunities for ‘new ways of doing business’.
What we focus on is a choice that we make and once we make that choice, we can begin to fuel the choice to fruition. So choose to see the opportunity once you’ve accepted the key ways your business will and has changed.

The change I want to address here is possibly the most obvious, but maybe less obvious is how incremental this shift is to our operations.

Consumers everywhere will never be the same. The consumer profile has been disrupted in such a way, that businesses have no choice but to understand who their ‘new’ customer/client is, as well as try to predict what the profile of the ‘future’ customer/client may demand of them.

Let’s start by assessing the different experiences and insights your consumer (as you knew them) has been exposed to in the duration of the Covid disruption.
Think about the experiences they’ve had, which have the potential to influence how they respond to you, your product/service as well as every other part of the marketplace.

1. World Perceptions – When a global disruption of the magnitude of Covid-19 hits, our views of the world, along with our values can take a big knock.

Do your clients still hold the same world views? This includes what they believe about interacting with other consumers and offerings in the form of services or products.

Values are a big part of this segment – Have their values changed in any way? Do they now value certain ideas, people or places more than others?

2. Spending Habits – The changes in the global and local economies will have an immense impact on what consumers may be prepared to throw money at.

Does your client or customer spend the way they used to? How, When, Why and Where do they now prefer to spend? 

Here’s a suggestion for the final part of understanding your new client: Refining Your ‘avatar’.

Your avatar would be the profile of your ‘ideal’ client as they currently stand, if you have one – it’s time to refine it.

An avatar differs from other marketing related personas, in that it looks at just one person and all the details about this one ideal person that speak to your brand. Due to its explicit nature, avatars help marketers to better understand the client/customer.

Here’s an example: I host the Future-Fit Fridays podcast, and our avatar is ‘Siyabonga’.

Siyabonga is an entrepreneur (aged between 30 and 45) who also has a day job. He listens to the podcast in his car on the way to and from work, at the gym and even on his power run in the mornings.

He has intense ambition to build his small business into a company that will disrupt the manufacturing industry and he relishes opportunities to hear from experts from different industries on how the future of work is playing itself out.
He not only consumes such content for his own business, but for the work he does within the company he works for.

He understands that ‘up-skilling’ and ‘future-skilling’ are key to staying relevant in the workplace and workforce. Siyabonga is also an avid reader and consumes around 3 books a month, on topics such as Self Mastery, Change Management and Business or Entrepreneurship.
Being a future-focused leader, his bi-weekly dose of Future-Fit Fridays fits perfectly into his vision for himself and his business.

Now, although the podcast has attracted a range of listeners, this is the ideal consumer. As shifts occur, we are able to consistently come back to how the avatar’s preferences have changed as a result of how he/she now sees the world. We can also track our avatar’s upcoming shifts and work out a future client profile, so that we can consistently appeal to them as their needs change.

Avatars are (only one out of many) a fantastic tool, but I advise that they also not limit you from exploring opportunities to venture and experiment into understanding your new customer/client.

Understanding the client in a ‘with-Covid’ and ‘post-Covid’ world will easily differentiate a business that thrives and sustains from one that gets used as a case study about the destructive nature of disruption.

As organisations, we are better equipped to respond when we understand who we are responding to now and will be responding to in the future




  • Future-Fit Fridays Podcast:   


About the author of today’s Tuesday Tip – Zanele Njapha

In the face of disruptive change, Zanele assists organisations to navigate various transitions and become future-fit by cracking the unlearning code. 

She does this by facilitating the understanding that learning, unlearning and relearning must be the crux and heart of an organisation’s DNA if they are serious about sustained relevance in a shifting climate.

Email [email protected] for more information or to contact Zanele.

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