National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) - InTouch Magazine, Summer 2022

18 NAMA InTouch • Summer 2022 “Look forward and ask yourself, ‘What can be possible?’” he said. Speaking about his work at Tesla, Blankenship detailed the company’s strategy of gaining brand recognition and loyal customers. The Tesla team asked, “Why are people buying this product? How do we create a longterm customer?” Blankenship challenged operators in the audience to do the same. “Take what you’ve mastered and do more,” he said. “Do what others can’t do ... or won’t do.” In a post-speech interview with Blankenship, Jeffries asked the speaker about an issue most operators face: how to find good employees. Blankenship said that comes back to the hiring and training process. “You need to get people who want to be there,” he noted. “You have to find people who complement each other and work together.” The key to success, he concluded, is to focus on the customer. “Everything is about the customer,” he said. He then asked attendees, “Who is ready to close their eyes, see the possibilities for your business and then do something big that could impact your industry forever?” Now is the Time Jeremy Gutsche, the founder and CEO of Trend Hunter, hosted a wellattended plenary session. His recent book, Create the Future + the Innovation Handbook: Tactics for Disruptive Thinking, is a New York Times bestseller. Gutsche challenged attendees to change their way of thinking in order to gain new opportunities for business. “Everyone wants innovation to happen, but most people don’t want to deviate from the path,” he observed. During times of crisis, he argued, innovation emerges. “Periods of crisis always lead to chaos and opportunity,” he said. And with that, operators must be ready to both create and seize that innovation. In his fast-paced presentation, Gutsche noted that coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, operators have immense opportunity. “This is going to be the greatest window of opportunity in your career,” he declared. “It is when your customers and locations are more interested than ever in trying something new.” He went on to emphasize, “Your clients are open to doing things in a new way. This is your time to win.” The NAMA Show 2022 Recap