As tech disrupts customer trust, CEOs see little innovation

A new PwC survey suggests Canadian firms aren't investing where they should.
Innovation Whiteboard

A recent global CEO survey suggests Canadian executives may not be investing enough to maintain market share heading into what may be a turbulent business year.

PwC’s annual CEO survey suggests 2017 will bring uncertainty as many believe technological change will continue to alter the relationship between brands and their customer bases.

The firm reports that 89% of CEOs polled globally believe technology will completely change competition in their markets over the next five years. Forty-six percent of Canadian CEOs polled say fast-changing technology makes it “harder to gain and keep people’s trust in this new environment,” according to a release from PwC.

However, only 10% of Canadian CEOs said their companies are prioritizing innovation, versus 23% globally. Another 54% of Canadian business leaders “don’t see the speed of technological change as a big threat to their growth prospects,” PwC said.

Cameron Wykes is a former chief experience officer at PwC, the founder of digital agencies BabyRobot and Push, and has worked with global brands in leadership roles at agencies such as KBS and CP+B. “The common issue is that [companies] haven’t dedicated themselves to innovation, and thus they find themselves in a perpetual loop of self pondering with no tangible movement forward,” he says.

Wykes says established companies rarely know how to hire for or measure efforts to innovate their business models or product offerings. Without that kind of planning, “they find it difficult to get buy-in on funding or simply do not know how to accurately invest against their innovation efforts. This is a very real and dangerous position for businesses who see start-ups addressing age-old consumer challenges and quickly eating the stalwarts’ market share.

“It still seems easier for companies to measure real losses after the fact versus envisioning potential gains through investment in innovation much earlier on.”

When asked what role marketers can play in driving innovation within their companies, Wykes says marketing investment should focus on customer experience. “It will outweigh both product and price point in the next few years, and if you don’t have a truly sound and holistic CX across all touchpoints, your product or service will fall out of favour and out of the collective conscience.”

Bob Moritz, global chairman of PwC, said in a release that “public discontent has the potential to erode trust, which is needed for long-term sustainable performance. The real challenge here… [is] about the need for CEOs to have a deeper, two-way relationship with stakeholders, customers, employees, and the public.”

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