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Video transcript: What can business learn from health and fitness?

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13:38

What can business learn from health and fitness?

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Angellica Bell:

Welcome, now each and every one of us is a consumer, and more than ever organisations are having to understand what we want when and where, in order to compete for our money and grow their business. Increasingly, that means not only providing the products and services we need better, faster, and more creatively, but doing so in a way that meets our expectations around ethics and responsibility. As all businesses target this responsible growth, they may find ideas and inspiration in some unexpected places. Today, we're discussing what business can learn from health and fitness. We'll discuss the power of innovation and the importance of putting the customer, their goals and visions and passions, at the heart of what you do. I'll be discussing these topics with Cat McCusker, PwC UK partner for responsible growth; Darren Hardman, VP and general manager at Amazon Web Services UK and Ireland; and Sammi Adhami, COO and co-founder of FIIT. Well, I'm really excited to talk to you all. I'm going to start with you, Sammi first. We all know that it's obvious that business wants to pursue growth, but now it's all about responsible growth, isn't it?

Sammi Adhami:

For me, it's quite simple definition responsible growth when they apply to FIIT. I think that if you can genuinely say that the more your customers use your product and service, that is better for their daily lives, it is better for their physical and mental health, then that is responsible growth. If all of the product development decisions that you take are to hit our mission statement just to make fitness a habit for everybody, then again that's going to improve people's daily lives, so for me that's responsible growth, and that's what we do at FIIT.

Darren Hardman:

Yeah, responsible growth is growth, but not at all cost, you have to think about the lifecycle of a business and how you operate, make sure that all the stakeholders, great value from the relationships that are built and the transactions that happen.

Cat McCusker:

The whole role of how we're looking to work with customers has fundamentally changed. It's now gone from being about what the stakeholders wanted and the shareholders being the drivers of profit to really starting to think about what is that more meaningful relationship we're looking to have. Especially looking at that, not just across customers as consumers, but also what that means for citizens, students, people in the public sector as well as across the different reach of place and purpose as well. Businesses had to really focus on their purpose and their societal impact, and people are really looking for that in the line of responsible growth, and it's no longer just about profit, it's about that whole ecosystem and how they're going to deliver on that.

Angellica:

But is it tricky then to keep a personalised experience unique, when demands are changing, people want different things and you have to evolve, how do you do that in your business at FIIT?

Sammi:

FIIT is a digital first interactive home-workout solution. The key element in that is the interactive piece. When we first founded the business four and a half years ago, we realised that most gyms and most exercise centres didn't have really relationship with their customer, they would check in, go into their workout, and check out. You just did not know what they were doing in that one hour or in that two hours. The interactive piece with wearables, a third of the UK population and a third of the US population have wearables, whether it's Fitbit, Apple Watches, chest straps, and using that data is absolutely integral to personalising that service.

Darren:

The research does say that consumers are much more willing to give over their data if you're going to give them back a very personalised service. The key there is the ethics of how you hold that data, and actually, it's not the tools and the systems that manage ethics, it's the individuals, the leaders within organisations. So, having a code of conduct around ethical use of the data is just really important to give the confidence to consumers and actually that builds loyalty.

Angellica:

Do you think business has really had to sit up and think about this?

Cat:

Absolutely, we're all very aware of the cookie apocalypse that's coming, when we're already seeing and experienced it with a lot of our apps in our phone, when they're asking you, would you like to be tracked or not tracked, and given that permission. Just a few things building of what's just been said was, how you use data is really important. It's not about what you do with it, it's why you're doing it. Historically, we use data just to push and push more from a consumption perspective. Now, linked to a lot of the learnings we've had over health and fitness, we saw in the last five years that over 59% of people have embarked on some form of healthy lifestyle, be that diet; 29% of that was from March 2020. This is how people are able to consume things through multiple different barriers and data, and the data also needs to be thought about in regard to GDPR. Even within GDPR, you can do some fantastic insights and analytics around data, but also thinking about that from a societal perspective, those from disadvantaged backgrounds, those who may not have access to the superfast broadband in regard to consuming some of the great technologies that are out there, but also looking at the disparity and the levelling up agenda, how the data and insights are being used to affect those citizens and customers as well.

Angellica:

Well with this huge focus on the customer, have we put the consumer in a position of power, are they in control, are they dictating how things are moving forward?

Darren:

Yeah, I think so, the consumer has been in control for a long time. If you go back 20 years, you look at the fortune 500 top companies, only half of those actually exists, and it's because they failed to respond to the customer faster. They failed to reinvent their services or their offering, and other disruptors have come in and taken their place. It's the core of what we do at AWS every day, is very much focused on the customer obsessing about their needs, listening to them, making sure we can look around corners, so we can predict what they might want for the future.

Angellica:

How does this fit in with health and fitness for you, Sammi?

Sammi:

Again, it comes down to the mission of what you're trying to achieve. Most people, they want to improve their bodies they want to improve their minds, and it's really hard. There are lots and lots of quick fixes out there, and we've all seen it six week abs, eight week abs, two week abs, drink this tea, you're going to feel great. The reality is that they're lies essentially. You're trying to get someone to buy a product once, then buy again. We all know that fitness takes time, it takes commitment and it's hard. FIIT, we're trying to solve a problem, which is to make it easier for people. We're trying to make people build healthy habits, and we're trying to make fitness part of their lifestyle. To do that you've got to be truthful, you've got to take people on that journey, you can't just say, ‘look, you're going to get there in six weeks.’

