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In this exclusive one-to-one interview, Simon Néouze, CEO and founder of Better & Stronger gives us a knowledgeable retrospective of 2021 and tips to crush it in 2022.
What should we remember from this disrupted year that’s about to end? Lockdowns and drop of store activity or increase of online customer activity and economic recovery?
There’s always a hidden face to praise for those who want to see it. Simon Néouze, CEO and founder of Better & Stronger takes the floor to share with us his vision for the next year and tips for companies who want to crush it in 2022!
12 years ago, Simon Néouze launched Better & Stronger to advise companies on their business and marketing strategy. His goal? Helping brands implement a solid methodology to ensure their growth and embrace complexity in the digital ecosystem. His consultancy in digital marketing now supports renowned clients (to only quote some: Timberland, Aoste, Richardson, Kiloutou, Japan Experience…) and partners with famous platforms (Google, Hubspot, Facebook, LinkedIn…).
Simon Néouze started as a consultant himself before creating Better & Stronger; that’s why he’s never far from joining in to help his team. Digital enthusiast, he also has a passion for skateboarding, snowboarding (he’s a thrill-seeker). He could surf in his alpha waves if he wanted to!
Better & Stronger - Simon, as a Chief Vision Officer and a digital lover, could you take stock of the past year on the digital ecosystem? What lessons did you learn? Which ones would you like to share with our audience?
Simon - “It’s no secret that 2021 was bumped by lockdowns, border closures, drop of activity in stores; but what if we considered things in a better way? What about the increase of online customer activity and the economic recovery?
I believe that companies are facing significant challenges that they should embrace rather than just endure them. It’s essential to get a grip on the one you can tackle first without many additional resources. And the magic formula is, in my opinion, quite simple: adapting your work methodology to remote working, teaching your team about how to feel comfortable with using advanced technology. As a marketing consultancy, we’re facing them all, with enthusiasm!”
B&S - What impact does this unusual situation have on your clients’ business at Better & Stronger?
Simon - “The major impact? We have to help our clients restructure their business quickly so that they can seize the opportunities that come to them, and at the same time, we also plan their future hand-in-hand. In concrete terms, click & collect, flexible schedules, quick orders... are not just short trends. They are deep-rooted tendencies that are likely to set in.
To allow our clients to make the most of these opportunities, we give them a long-term vision: how to adapt their services? Their team management? Their digital resources?”
B&S - What do you mean precisely by a “long-term vision”?
Simon - “We can’t build what we can’t consider. How would you build a house if you had never seen one? Vision always precedes the building stage.
Giving our clients a long-term vision is helping them picture what they do well and what they can do to motivate them to go further. At Better & Stronger, we think it’s crucial to share with our clients the overall comprehension of business stakes from the moment they call out for our help.”
B&S - At Better & Stronger, one of our pillar expertise is data. Is it a fundamental way to understand business stakes?
Simon - “Data is a true strategic asset. It’s not just a tool.
As Peter Drucker said: “what gets measured gets managed”, and that’s the point. To say that data is at the heart of a company’s management is nothing new. So what’s new? Today, data doesn’t only have an accounting or a growth tracking use: it has become a must-have in customer relationship enhancements. Why?
By helping our clients understand their data and learn how to analyze it carefully, we make sure that they can make decisions that don’t come out of the blue. They are decision-driven and impactful. If you want to know which prospects visit your website without making any actions, data can help. Why do prospects leave before making a purchase? Data can help too… And, that’s just a glimpse of how data can help your teams and executives make better decisions.”
B&S - If you could suggest a growth guide to beam in 2022 to our audience, what would you include inside it?
Simon - “The two guidelines I try to deliver to our clients are:
B&S - The pandemic situation also had a huge impact on working habits and management strategies in the business world. How do you deal with this situation at Better & Stronger?
Simon - “It would be inconsistent to generalize our situation.
Many of our employees were already remote working: from different regions of France, Sweden and Switzerland. Despite ourselves, we were actually prepared. But in fact, I think that our approach was business-centric and not individual-centric. If companies shouldn’t fear remote working (a drop of commuting time, talents working from across the world...), they should also take the responsibility of protecting employees.
That’s why our team has access to weekly sophrology courses and regular team building sessions to keep the team spirit close to our hearts. Social distancing has a real impact on productivity. It’s essential to keep cohesion within the team.”
B&S - This year, Better & Stronger has been going through an exponential growth. How do you handle it? How do you go from a team of 11 people in 2020 to 22 in one year? Do you plan to grow even more next year?
Simon - “First, it’s essential to adapt your organisational structure to face this spectacular development - not just in our intentions but in our methodologies. Our C-levels had to redefine each of their team member’s responsibilities.
Responsibility doesn’t only go with pressure; it also produces new opportunities for our team to blossom. When you have a frame that is clearly established at work, you can start to shine inside it since you know what’s expected of you.To grow from 7 to 50, it’s essential to rely on a solid company culture; so that you can make sure that each person that enters your team knows for which values we stand for. ”
B&S - What should companies praise at the end of 2021? What tips would you give them to start 2022 on the right foot?
Simon - “Well, There are plenty of appealing digital transformations that are waiting for us: the Web 3.0, the ESG development, the rise of Hybrid and Multi-Cloud, the Metaverse universe, the golden age of BitCoins… You just have to embrace them to rock your business! To start off well, we all need to:
Structure and prioritize: finding where there’s the biggest gap between a tremendous opportunity and quick or easy feasibility, to focus on this special spot.
B&S - Thank you Simon for sharing with us the lessons you learnt from 2021 and your vision of 2022. It seems there are high hopes for next year! We’ll surely invite you for new advice sessions!
Have you missed our Head of Performance, Lorena Sassman's interview? She gave her exclusive advice to grow a business internationally in 2022. Want to write about your next adventure with us? Don’t hesitate to contact us.
By Emma Jeanpierre
17 Dec, 2021