We have recently launched the new brand ‘Uplift 360’ and have taken this as an opportunity to reassess everything we’ve done in the past as ‘Omnific Design’. While we’ve got a strong, loyal customer base who we continue to serve, the direction of the business has evolved over the years. For the most part, this change in direction has been natural and positive; but, it has resulted in our business message becoming less clear. I now feel we’ve stripped everything back to the most effective, most meaningful aspects of who we are as a business, and I’m looking forward to the journey forward.

In the past, our content strategy revolved around blogging each and every week; yet, in this information-rich age, we’ve decided to cut this back. We believe that one blog post per month will be most appropriate moving forward (although we remain flexible to change). While we plan to blog less often, we plan to blog with more depth, offering richer and more relevant content. I’d love your feedback and engagement as we move ahead with this new style of blogging.

We’ve also decided to be less engaged with social media in general. It’s true that social media can be a helpful place for marketing a business, but we believe that it’s also the cause of a lot of noise. Our plan is to build more genuine relationships with real humans – not just try to reach the masses out there in social media land. We think that it’s time as a society to shift back to having genuine, meaningful, human relationships – to build a real community that puts people first.

Why is it that we’ve decided to pursue this goal of fostering real human relationships? Basically, it’s because we want to really help our customers, in ways that truly matter. This conviction is based on the belief that:

  • Technology should be a bridge, not a barrier. If it’s being used in a way that isolates or insulates, then it is not being used to its true potential. Used correctly, technology can help us to make real connections.
  • A successful business should be based on rewarding human interactions. If a business can assist people in identifying and then solving their main problems, then that business can be considered a success. This extends, not just to the relationship between business and customer, but also between the business and their team members.
  • Real success cannot be measured just by comparing the company bottom line or annual profit and loss statement. A company that makes a profit but has no real direction or meaningful connections is not an example of success. True success brings purpose and happiness, not just financial rewards.
  • No single person can change the world. But if everyone starts working together towards a meaningful and lasting goal, then collectively, real change is possible.

You might be somewhat surprised to hear this sort of statement from a company that specialises in website improvement and marketing performance coaching. But there’s a good reason why we believe so strongly in this kind of company ethos: it is precisely because of the explosive growth of modern technology.

The recent decades have seen a explosion of technological growth. Whereas 25 years ago few homes had a personal computer, the vast majority now have PC’s, laptops, tablets, smartphones, smart televisions and even smart home devices that can answer your questions, turn on the lights and automatically manage climate control. But rather than this making life easier, it often has the exact opposite effect.

“All this modern technology just makes people try to do everything at once.”
Bill Watterson

While advances in technology have led to many benefits, they have just as assuredly created many unique problems:

  • Research suggests that children who spend four or more hours per day in front of a screen have a reduced sense of wellbeing. Spending extended amounts of time using technology has also been linked to higher rates of teenage depression.
  • Despite medical professionals stressing the importance of being more active for improved physical and mental wellbeing, the average adult now spends more time sitting in front of a screen than they do sleeping.
  • Due to the prevalence of social networking, many are having fewer face-to-face interactions with friends and peers. As a result, our ability to detect social cues and respond appropriately is severely diminished. This, in turn, can lead to increased feelings of isolation.

Yet, despite the abundant research proving that overusing technology poses serious risks to our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, some businesses are actively encouraging their customers to spend even more time online. Their express goal is to make their product as addictive as possible; while this might not be in the customers best interests, it will result in improved sales. Take, for example, the craze for maintaining Snapchat streaks, something that has been criticised for deliberately manipulating young people into compulsively returning to the app repeatedly throughout the day.

A 2015 study into the addictiveness of social media found that “in terms of addictiveness, [mobile social apps] more considerably foster dependency than do cocaine and alcohol, but are less addictive than caffeine and cigarettes.” Psychiatry researcher Sree Jadapalle, MD estimates that over 25% of American youths now suffer from Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD), and MRI studies show that those with IAD have comparable levels of brain damage to what is experienced by drug addicts.