Cat:

There are six key levers that at any time the businesses need to be pulling on, and they go from experience, to marketing, to sales, to the service you provide, pricing, of course will be there, and innovation. It's really understanding that at any one time, which levers to use in an organisation, be that some of the stuff that Sammi was saying, with FIIT, do you need to pull on different elements of those, to that being with how we're looking at things in healthcare, with what the analytics tell us, but actually what does that person need for an experience to be really life changing for them, and how we help put them on that journey.

Sammi:

Customer expectations are continuing to increase day in day out. The expectations of you scrolling, you look at something for three seconds, and when you first ordered an Uber, probably you're happy to wait 10 minutes and now you probably two. Customer expectations are growing, the digitisation of services is growing, sustainability and ethics, this is growing. Customers expect more from the companies that they engage with all the time, that's moving at huge pace. As business we need to innovate, we need to look at trends. It's also, we can't just say, this is what we're doing today, that's going to be enough, we have to constantly improve, we have to constantly learn, we have to constantly communicate. We talked about data quite a bit, but the communication with customers and the actual conversations, whether that's via social media, through your customer execs team, or inviting customers in and communicating with your business, these are integral to building long term sustainable businesses.

Angellica:

But do you think the pandemic has accelerated these trends?

Cat:

Absolutely, organisations have been historically quite inward looking, and they felt the customers were privileged to get to engage with them with certain brands from the luxury brands, right down to what we've seen with some of the fast fashion retailers. People are very much more ethically and socially aware of what they want.

Darren:

The pandemic has no question, accelerated the digital transformation across every industry and applied to every conceivable use case. It's been really apparent from the industry that I am in and the customers that I'm supporting. In fact, we didn't want to just take the anecdotal. We surveyed 10,000 of our C-level customers over the last six months. We found that actually the digital transformation has been accelerated by about two years and five months on average, which is astounding. You see it, because customers, consumers, end users, their demand has change dramatically overnight with the pandemic. Organisations had to pivot quickly to release new services, or to change and evolve the services they had. Now obviously from a cloud perspective, with the flexibility, the agility, the scale up and scale down capacity that the cloud technology gives you, we saw that with our customers who had invested in the cloud, they were able to do that quickly.

Sammi:

Yeah someone said, adapt, innovate, or die, in a sense its really, people were literally overnight were thrust into this, okay, what are we going to do. Everyone's expecting us to be available in their homes tomorrow. We identified that trend in 2017. The pandemic has basically accelerated at such lightning pace what customers expect, but also it has brought forward the inevitable. It just brought forward the fact that you can work out at home and you can get a great experience. We were one of the early ones in that. Then all of the other gyms and services that are willing to do this as well, and customers went, ‘actually this is all right.’ That was one of the big things as well. The quality of the service that you can get in your home, or on your phone was way better than most people expected. That's really a big shift for me is that, the quality of the service wakes you to people's expectations, then again it has created long-term customers.

Darren:

It's no question, in FIIT, you've helped disrupt an industry, and we've seen this whole plethora of new digital disruptors enter the market and put pressure on legacy providers. There's been a lot of reasons for that. Consumers have just demanded something different, a pandemic has come, that has created and often forced a new set of demands, but a lot of them actually long-term demands they've just been coming, and appearing, and putting pressure on the traditional models. Why we see a lot of these new digital disruptors appearing, is because the cloud, it's an amazingly low barrier to entry. If you want to stand up a new service and have access to all this data, all this technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, historically, you would need to buy a data centre, buy a whole team of people, put millions of pounds worth of infrastructure and software in there, now you can turn it on. With the cloud you can experiment, you can fail fast if one particular customer offer isn't working, you fail fast, you come out, it costs little. You spin up a new idea, and that's why reinvention and innovation is really important, because it's the digital disruptors like FIIT, that are bringing that innovation to the market and putting pressure on other business models.

Cat:

It's actually driven the conversation that have reasons we cannot change, in so many industries, and particularly, a lot of work I do in public sector across education and local authorities, and central government, reasons why we can't, suddenly became within 48 hours we had to. It almost took the conversation two years ahead of itself and now we've gone from hybrid to hyflex working, and how that's going to work, and how we're going to be moving forward. Again, that whole role of ensuring that the customer is at the centre, that's going to be really key.

Darren:

That really resonates, I've seen this new confident set of enterprises that prove to themselves, they can be agile, they can be flexible, they can create, innovate, experiment, and push out new services to their customers, to their users in a way that I don't think they ever imagined they could, and that's one of the positives that we've seen come out of this pandemic.

Angellica:

Darren, Cat, Sammi, thank you so much. This has been a brilliant discussion, and I'd like to thank our guests for sharing so many fantastic insights and ideas. If you found this interesting, please do also watch the other episodes in this series, exploring how business challenges are better solved together.

 

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Caitroina McCusker

Caitroina McCusker

Regional Market Leader, Northern Ireland, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7764 331623

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