What’s The Future Of Business? Comes With An Incomplete Answer

When I review books here on AdPulp, I don’t talk about whether I like a book or don’t like it, or whether it’s well-written or not. I simply try to answer the question, “What would AdPulp readers learn by reading this book?” With that mind, I confess: I simply don’t know what to make of Brian Solis’ new book, What’s The Future Of Business? Changing The Way Businesses Create Experiences.

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I’ve reviewed Solis’ other books, and there’s always plenty of material to chew on that reflects current marketing theory. This time around, we get an introduction to “Generation C” (for “connected”), a sales cycle centered around various “Moments of Truth,” as well as a large heaping of adapt-or-die imperatives for companies that aren’t putting customer needs first. But really, it’s nothing anyone who’s picked up a Fast Company magazine hasn’t read 100 times before.

The “experiences” Solis talks about creating are primarily rooted in all things digital, social, and mobile. There’s a lovely bit of irony here for all of Solis’ digital-centric preachings: The old-school, dead-tree, hardcover edition is fairly slick and well-designed for print. A square-sized book, with large inspirational quotes, infographics, and a nice selection of Hugh MacLeod cartoons. There’s plenty of eye candy to explain how Solis envisions customer-brand connections, 2013-style. The content might make for a dynamic presentation in Projeqt but hardcover books still seem more impressive these days, I suppose.

And what’s lost in the engagement/experience/empowerment/disruption buzzword bingo is a real answer to the question, “What’s the Future of Business?” Because once you think outside the social media bubble Solis focuses on, the future looks quite complex and cloudy: Globalization, product customization, strained natural resources, re- and de-regulation of industries, downward pricing pressures on businesses, and cash-strapped consumers don’t get much attention here.

All Solis ever seems to say is that the future is rapidly changing, and that’s nothing new. If you’re working in a company where reaching customers in today’s market is a constant battle, and your organization’s leaders seem truly lost, you might try floating some of Solis’ thinking with his charts and graphs to support you. “What’s The Future of Business” will give you a lot of jargon-laden ammunition that might either make you sound convincing or get laughed out of the room. You’ll have to see for yourself which one it’ll be.

Special thanks for FSB Associates for providing me with a review copy.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.