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THE ALLURE OF innovation has always been in the chance of finding the next “big thing;” however, businesses often find themselves on the treadmill of relentless innovation as markets mature and technology advances. In addition, innovation has a poor track record of delivering commercial success for businesses. Often, the value of the innovation requires a broader system of products and services for the true benefit of experience to be available to consumers.

Great customer experience is both a necessity and an advantage as competition for customers intensifies. Unfortunately those that use this to their advantage are often the nimble start-ups who emerge free from legacy constraints. They can often set the bar higher than many pre-existing businesses will be able to meet.

Yet the growing complexity of operating in the omni-channel world where the customer relationship is always on, makes understanding — let alone improving and existing customer experience a challenge for all. The journey a customer has with a business typically crosses multiple functions and managers. Customers often wind up dealing with a headless beast of experiences with inefficient communication and too many businesses make the mistake of assuming that superficial design efforts can fix the problems.

The age of image as brand is closing and fixing the experience at the 11th hour through brilliant design cannot create value that doesn’t exist. Businesses must accept the limitations of placing blind-faith in innovation and brand and focus on keeping customers engaged, without sacrificing the quality of the experience, while developing new products and grow into new markets.

The key is to understand that engaging customers in experiences they find value in. Innovation, brand, and customer experience all support this goal, but they aren’t the end-goals in and of themselves.

The successful businesses will be the ones that learn to navigate the most efficient course, keep the passengers happiest, build faster engines, all while keeping the plane in the air. They will use a new playbook that begins with understanding the strategic role of experience and how to use it to design products, services and customer interactions accordingly.

This playbook has a name: experience design. It’s based on a simple idea that everything a business does should be based on the following assumptions:

  • An engaged customer is worth more than a loyal customer
  • Engagement comes from meeting expectations, which means being relevant, which means providing value
  • It’s more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one, so figure out how to grow value for existing customers while they still are customers.

Experience design is not a checklist, a recipe, or a series of maneuvers; it is a way of thinking. It uses brand as a compass for identifying differentiated value and experience. It considers how products, services, and solutions play a role in delivering value over time and how this must be accounted for even in the early phases of innovation or the product design process. It considers all stages of the customer journey as opportunities to provide value and further engage customers. And it brings the concept of time to the table as a way of exploring options, innovation, implications, and interdependencies.

Experience design doesn’t replace innovation. It complements the efforts. Innovation should augment and extend the current portfolio and brand. Innovation for existing products, services, and customer experiences is low hanging fruit and doesn’t require hiring innovation consultants. It starts with visibility into how you act and then fixing problems and enhancing strengths.

Deeper innovation efforts can begin by looking at the interface between what is changing at the limits of value you provide and the emerging needs of your customer, since you will use value to drive adoption. And innovation can’t occur in a vacuum. It’s never too soon to start planning for how a new product or service integrates along the lifetime of the customer relationship.

Experience design doesn’t replace brand strategy, but pushes beyond the traditional approach of defining brands. It advocates using the concept behind the brand as a way to identify and define value for customers in ways that can be differentiated in the way that products and services deliver value. And this becomes the purpose and intent of the business — to deliver products, services, and experiences that deliver the value that the brand represents, as a way of giving the brand meaning.

But it also means measuring that value from the customer’s perspective, and continually investigating new areas of value that are natural extensions for the brand. When you look at the world in this way, it becomes easier and more natural to proactively identify gaps between what a customer may need or expect, and what they are likely to get. And this can also become a framework for ongoing evaluation and modeling change as new products and services are considered.

Experience design provides a way for the business and the designer to both discuss objectives and options. It creates a way for business to invite design to the table earlier, and understand how design can help solve problems. And it also helps businesses rethink how they engage design partners in ways that are more likely to produce success with less risk.

It’s time to start the conversation about how the integrated view of experience design can change how we pose and solve the problems ahead.

Source wired

innovationcustomer experienceexperience designdesignbrandcell articles

If you've ever wondered if it was possible to actually rank brands based on consumer experience and data, you're not alone. WPP's Group XP unit has been curious too and now they have some answers.

According to a new report, Group XP's The Experience Index, which considered revenue, branding, store design, content, online presence and data from Millward Brown and BrandZ, Pampers ranks No. 1 when it comes to brand experience, with Disney, Paypal, DHL and Facebook rounding out the top five (see full list below). 

