The Fourth Industrial Revolution is influencing us all, and the equine community is no exception. The Internet of Things is lush with information, and we see a fusion of technologies obscuring the lines between the biological, digital and physical spheres.
Today, mobile devices are giving us unlimited access to knowledge and information. With remarkable processing power and storage capacity, we see an increasing consumer engagement. New patterns of consumer behaviour and demand for transparency is emerging, forcing businesses to adapt the way they deliver products and services.
Unsurprisingly, most equine service providers are sticking to "old business recipes". Producing extra resources to upgrade can be tough, but eschewing transparency, and failing to adopt new processes can be fatal. If horse riders choose other activities, the whole equine economy will decline.
One inhibitory factor why modernisation is not a big topic in the Equestrian communities is its traditionally authoritative bridle-and-rope culture. Naturally, older generations or established organisations are less likely to lead change and spur modernisation. Unconsciously they even obstruct and slow down such processes, not thinking about the fact that it is the younger generation who will be paying for the lack of progress.
The power of transparency
Transparency is an attitude championed and embraced by the world's best leaders. You can be a champion of transparency without being a global leader; individually we can all make great decisions for leading change and boldly embrace transparency. Like with the movement travers, transparency can be exercised, building our suppleness, power and great stamina.
This expectation for transparency has extended beyond personal interactions and is now a reality in business. Across all industries, transparency has never been more important to a successful business model. Withholding or cleverly reshaping information is no longer a viable option for this new era of consumers who are savvier than any generation before them and for whom skepticism seems to be a default setting. In order to build brand loyalty, companies need to first build trust.
The reason why people choose not to be transparent in personal interactions or business relations could be the fear of judgement. Fearing that the credentials they worked so hard to accomplish will lose their power and leverage. However, it is proven that being forthright with all interactions, positive as well as negative, increase customer loyalty.
Therefore, be proactive in sharing relevant information, everything from prices to background and expectations. Be clear, don't be afraid to articulate what you expect and what they can expect. It is essential to gaining trust and respect. Your customers need transparency and predictability. You can show them respect by giving them time to plan and make great decisions for themselves. As we know, Equestrian activities require a lot of planning.
The digital age has allowed people to learn more about their leaders. As such, social media has suddenly given people the permission to enter a leader’s personal space; a place they were previously prohibited from entering. The digital age has changed the levels of transparency that we expect from people too.
Invest in digital technology that will give you an edge, remember to think long-term. The ability to think about efficiency, productivity and transparency will be essential for you and your business in the future.
Be bold, be the sound opposition to the traditionally authoritative bridle-and-rope culture the Equestrian world needs.
About Camilla Næristorp
The Norwegian, Camilla Næristorp, is the founder and CEO of Pluvinel. She comes from a creative background. Educated in graphic art and design in the UK. She has worked in media, as an independent consultant and as a Design Manager for an international oil company. She started Pluvinel in 2015, leaping from a safe job to the unpredictable future of entrepreneurship. The startup, Pluvinel, is a global independent technical solution uniting all disciplines and methods, to benefit riders, instructors, trainers and coaches in all corners of the world.
Horses improve our lives, as does technology.