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Brandwave-logo-6.png |Human Centered Insights | oct '16
19.09.2016

In today’s connected world, customers have more power than ever before. Social media is how we share & talk about our experiences. They influence our perceptions of brands & the choices we make just as much, if not more, than, traditional media. In the wake of the economic strains, companies are seeking to streamline operations. The best way to achieve this is to be customer centric. But what does this really mean? In reality most businesses actually fail to grasp the answer. For one, It’s not simplistically instruct-ing your employees to put on a smile and give a warm greeting. In fact, it’s vastly deeper than that and works across the three distinct yet essential following levels:

The Customer Perspective

In a recent survey conducted by Brandcell, “efficiency, quickness, and responsiveness” emerged as the most important elements of a great service (63%). As such, understanding the customer perspective and then bringing it inside the company is key to start. Some companies may proclaim to be doing customer satisfaction surveys. This can only give a partial view; ‘the What’, but lacks to answer ‘the Why’; why people or customers behave & feel this way. More so, people tend to say one thing & do another.

You may have lost customers who have traded down from you, but gained others who have upgraded to you. Do these new customers value same aspects of the brand experience as the previous customers? What mechanisms are in place for quick feedback, so you can find out? Just at the time when understand- ing the customer is most important, marketers tend to know the least.

To understand them companies need to dive into customers lives, observe customers in situ & ‘listen with an empathic eye’ to uncover insights that identify elements of dissatisfaction more than satisfaction, and to deeply discover what customers really want, need and aspire to.

Next is data collection. Here again businesses are missing the real value, with most not really knowing what to do with all the data they collect & store in their CRM system beyond sending out SMS or emails. Data needs to be correlat- ed & cross-examined with the consumer perspective from level one for building further knowledge of behavioral patterns. Once such information has been gathered & synthesized, the company is in a better position to devise new solutions and experience improvements that can enhance custom- ers’ lives and really engage them.

Identifying critical insights with data allows you to study your cost structure and determine which expenses can be reduced with minimal incidence on customer satisfaction and re-allocating resources on the actions & aspects that has substantial positive impact on customer’s experience with your brand. 

The Organizational challenge

The organizational challenge involved with being customer centric, necessitates alignment of policies, systems, staff training and back office with front end. A customer having to repeatedly give the same information across different touchpoints of one company will inevitably find his experience frustrating. Customers expect their interaction, regardless of whether by phone, internet or in person, to be seamless. Again, it’s about bringing the customer metaphorically inside the company and building everything around them, a process that is known as business design. One sobering way of looking at it is that with every business action that takes place, it can either add value to the customer or cost to the company. Additionally, if any company policy doesn’t impact the customer directly, does it need to exist?

Can we replace it with a step that adds value to customers & their experience with the product/service of the organization? 

Delivering delightful experiences

When the actions cited above are applied to bring about customer centricity, the result is that business plays a meaningful role in its customers’ lives. It also allows companies to reduce complexity and frustration, while unlocking innovation and opportunities, plus decreasing the cost of serving those customers. Today, customer reviews and social media mean you’re now only as good as your customer’s experience. Over 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. This is very significant as it validates the importance for brands to get their customers ‘service experience’ right as the traditional product/price proposition is no longer good enough.

So to improve net earnings and margins, the answers lies in how your customers (your source of wealth) are experiencing your organization’s delivery on its promise. 

Joe Ayoub - Brandcell CEO

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19.09.2016
Deutsch’s Douglas Van Praet discusses how focus-group feedback, and the whole notion of the consumer, are misguided and how research should focus on understanding the unconscious and improving human lives.


Understanding the unconscious and improving human lives.

Whenever  the word "consumer" is heared, a term unavoidable in marketing, a certain part winces. The label is counterproductive and misguided, suggesting hubris by putting corporate interests over customer concerns. The worst offense is that it presupposes a response you haven’t earned yet. Their purpose is not to consume your product!
Yet this label frames market research, with an emphasis on sales and usage, in other words, the bottom line, market share, or ROI. The ultimate goal is profitability, not helping people better themselves.

How these research studies are done is at sharp odds with what science now knows. The elephant in the room is that the vast majority of our decisions are made unconsciously. What is a no-brainer for any cognitive scientist remains mind-boggling to marketers. The conscious mind is simply not running the show, but we’ve created an entire industry pretending that it does.

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Advertisers are doubling down on this myth, investing in exhaustive investigations of self-reported preferences, attitudes, opinions, and beliefs. These deceptions become guideposts for product and campaign development. For $150 and a ham sandwich, panelists are drilled for hours in formal focus groups before two-way mirrors and cleverly concealed microphones that elicit groupthink and inauthenticity. The best become "professional respondents" glibly dominating groups on the topic du jour—from potato chip to microchip.