"This is the first time we've attempted to leverage the hard data and insight, based on BrandZ's largest and most substantive, ongoing consumer brand survey, to quantify the financial value of well-managed and delivered brand experiences," said Iain Ellwood, worldwide strategic growth director for Brand Union, which is part of Group XP. (Group XP is made up of Brand Union, retail and brand consultancy FITCH and brand experience agency SET and SET Live.) 

Added Ellwood: "It takes the conjecture out of the amorphous idea of 'brand experience' and assigns statistically sound financial metrics and customer impact to its impressive contribution to brand value." 

According to Ellwood, Group XP wanted to move past the idea that the "'experience' of certain celebrated brands" was actually the best consumer experience. "It took for us to decode and categorize the elements of brand experience from the bottom up to really draw out how innovative approaches to business models and technologies specifically come together to create customer experiences that can generate completely new revenue streams," said Ellwood.

"It creates a way for companies and brands to measure experience and to use those metrics to improve their experience over time," added Ellwood. "As a result, we believe the Experience Index is a breakthrough study that will change how companies and brands view the value of experience and manage their marketing and media mix."

Check out the top 30 global brands: 

 

  1. Pampers
  2. Disney
  3. PayPal
  4. DHL
  5. Facebook
  6. Apple
  7. Google
  8. IKEA
  9. UPS
  10. Visa
  11. Nike
  12. Huggies
  13. FedEx
  14. Southwest
  15. Deutsche Post
  16. Amazon
  17. Samsung
  18. Sky
  19. Ecover
  20. Tesla
  21. Colgate
  22. Omo
  23. BMW
  24. Bose
  25. IBM
  26. Adidas
  27. Verizon
  28. Mercedes-Benz
  29. Under Armour
  30. Ferrari
 
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Experiential marketing has had a huge year, largely due to the rapid development of new technology and a millennial driven experience culture.

Related trends are evolving daily and experiential marketing has very much become an individual and personal experience, often driven by virtual reality (VR) or multi-sensory campaigns. Consumers are now demanding experiences which incorporate the brand’s story with their own, creating shareable and, arguably more importantly, relatable moments.

For us, 2016 has proved that it's not enough to use tech just for the sake of using it. It can add huge value, but if its use is not amounting to an authentic and personalised experience, it's not worth doing.

With 2017 set to be an even bigger year for the industry, the focus will be on risk taking in order to capture consumers’ attention and break through the marketing clutter. New companies are popping up every day and existing marketing agencies are creating experiential divisions as separate entities to deal with industry growth.

Experimentation with content will offer brands the chance to build meaningful connections with consumers, and the evolution of communication mediums, such as VR and AR, are both poised to have a huge impact on how brands interact with audiences. As such, our predictions for the experiential industry can be divided into key areas: evolution of content and evolution of consumer touch points.

Virtual reality

Virtual reality is set to shake up the industry even more, as brands begin to see the benefits of providing truly immersive consumer experiences which connect online, in-store and live experiences.

2016 has highlighted that while VR in any form is a disruptive technology, the most successful examples stem from when the medium is used to enhance a story, be it a brand or consumer story. As such, while VR can offer a platform to fully immerse consumers in a different world entirely, the use of passive VR experiences at consumer touchpoints may be just as impactful. Allowing VR technologies to compliment the overall event experience rather than draw focus away from it will prove hugely powerful in a retail environment.

A recent study by Carphone Warehouse predicted that around 10% of British homes will have a virtual reality device by Christmas 2016 with VR headsets tipped to be this year’s Christmas present of choice – VR is becoming mainstream and marketers better be prepared for it!

Local and long term engagement

With the evolution of content and consumer touch points comes the ability to extend an experiential campaign much further than the end of an event. Events will form the basis of entire campaigns rather than acting as a standalone marketing effort, with memorable on site activations living on long after the event comes to a close.

Engaging with consumers post-event will become part of the experiential journey, facilitated by new technologies and developments which will ultimately repurpose and expand upon brand ideologies initially used to immerse consumers at event touch points. The growth of 360-degree videos on mediums such as Facebook and YouTube in 2016 has highlighted the demand for experiential consumer engagement online, away from live events, and is set to see a huge level of development in 2017.

Live streaming events

Similarly, the live streaming of experiences in 360-degrees is expected to advance in 2017. Following our successful 360-degree live stream of Latitude Festival in August using EE’s 4G network, the access to such experiences is expected to come to scale throughout the year. The live stream trend has been bolstered by Facebook’s live streaming function, however in order to fully immerse consumers, combining live streaming with 360-degree technologies is a sure-fire way of achieving success. By enabling consumers to engage with a live event as and when they choose, and incorporating both the physical and digital landscapes we can create a highly personalised, on-demand campaign.

