Jay Shetty’s ‘Connected Thinker’ and What It Means for e-Commerce
I recently attended a summit held by Bazaarvoice where Jay Shetty, “an internet personality, storyteller, podcast host, purpose coach and former monk”, was a keynote speaker. I wasn’t aware of who he was, that he possessed many followers on social media nor that he makes podcasts with the likes of Oprah. What I did know was here is a former monk speaking about e-commerce and connecting to consumers, but why? At first glance, all I could ask myself was “what could meditation and mindfulness provide to the growth of an online business and what does connected thinking have to do with e-commerce?”
So what is a ‘Connected Thinker’?
For Shetty, the path forward in e-commerce is simple. It is through connected thinking, which leads to “authentic conversations and communities that eventually build amazing commerce”. Connected thinkers are people who “find patterns where others see anomalies” and brands that can harness this awareness can take control of how their consumers perceive them. This means adopting new ways of working and thinking based on four mindsets: Community, Coach, Childlike, and Coder.
Connected thinkers are people who “find patterns where others see anomalies” and brands that can harness this awareness can take control of how their consumers perceive them.
Here we take a deeper look at how each mindset can turn you and your business into connected thinkers and some ways to apply each mindset to your e-commerce business strategy for greater conversations and building a stronger community with your consumers.
Think about your communities and how you work with your colleagues, your associations, and friends. Shetty asks us to assess the communities we occupy, and whether they are an entire ecosystem of like-minded individuals, or a diverse group of stand-alone individuals, each with their unique perspectives. This matters because it’s the latter of these, he reveals, that can make for greater creativity in our work. Seeking out diverse opinions, insights, and feedback (new and old) from these types of associations and references offer a greater opportunity to innovate and think outside of the box.
So, how can you encourage and adopt this mindset to your e-commerce business strategy? Shetty recommends bringing the outside in. As an exercise, invite an outsider from the business into your next team meeting/content discussion. Conduct your business as usual and include time for your guest to offer their insights or feedback on your product/message. You may be surprised by what innovations can emerge when seeking their input. Merging their findings may highlight or present solutions to unknown issues. This is where connectivity and association drive innovation.
Coach Thinking is about leading someone without a position. This means that anyone can perform this role regardless of title or status, and it’s about understanding someone’s language above all. For Shetty, before you can reach this level of understanding you first need to identify which of the four types your colleagues or consumers fall within. These types are distinct combinations based on two personality scales: Outgoing versus Reserved, and People-oriented versus Task-oriented.
The Outgoing, Task-oriented person. This individual is a driver within a business or community. They understand their language and not yours, but they are driven to succeed and never shy to speak. These individuals get things done efficiently and can be loud yet effective.
The Outgoing, People-oriented person. This person is an authentic influencer who loves talking and connecting with people. They also tend to be inspirational and quite captivating.
The Reserved, Task-oriented person. This type of person is truly detail-oriented. They may be reserved in a group, opting to have more one-on-one conversations, yet focus on quality and accuracy.
The Reserved, People-oriented person. Of all the types, this is the person who possesses a high emotional intelligence. They are stable, good listeners, and provide softer support than the others. A genuine shoulder to cry on.
So why do these four types of people matter for e-commerce? Understanding them can help with launching a new product/addressing an existing problem, increase communication, and support better working relationships. They also help to understand core consumer segments and how best to approach their interests and needs for campaign language and marketing strategies.
Think like a coach
When you can understand your team or consumers based on their personality type, you can respond more effectively to their needs. Coach thinking enables you to cater or shift your communication style to ‘speak’ in another’s language. Especially when you may not have the same type of personality or consumer profile, this type of coaching is more about understanding someone’s manner of interpretation and adapting your business’ style to seek out the best results. Try mapping this out among your immediate work team and sharing the results for effective interactions, which can create synergies while you work. For consumers, try looking at your products or content from their lens. Map out your ‘ideal’ consumer, then decide on the marketing and content language. Through this, your approach will match their style and language with greater accuracy, which can provide greater returns (content sharing, likes etc.).
It’s no surprise that children look at the world from a lens of curiosity and imagination; they haven’t been tainted by bias, nor have they been exposed to years of doing something because it’s just always been done that way. Instead, their innocence allows them to see the world from a truly authentic perspective. The ability to harness a childlike mindset can open our beliefs to bigger ideas based on curiosity and possibility, especially for brands. When we observe children discovering something for the first time, their interpretation and impressions are limitless. They simply see more than a tactile item or object. This innocence and curiosity are also based on feelings and what they experience at that moment.
To use Child-like Thinking is to understand how online content needs to speak to these impressions. As Shetty explained, content that goes viral is expressive, not educational. The most successful content to go viral elicits one or more of these five core reactions: Adventure, Humour, Emotion, Inspiration and Surprise. When an individual or a business shares content online, they must speak to these reactions to be successful, because they make us feel and experience something.
Think like a child
Brands need to be cognizant of how they make their consumers feel to be authentic. This means allowing space to create and understand what a consumer will experience. Asking “what is the energy” of a campaign or of the content can help to expand on this third mindset. It forces a brand to think genuinely while taping into what kind of interactions they want to foster with their customers. Even getting children’s reactions to new product/content can provide insights into potential users’ experiences and engagement with the brand, which can lead to greater loyalty and trust.
The final mindset is all about the merging of the physical and digital, where these two disparate worlds become one. Connecting the omnichannel to personal experiences is so critical, and coder thinkers live in these dualities as though they exist within a singular plane. To be clear, you don’t need to know how to ‘code’ to adopt this mindset. Instead, it’s about looking at ways to merge these two experiences in a seamless approach where brands provide full 360-degree immersive experiences. There should be no limitations between these two worlds. In today’s e-commerce reality, consumers are looking for and attracted to brands that merge and combine them into one real-world, online experience.
Think like a coder
How can your next product launch or campaign provide this? First, ask yourself what your end goal may be. Shetty highlighted as an example Pokémon Go! because it was launched not only as a game but as a way for people to be out in their environments; interactively digital in a real-world setting. This hybrid approach brought the world a fully immersive experience. The next time you are working on a new campaign or marketing strategy, ensure to find ways to include elements that incorporate both realities into the mix. Not only will your campaign stand out, but you also just may notice greater engagement with, and uptake of, new or returning customers.
Becoming a Connected Thinker
As the digital world continues to dominate the way we work and interact, it will be essential for brands to adopt new ways of working and thinking to avoid being left behind or struggling to maintain loyal, engaged customers. E-commerce is the new norm, the pandemic solidified that, and businesses in this space can benefit from making shifts in their mindsets that better respond to their consumers’ needs and wants.
E-commerce is the new norm, the pandemic solidified that, and businesses in this space can benefit from making shifts in their mindsets that better respond to their consumers’ needs and wants.
Starting with community thinking, brands need to diversify and seek new and old sources to innovate that differ from their own. While appreciating the different meanings of someone’s language or their differing perspectives, brands can also communicate and tailor their content by adopting coach thinking. Authenticity naturally flows with child-like thinking, where your brand can really make consumers feel something that is genuine through creative experiences. Connected thinking is finally also about thinking like a coder and ensuring that your brand realizes the importance of providing personal, omnichannel experiences.
The shift toward how consumers wish to engage and experience brands digitally is now permanent and the need is only getting greater with evermore technologies and tools emerging within the digital sphere. By applying Jay Shetty’s mindsets, you can become a connected thinker and see your brands adapt and respond for a more connected future.
Summit source: How and why to become a connected thinker | Bazaarvoice