What is the problem?

The problem is we’re profoundly social beings having spent 99% of our evolution relying on vital resources from tribal affiliates whose opinions mattered. Group rejection likely meant a death sentence. So it’s no surprise we still only put our best face forward while artfully maneuvering ourselves competitively in the pecking order.

The brain is designed to hide most of our intentions and promote self-confidence, an adaptive function that improves lives and prevents information overload. So we invent stories and believe our lies and confabulations. Social science experiments reveal that we are inherently self-righteous and consistently overrate our knowledge, autonomy, and abilities. We say advertising doesn’t influence us even though sales say otherwise. And we maintain these self-serving delusions when wired to a lie detector, which means we are lying to ourselves and not intentionally to the experimenters!

But marketers cling to these false convictions and post-hoc rationalizations in large-scale quantitative studies that test and track "awareness," "topline" reports that skim the surface because they ignore real motives that lay hidden in the depths of our "unawareness."

This vast data dump is distilled into a target "persona," the "true north" for creative inspiration. Psychologist Carl Jung is turning in his grave because he coined the term to describe the façade we contrive to make an impression on others while concealing our true nature. The persona is the mask of overconfidence that colors reality in our favor to adapt to social situations.

We need to penetrate this veneer. As Jung put it,

"In each of us there is another whom we don’t know." This inner "self" is a term he used to describe the totality of the psyche that includes our unconscious intentions or, in essence, "the real you."


And we all share an inner essence through our DNA. We’re not consumers, eyeballs, non-responders, laggards, Millennials, or Hispanics. We are humans. And by raising our sightline and defining customers more broadly we will not only deepen empathy and relevance but also widen appeal.

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This doesn't imply all research is bad research. Measuring sales and online engagement is very useful because we observe what people do, not what they say they do. And despite the pitfalls of qualitative research we can still observe face-to-face, micro-expressions and body language that belie words. Skilled moderators can unveil hidden agendas and unconscious defenses. But these researchers are rare. Strategists who inspire through traditional methods make subjective leaps beyond the data. They succeed in spite of current research protocols, not because of them.

A 7-step process was developed, shedding human insight on how idea becomes action:

1) Interrupt the Pattern
2) Create Comfort
3) Lead the Imagination
4) Shift the Feeling
5) Satisfy the Critical Mind
6) Change the Associations
7) Take Action

Source Fastco Create
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OUR NEWS
Business Design Sprint

How can you, in a tough economy, make the right decision, fast, while minimizing risk?

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The SPRINT is a quick & proven process that brings together customers, employees, management and designers in a joint effort to improve business experience, strategy & tactics.  Developed at Google Ventures, it’s a “greatest hits” of business strategy, innovation, behavior science, design thinking, and more—packaged into a battle-tested process that any team can use.

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Working together in a sprint, you can shortcut the endless-debate cycle and compress months of time into a single week. Instead of deciding on a course of action on a product or service to understand if an idea is any good, you’ll get clear feedback from a realistic process. The SPRINT gives you a superpower: You can fast-forward into the future to get some insights & reactions, before making any expensive commitments.

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Brandcell consulting will be moderating the sessions. The ideal team will be composed of decision makers, finance, marketing, customer service, product/service designer/manager and IT/logistic executives.
 

For additional information on how the SPRINT method can fit to your organisation's case, to book your session or for any other details, please email us at info@brand-cell.com or call us on 01 335417.

19.09.2016

Balance Goals

Today's top employers are doing much more than providing a good salary and basic benefits to recruit and retain employees. In fact, some employers are trying to empathize with employees' personal needs as much as they focus on their professional needs. You've heard of on-site fitness classes — but how about on-site health clinics? Unlimited vacation is nice — but wouldn't a flextime schedule better match your work-life balance goals?

For companies that offer these and other "personal" benefits, the potential payoff is promising — based on a recent report, UK consultant group Lady Geek found that the most empathetic companies increased in value more than twice as much as the least empathetic companies in 2015.

How do you measure "empathy"? Lady Geeks defines the term as "a cognitive and emotional understanding of others' experiences" and consults clients on how to engage with customers and employees holistically. Their analysis uses a variety of metrics, such as CEO approval ratings, gender ratios on the board, brand controversy (such as scandals and fines) and sentiment on the company's social networks. 

Below are the 10 companies that topped their Global Empathy Index — and a little something to learn about empathetic policies from each.


1. Microsoft

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Headquarters: Redmond, WA

Monetary value: $436.4B*

Number of employees: 118,584

Empathetic policy highlight: Microsoft offers a lab program, Microsoft Garage, which both encourages and supports employees' side gigs and creative ideas. The program allows employees across any department to brainstorm, plan and develop projects outside their primary job or function at Microsoft.

