John Gerzema

Speech Topics

What do ambulance drones, conventions for failing and rental boyfriends in China have to do with your business?

Curiously, they’re part of larger societal shifts that are changing the way we buy, sell and live.

In this presentation, John Gerzema shares ten trends currently shaping the year, from “Flaunting Failure” and “Make Way for Generation Z” to “The Many Faces of Mobility” and “Give and Take of Privacy”. In each, John shares vivid examples of how society, technology and generational shifts are shaping the marketplace.

How do companies respond? John explores the latest techniques in marketing and innovation, from companies co-creating with customers (even competitors), to waves of ethnographers studying society and rapid-prototyping. There are others opening their metrics to reward external innovation and still more rebuilding their cultures to reward smart risk-taking and rapid prototyping.

Each engagement will entail customized industry, company data. Regardless of your industry, size or longevity, the Top Trends will impact your business. Are you ready?

The financial industry began undergoing a large-scale shift. From rapid digitization to virtual currency to frictionless mobile commerce, customers have come to expect immediacy, accessibility and personalization from their financial services.

In other words, customers are holding banks to the same standards they do other brands.

Welcome to Customer-Centricity in the New Era of Banking, where changing customer expectations coupled with changing demographics are re-wiring the way we market financial services.

For instance, 53% of Millennials don’t think their bank offers anything different from any other bank. And when asked ‘which of the following brands would you open a bank account with?’ Millennials answered with brands like Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook. (The first ‘bank brand’ was ranked 11th; Trust in bank brands is 11% overall in our data).

In this presentation, John Gerzema will expose the financial sector to societal trends in customer service, globalization, and technology and best practices from other industries and brands. Through data, storytelling and insight, John will open the aperture on how to evolve in order to win back customers’ loyalty and become more agile and innovative in a time when the ways we access money and pay for things are fundamentally changing.

(John has spoken to a wide range of organizations from Citibank, Bank of America, Barclay’s and American Express).

As technology and information dramatically alter how business gets done in virtually every sector of the economy, great companies—and great leaders—must adapt and change in unprecedented ways.  Today, leaders must continuously engage their customers, employees and communities. They must demonstrate their personal involvement and commitment. And they must mentor a new millennial generation of workers with very different expectations, personal and organizational goals, and engagement levels.  In other words, leaders of any age or level must learn new skills to meet the changing values and expectations of the twenty-first century. And yet, many organizations are still stuck in the ‘command and control’ mode of top-down leadership and are ill equipped to evolve because of their scale, complexity, or risk-averse processes that prohibit agility, decisiveness and individual empowerment. John will home in on key skills and competencies that must be learned, modeled and applied among leaders and across organizations in order to thrive in the 21st century.

Best-Selling author and consumer insights expert John Gerzema explores America’s post-crisis values and behavior shifts and the new imperatives for business. The Great Unwind is just beginning and will remake the consumer marketplace, restore capitalism, revitalize the economy and set America on a new, more sustainable trajectory.

If you think that solutions to your toughest business problems require a healthy dose of digital immersion, you are not alone. Riding a wave of technology servicing over ten billion devices connected to the Internet, new business models are rapidly remaking industries and changing consumerism in the process.

This is the most exciting time to be in business in the history of business. Smart companies, large and small are deploying these technologies to disrupt categories and gain competitive advantage.Using extensive data on consumer insights from the largest database of brands in the world, John Gerzema breaks down the mobile/social/local revolution into simple, relatable and instructional takeaways for any business at any level. John’s two best-selling books translate trends in culture, marketplace, technology and innovation into sound, actionable business advice.

Smartphones. Digital wallets. Proximity shopping. Frictionless e-commerce. At a steady clip, these innovations and more are rapidly remaking the world of retail and the way we browse, buy and sell. John Gerzema, a social theorist on consumerism will share the latest ideas and innovation from the retail revolution, including consumer data from his brand database, BrandAsset Valuator – the largest brand survey in the world. Collectively, the data reveals how profoundly new shopping habits enabled by technology, mobility and digital currency are re-writing the rules of retailing and e-tailing.