The technologies not only encourage engagement from those who could not attend but also provide a mechanism for those in attendance to revisit the event, stimulating feelings and emotions that they felt at the time by offering an experience which is as immersive as possible without actually going back in time (we’ll save time travel for 2040).

Engaging the senses

Trends such as pop-ups which have taken off in the past decade are now commonplace and are at risk of becoming redundant as consumers are inundated with news of brands ‘popping up’ left right and centre. Instead, their success is much more reliant on in store use of multi-sensory stimulation and technological experience immersion.

While the visual sense is incredibly dominant in humans, experiential marketers should look to provide more enriching environments in a bid to engage consumers further and increase brand recall. Roadshows and mobile experiences are an excellent way of fulfilling the multisensory brief whilst also increasing the feeling of exclusivity. Get the creative treatment right, and success will follow.

All in all, 2017 is set to see the experiential industry flourish, with key trends from 2016 evolving and becoming much more focused. The crux of the matter is that consumers are demanding more from brand experiences and while technologies can be used to enhance these experiences, examples of successes and failures in 2016 should guide how these technologies are used.

Ultimately, brands should look to focus on human centric marketing, creating meaningful experiences which embody their key messages. Improvements in data collection have meant that consumer activations can be much more personalised, relevant and local, with experiential activations offering a new form of market research through on site data collection. Could 2017 be the year we fully integrate a brands CRM strategies into wider experiential campaigns?

Data allows us to assess real-time trends which is hugely powerful in providing the opportunity to identify demand and predict potential problems. The rise of experiential marketing across a variety of industries has demonstrated excellent staying power thus far, and the increased reliance on immersive experiences to build brand trust and loyalty is not something that will change anytime soon.

Source thedrum  

business designcustomer experienceservice designengagementHuman-Centered DesignDesign ThinkingEmpathic research

As we head into 2017, the millennial generation is now the largest domestically and worldwide, outnumbering even the Baby Boom generation from whose loins they sprung, according to Pew, which tracks such things.

So it's more important than ever to be sure that your customer service practices and customer experience design are ready to serve these young customers the way they want to be served. The time to get this right is short; the millennial generation, also known as Gen Y, has a purchase power as well that will soon equal and then eclipse that of the Baby Boomers. To compound the effect, it’s not just consumer (B2C) dollars they’ll have under their control. These young customers are also becoming decision makers at major corporations, thus controlling purse strings that affect the success and failure of those of you with B2B companies as well.

With the impending new year, let me offer a year-end recap on how to provide the best customer experience and customer service for millennials, adapted from my Forbes Media ebook on the subject, Your Customer is the Star: How to Make Millennials, Boomers and Everyone In Between Fall in Love With Your Business.

1.Your customer-facing technology needs to be intuitive, and it needs to simply work.Millennials have grown up with digital devices that bundle communication, entertainment, shopping, mapping and education all in one. From an early age, smartphone use has been the norm. Millennials have always had Internet at home and in school. MP3 players have long offered them ubiquitous music options. Naturally, then, millennials embrace and align themselves with technology.

Because of this identification with technology, millennials tend to adopt new technology more quickly compared with the more skeptical approach of previous generations. Technology has become far more user friendly during millennials’ lifetimes, particularly when compared to what previous generations encountered. The relentless focus on simplifying the user interface at Apple, Amazon, Google and other less visible technology players has set a new standard of intuitiveness across the tech industry that millennials accept as the norm. Businesses should be careful not to throw clunky, alienating technology, systems, or processes at these customers and expect patience or understanding as customers struggle to find a workaround.

2. The customer experience—and the purchasing decision–is now a social experience.Millennials express their sociability online as well as in real life (“IRL”), particularly in the many arenas where online and offline activities and circles of friends overlap. Offline, millennials are more likely than other generations to shop, dine and travel with groups, whether these are organized interest groups, less formal groupings of peers or excursions with extended family, according to Boston Consulting Group data. Online, their sharing habits on Facebook, Snapchat and other social sites, and the opinions they offer on Yelp, TripAdvisor and Amazon reflect their eagerness for connection, as do their electronic alerts to friends and followers (via Foursquare et al.) that show off where they are, where they’re coming from and where they’re headed—online alerts that reflect and affect behavior in the physical world.
 

