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Embracing Disruption with Shawn Kanungo
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Earlier this year we launched a Keynote Speaker Series featuring 15 of today’s top thought leaders across three different categories—Mental Health & Wellness; Marketing, Innovation & Disruption; and Equality, Diversity & Inclusion. We’ll be chatting with a few of these speakers on the themes of our magazine, relating back to brokers and Ontario’s broker channel. First up—Shawn Kanungo, Disruption Strategist.
You’ve been giving in-person keynotes for years. Once the pandemic hit, that came to a halt. How have you adapted and changed the way you reach audiences?
Since I speak on disruption and innovation, I always have to be thinking about what’s next. What I say in my presentation might be irrelevant in six months, so I’m used to constantly changing and tweaking. When the pandemic hit, my first thought was, how can I elevate the virtual keynote experience? As this new world was uncharted territory, I wasn’t sure at first how I wanted to take things, but knew I had the opportunity to create something no one had seen before. From a keynote perspective, we reinvented how my virtual content is delivered. I think it’s a really unique experience. We’ve been filming everything in an empty theatre—I took my filmmakers who had never done a livestream in their lives and turned them into live streamers overnight.
What advice do you have for brokers looking to reinvent themselves?
Double down on what you’re good at and try to be the best in the world. Differentiate yourself from other brokers and create a unique experience. Take the time to figure out how you can reinvent and disrupt yourself. Continuously think about what could take you out of business and prepare for the unexpected. Nothing is guaranteed and everything can change on a dime as this past year has shown us.
How can brokers reimagine the customer experience?
By understanding their audience and using different channels for different people. Get comfortable with every channel, whether it’s phone, text or video, and separate your client list based on their preferences. Figure out how to take your business digital and ask yourself how you can make things easier, faster and more transparent for your clients. Using technology allows you to connect with customers in different ways, but it’s really about deepening relationships, which can be difficult in a digital world. What I tried to convey in my presentation is that there are tricks you can use to deepen your relationships and become more of an advisor to your clients. Make them feel valued by touching base more often, surprising them with educational content or special offers, and providing advice in alternate ways. This goes back to human nature and two key components—leveraging digital to make things faster and more seamless, but also increasing trust with your primary clients. Building trust in relationships has become harder in this virtual age, but it’s important to put in the time and effort to do so.
Final thoughts?
What I’ve been sharing all these years in my keynotes are the ideas of disruption, innovation and flexibility—that anyone can be disrupted. Lately I’ve been so inspired because I’ve seen individuals and organizations embrace innovation and technology head on. Many of my clients who are in the public sector have sped up their business by 10 years in six months. It’s fantastic to see. We’re constantly discovering new ways of doing things and I love hearing those stories. There’s never been a better time to reinvent yourself.
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