John’s talk will draw implications from innovators around the world as well as in Canada through personal interviews with some of the most exciting new companies from his global research.

“The world would be a better place if men thought more like women.” That’s how the majority responded when 64,000 people in eighteen countries were surveyed about how to fix today’s global problems.

In his new book, The Athena Doctrine: How Women (And The Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future, bestselling author John Gerzema explores today’s astonishing rise of feminine values in businesses, governments, start-ups, NGO’s and community organizations. This talk reveals an emergent form of leadership — the most innovative men and women are redefining success and solutions in every realm with “feminine” values like empathy, communication, patience, collaboration, and shared prosperity. He has also built out a leadership workshop where companies are assessed against his consumer research, leading to bespoke solutions for management, organizational structure, communication skills building and more.

Imagine a $4 trillion dollar market nearly one-fifth of America¹s GDP.  Next, add technological, societal and legislative disruption to invite in nearly any type of competitor.  Then, turn it upside-down and place a buyer in charge, with no experience, but a lot of power.

Welcome to the new healthcare marketplace where the consumer is charge, whether they like or not. Like banking before it, suddenly healthcare services are brands bought with the same care as laptops, vacations and cars. And with health management apps, wearables and data, increasingly the consumer will take charge of their own health.

Health care providers, insurers and companies need to radically re-think their customer and the way they go to market. Will we comparison shop for catheters and surgical gloves at Amazon or Walmart to save money on our hospital stay? Might Uber bring doctors to our homes and offices? Could we summon an ambulance drone from our iPhones?

In this presentation, John Gerzema will unpack several trends and share proprietary data that is custom to each audience’s industry and practice. The future of healthcare is a wide-open, dizzying array of possibility, but one thing¹s for sure: disruption is coming.


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John Gerzema is a pioneer in the use of data to identify social change and help companies anticipate and adapt to new trends and demands. An author, strategist, speaker and consultant, his various books have appeared on the best seller lists of The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Fast Company, The Washington Post, Bloomberg Business Week, The WEEK Magazine and many others. A frequent analyst on television and radio, John’s TED talks have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people. He has written for publications like Harvard Business Review, Inc. Magazine, WIRED, Forbes and McKinsey Voices on Society. John’s writing was included among “The Fifty Classic Management Articles of The Decade” by Strategy & Business, and his research has been presented at The World Economic Forum, where he recently debuted the Best Countries study and eBook that is published with U.S. News in collaboration with the Wharton School, and cited in publications like The Journal of Consumer Psychology and Marketing Management textbook.

A Fellow with The Athena Center for Leadership at Barnard College and an advocate for the rights of women and girls, John’s latest book, co-authored with Pulitzer-Prize winner Michael D’Antonio––The Athena Doctrine: How Women (And The Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future, explores the rise of feminine skills and competencies and their impact on leadership, policy and innovation. Tom Peters says of John, “The Athena Doctrine is a powerful book. Extraordinary research. Great storytelling. A message both timely and of monumental importance.”

John is a board advisor to several NGO’s including University of The People, The Rainforest Alliance and The United Nations Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign. (Proceeds of his book, The Athena Doctrine, support this program). In 2014, he was named to “The Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business”, and “Must-Follow Marketing Minds on Twitter” by Forbes Magazine.

With a Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications from The Medill School of Journalism, John began his career at Campbell-Mithun and Fallon advertising in Minneapolis, before being named Global Chief Insights Officer for Young & Rubicam Group and Chairman and CEO of Y&R’s BAV Consulting.

John is married to Mary Gerzema, an executive at The Estee Lauder Companies. They live in New York with their daughter, Nina. John’s mother, Jan, is a retired Professor of English from Indiana University Northwest and father Larry (also retired) served as The Regional Administrator of the National Banks For The Comptroller of the Currency.

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