Henry Ford is one of the giants of the industrial age who invented the moving assembly line and brought to life the age of mass production.
He is now no longer relevant and here is why.
People can have the Model T in any color – so long as it’s black.
― Henry Ford
Ford built his massive industrial empire on the might of his factories ability to churn out vast quantities of identical items, in his case automobiles. In order to make his cars even more affordable, he originally only made them available in the colour black.
At the time, consumers were desperate to own any car and were happy to accept the simplicity and uniformity of the Model T in order to obtain the freedom they provided.
We don’t live in that world any more.
These days we live in hugely oversupplied times. With the advent of the internet, we can find exactly what we want, and bring it to us from literally anywhere in the world.
For Christmas, I bought my girlfriend Dionne a pair of hand painted converse trainers for less than £40, from a woman I have never met or spoken to, who lives in a city in China I have never heard of.
And this is why Henry Ford is no longer relevant…
If we can buy anything we want, configured to our exact specifications for a small price, then the age of making massive quantities of identical objects is truly over.
In the commodity era of limited ability we asked, “Can we get it?”
In the goods era of manufactured products we asked, “How much does it cost?”
In this current era of unlimited configurability we now ask, “How will it make me feel?”
And the latter is the question our customers are asking themselves about what we do.
This change in our values has happened in the last 100 years and it is vital that we all understand its impact.
We like to feel special, listened to and like we matter…a lot.
- How do you make sure that your customers are getting exactly what they want from you?
- How do you know what your customers are feeling when they use your products and services?
- How do you make your customers feel special?
Thank you for reading, I would love to know what you think about the change in business.
Am I way off base here?