2. Facebook

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Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA

Monetary value: $289.1B

Number of employees: 11,996

Policy highlight: Facebook allows employees to select their own workday start and stop times. The flextime program provides employees with the opportunity to align their hours on the job with their lifestyle, which Facebook believes leads to greater flexibility and productivity.

3. Tesla

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Headquarters: Palo Alto, CA

Monetary value: $29.2B

Number of employees: 12,000

Policy highlight: Tesla pays 100 percent of the direct plan costs for employee health plans. The plans come with high deductibles, but with an in-house medical clinic, employees can avoid unnecessary visits through an on-site clinic visit first.

4. Alphabet (Google)

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Headquarters: Mountain View, CA

Monetary value: $515B

Number of employees: 59,976

Policy highlight: Mom or dad-to-be? Moms get up to 18 weeks of paid leave, while dads get six. To help out even more, the company provides "baby bonding bucks" to help with expenses, such as formula and diapers.

5. Procter & Gamble

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Headquarters: Cincinnati, OH

Monetary value: $213B

Number of employees: 118,000

Policy highlight: Life happens. And when employees are going through a difficult time, Procter & Gamble offers a personal leave of absence. Employees can take up to three months off periodically without pay — but with continued benefits — allowing employees to take time for personal needs and the company to retain valuable talent.

6. Apple

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Headquarters: Cupertino, CA

Monetary value: $587B

Number of employees: 66,000

Policy highlight: Apple prioritizes employee health by offering a wellness center at its corporate headquarters, which includes doctors, physical therapists, chiropractors and dietitians. Don't work full-time or at corporate locations? No worries — even part-time and remote employees qualify for benefits.

7. Johnson & Johnson

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Headquarters: New Brunswick, NJ

Monetary value: $278B

Number of employees: 126,500

Policy highlight: Johnson & Johnson is a leader in understanding how employees' movement while working affects physical health. They've built an ergonomic workplace and implemented strategies to improve productivity as well as long-term health and wellness.

8. Walt Disney

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Headquarters: Burbank, CA

Monetary value: $170.2B

Number of employees: 180,000

Policy highlight: Employees receive free and discounted admission at many Walt Disney theme parks across the country, which can save workers' and their families thousands over the course of one's career with the company (not to mention provide some pretty cool vacations for theme park enthusiasts).

9. Prudential Financial

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Headquarters: Newark, NJ

Monetary value: $35.8B

Number of employees: 48,331

Policy highlight: Being a caregiver for a parent or relative is a tough job, but Prudential makes it easier by providing adult care in an employee or loved one's home. In addition, the company provides geriatric care services (in-home care and facility assessments), elder law services and adult care-giving seminars.

10. Audi

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Headquarters: Herndon, Virginia

Monetary value: $28.8B

Number of employees: 80,000

Policy highlight: The Audi Veterans to Technicians Program is designed to bring veterans back into the workforce. Participants in the program receive individualized support, advice and assistance from a team of dedicated program staff.

Source REWORK

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FEATURED CASE STUDY: T. Gargour & Fils - MERCEDES-BENZ
OVERVIEW
T. Gargour & Fils was considering the setup of a customer care centre and needed to understand the latter’s role in the broader customer care strategy in order to be a benchmark.
HOW DID WE HELP?
To identify improvement areas and opportunities that can be integrated within the customer care centre in the customer care plan, Brandcell undertook a qualitative research to look at the current customer experience in both the sale and service journeys.  Then a two-day hothouse was organized with different members of the  executive and managerial team to design the new customer journey and devise the new role of the call center in the experience.

Project Output:
Having identified critical service failures, Brandcell redesigned the customer journey integrating new functions & digital tools.
Brandcell then designed & trained a call-center function that is integral to customer service.

Project Outcome:
-Customer satisfaction increased by more than 10%
-Problem turnaround time dropped substantially


 
FEATURED BOOK
Wired To Care
by Dev Patnaik
This essential and illuminating book tells the story of how organizations of all kinds prosper when they tap into a power each of us already has: empathy, the ability to reach outside of ourselves and connect with other people. When people inside a company develop a shared sense of what’s going on in the world, they see new opportunities faster than their competitors. They have the courage to take a risk on something new. And they have the gut-level certitude to stick with an idea that doesn’t take off right away. People are "Wired to Care," and many of the world’s best organizations are, too.


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#1- Observe people to understand hidden and unarticulated customer needs.

#2- Live your customer's life, "walk a mile in the shoes of your customer"

#3-  Ingrain customer-driven innovation in your corporate culture and operations.

#4-  Involve customers in testing the prototype of your new product.

#5-  Watch how the customers use your product.

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