World of Customer Networks: 5 Strategies for Business Growth

With over a billion Internet users and two decades of World Wide Web, we can recognize clearly the five behaviors of networked customers. There are: connecting, accessing, customizing, collaborating, and engaging. Once businesses understand and make use of these behaviors, they can follow the five strategies that will help them create business models, products and services with great values and succeed in a networked future.

Here are the five strategies:

Strategy 1: Connect. – Consumers are share ideas and opinions all the time through social media where one can pick an insight or two for brand acuity. Popular forums like Facebook or Twitter can help businesses can join to reach their consumers. Businesses can create their own as well, where they will also be able to get consumers to exclusively join to share their ideas, vote and express their opinions. One example is the online community The Ford Fiesta Movement. Here, car enthusiasts and fans get to sign up to try out a new car, and at the same time it created huge brand awareness even before it was even launched.

Strategy 2: Access. – Offer mobile location and on demand experiences. Customers want to be connected all the time to access digital data, content or even just to interact. Customers not only want to access, they want it fast, easy and they want it now. When a business offers something with everything in it (fast and easy) they create authentic value for their customers. Nike+ is a good example for this. They linked a runner’s shoes with their computers. In this way they only not keep track of the data but also share it in web through the largest running community.

Strategy 3: Customize. – Networked customers are not into conformity or anything they can blend it. They want to stand out especially in the digital world. Equipping them with tools that can customize services, contents, and products that would suit them, businesses creates value for consumers and makes them incomparable with their competition. Two Charities have prospered by using this strategy and these are DonorsChoose and Kiva. Donors are able to select people and projects they want to fund in their own specification.

Strategy 4: Collaborating. – Creating a platform where networked customers can interact and join in to build the business. This would allow huge room for motivation, imagination and creativity to pour into the business from the consumers. iPhone and iPad wasn’t built by one creator, it was built by over 50,000 amateur and professional developers from round the world.

Strategy 5: Engage. – The web is flooding with so much data and information that consumers barely take in what they see. To stay on top of the game, create something that consumers will actually want to read and consume. Businesses should focus on how they can broaden their impact to consumers or when to narrow it down. A business can earn by creating informative content, answers query and even contents that can entertain. Like IBM’s Innov8, a videogame to help sell their software and became their best marketing tool.

These five strategies will be of use to any business, whether you sell bags, shoes, or software. One has to think innovatively and creatively to reach what we call the networked customers.

How to Improve the Quality of Photocopies and Prints With the Right Paper

The first issue to consider is the paper thickness, which is usually expressed in g/m2, and increases in thickness from 80 g/m2 up to 160 g/m2 or even 200 g/m2. The higher the number the heavier the paper is and most printer/copier manuals will give a guide to what type of paper to use for the purpose.

The lowest grade of 80 g/m2 is the standard and most widely used for ordinary, everyday office copying and printing, such as faxes, drafts, emails and in high-speed copiers.

However, for some documents, especially if they are going out to clients or customers, a higher grade of paper of 100 plus would be better especially for proposals, presentations and for double-sided printing to prevent type on one side showing through.

Higher grades of paper like 160 g/m2 should be used for signs and flyers, professional presentations and heavy-coverage documents.

Any of these thicknesses can be used in an ordinary office printer/copier.

The impression of quality is partly about perception and psychology. A heavier, slightly stiffer paper feels somehow more impressive. However, there are other factors that should be considered.

The brightness of a paper can also have an effect on the quality of the image produced. The whiter and brighter the paper is, the sharper, more vivid and crisp the letters, images and colours appear.

There is a third factor relating to paper quality that can have an impact on the look of the final document and this is whether the paper is laminated, also known as coated. This does not necessarily mean a glossy surface. Laminates can be either matt or silk finish also.

The value of a laminated surface is that it keeps ink from spreading before it dries on the paper. Again this gives a crisper, sharper print and can be especially important if the document contains images that include fine detail or are in colour.

Somehow a heavier, slightly stiffer paper feels more impressive. The one remaining issue to consider when choosing a paper for printing is whether it is going to be used for documents that will need to be archived for a substantial length of time, something that is often a legal requirement in professions like the accountancy, legal and health and care sectors.

The quality of and production methods used for recycled paper have improved steadily since the early days of recycled paper, which was often slightly greyish and was held to be more prone to paper jams in printers. Nowadays the efficiency of the way it is produced and the use of bleaches mean it is possible to produce much better quality, white recycled paper.

If the environment is a major concern to a company, another option is to look for the FSC logo on the pack – it represents the Forest Stewardship Council, a non profit organization that promotes the responsible management of the world’s forests. FSC sets very high standards that ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable way.

The one remaining consideration when choosing a paper for printing is whether it is going to be used for documents that will need to be archived for a substantial length of time, something that is often a legal requirement in professions like the accountancy, legal and health and care sectors. In this case it is better to choose a paper that is acid free, which prevents documents from yellowing over time.