For this reason, I initially told people that Uplift 360 would not be using social media at all, just to see what sort of reaction I would get. The common response? “But you must have social media as a small business, particularly in your industry.” To be honest, it felt a lot like peer pressure.

That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate the benefits of modern technology; after all, Uplift 360 specialises in web design and development. Our business benefits from using technology to communicate with remote colleagues, allowing our team to effectively work from just about anywhere. When used correctly, technology can make life simpler and easier for everybody; the trick is to not let things get overcomplicated.

By chiefly focusing on how we can help our customers, Uplift 360 is able to avoid one of the major pitfalls that afflict many businesses today: getting hung up on profits to the detriment of real people. This kind of short-term thinking leads to negative results, for both the customer and the business.

With this in mind, Uplift 360 has established a new business mindset, which includes these core beliefs:

  • Your business should support the lifestyle that you want to live, along with the loved ones you want to experience life with.
  • Success is defined, not just by financial profits, but by the amount of happiness generated.
  • Staying focused on long-term growth will help a business to avoid the lure of short-term returns.

This philosophy is based on the concept that doing your very best for both staff and customers will, in turn, lead to both higher levels of contentment and a solid return on investment. After all, happy staff will do their best to support the company and please the customers, and happy customers will keep coming back in the future.

“A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all.”
Michael Leboeuf

Research shows that there is real measurable value in prioritising the satisfaction of the customer over the short term desire to boost sales. A 2016 survey by MarketingSherpa reported that “customers are 269% more likely to be satisfied when they view a company’s marketing as putting their needs ahead of its business”. And of these satisfied customers, over 90% said they were either likely or very likely to return to continue purchasing from these brands. Less than 30% were willing to return to a business that they were initially unsatisfied with.

Since the evidence supporting this long-term approach is so obvious, why isn’t this common practice? The truth is, businesses that have profit as their only goal tend to get so focused on the numbers that they lose sight of any nobler pursuits. Employees are tasked with hitting targets as a priority above customer service, getting stuck in a quagmire of daily tasks that are considered necessary in order to reach these targets. Often, these daily tasks involve feeding the ravenous beast that is social media.

At Uplift 360, we believe this kind of mindset can cause real harm. It inspires a toxic culture in the workplace, while simultaneously stifling creativity and job satisfaction. On the flipside, if employees feel that they are significantly contributing towards a shared goal or vision (something they can relate to and believe in) then they are more likely to be actively engaged. As a sign of how important this is, a study by Gallup found that employees who are actively engaged with the company they work for contribute towards a 10% increase in customer loyalty and a 20% increase in productivity.

As the evidence shows, this is all connected: having a positive and meaningful long-term business goal leads to engaged staff, which, in turn, results in satisfied customers. And satisfied customers make a business profitable.

This philosophy is the cornerstone of Uplift 360. As someone with past experience working in a short-sighted and profit-driven environment, I wanted Uplift 360 to be different. In fact, this poorly focused short-term mindset so commonly seen in business is what inspired me to start Uplift 360 in the first place, as the antithesis of this old mentality. Instead, Uplift 360 is all about making people happy, with the long-term goal of enjoying true success.

We believe that the old school philosophy of “success” has no place in modern life. Money doesn’t make a person successful, as it offers no guarantee of happiness. Establishing and maintaining good relationships is the key to lasting happiness. Harvard psychiatrist Dr Robert Waldinger summed this up eloquently when he stated: “The clearest message that we get…is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier”. What led him to this conclusion? A 75 year research project focused on human happiness.

With this in mind, Uplift 360 decided to pursue a course that would focus on building and maintaining good relationships with our team and customers. We no longer focus just on success from a marketing perspective, but rather we aim for a more inclusive approach, striving to show empathy and understanding as we work with customers and as a team to help them resolve their own unique problems.

Yes, making money is still important, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But when we work together and place the emphasis on achieving real success in partnership with others, then a business achieves profit that is more sustainable.

So that’s what we at Uplift 360 are going to do.

Until next month…