This social behavior has big implications for those of us who serve customers. Millennials tend to make buying decisions collaboratively, and they don’t consume food, beverages, services, products or media in silence. They eat noisily (so to speak) and very visually. They review, blog and Tumblr, update Wikipedia entries and post Youtube, Vine and Instagram videos. Often these posts concern their consumption activities, interests and aspirations. All told, as Boston Consulting Group reports, “the vast majority of millennials report taking action on behalf of brands and sharing brand preferences in their social groups.”

3. Your brand needs to be open to customer collaboration and co-creation. Millennials enjoy the possibility of collaborating with businesses and brands, as long as they believe that their say matters to the company in question. They don’t necessarily see a clear boundary between the customer and the brand, the customer and marketer, and the customer and service provider. Alex Castellarnau at Dropbox, the popular file transfer service, put it to me this way: With millennials, “a new brand, service or product is only started by the company; it’s finished by the customers. Millennials are a generation that wants to co-create the product, the brand, with you. Companies that understand this and figure out ways to engage in this co-creation relationship with millennials will have an edge.”

4. You need  offer self-service and crowdsourced customer service options. Building the right experience for this new generation of customers requires you to think hard about an uncomfortable subject: where human employees are helpful to customers, and where they just get in the way. Today’s customers often do want you out of the way. Millennials, and those who share a millennial outlook, hold different ideas about where human-powered service fits into the customer experience. Younger customers, through years of experience with online and self-service solutions, have grown used to the way technology can reduce the need for human gatekeepers to ensure accuracy and manage data. So the last thing they want is for your employees to gum up the works without adding value.

5. Paradoxically, millennial customers also crave a true, authentic, personalized experience as customers.  Millennial customers crave the joys of adventure and discovery, whether epic or everyday. Millennials often view commerce and even obligatory business travel as opportunities rather than burdens, due to the adventures that can be had along the way. I’m reluctant to chalk up this phenomenon to youthful wanderlust alone, because the breadth of experiences this generation craves suggests there’s something more at work. For example:

• When shopping, millennials they prefer an “experiential” retail environment, where shopping is more than a transaction and the pleasure of being in the store isn’t limited to the goods that customers take home.

• When millennials dine out, for example, they’re often in search of something exotic, adventuresome, memorable or new to explore during their dining experience. This has helped transform cuisine searches (“tastespotting”) into an adventure—and food truck-following (a concept sure to evoke fears of stomachache in some of their elders) into its own culture.

6. They care about your values as a company. Millennials integrate their beliefs and causes into their choice of companies to support, their purchases and their day-to-day interactions. More than 50% of millennials make an effort to buy products from companies that support the causes they care about, according to research from Barkley, an independent advertising agency. And they’re twice as likely to care about whether or not their food is organic than are their nonmillennial counterparts, according to Boston Consulting Group. When you consider how money-strapped many millennials remain, their willingness to put a premium on such issues is striking. And millennials are concerned with more than political and ethical issues. They also care about what’s genuine and authentic. This interest falls somewhere between a purely aesthetic preference and a search for honesty, for truth. And it’s a powerful force for motivating millennial customers.

Source forbes   

innovationbusiness designcustomer experienceexperience designdesignbrandcell articlesglobal trendsservice designbusinessHuman-Centered DesignDesign ThinkingEmpathy

I recently read a report about the consulting market in the GCC. Valued at about 2.7 $billion. obviously the lion share goes to KSA with 1.25 $billion, growing 9.4%.

However, what caught my attention is Oman. A country with roughly a population of 4.5Million and a GDP of 70$billions. The Omani economy is mostly trade led with high exports. In 2015, Oman has spent $100 million on consulting services, a 7% growth versus previous year.

The reasons behind this increase in GCC spend is the need to step-up their strategic capabilities in various domains to offset slowly their economy's dependence on oil & gas towards knowledge-based economies but also to be able to compete more strategically in the global markets.

In Lebanon, a country with almost similar population size, Per Capita GDP and an economy focused primarily on Services, most companies are yet to embrace the concept of investing on developing their strategic business skills & capacity building by tapping on the intellectual capital embedded in consulting services.

The reasons are many and are also to be found in the traditional mindset of 'doing things in-house' as a way to save money but also as an ego-centric form of saying that “we don't lack the capabilities and we don’t need anyone to tell us how to do things” type of self-reassuring/bragging statement.

And when they do ask for advise, they want to pay the cheapest possible because the painful truth is that they value the returns on Human's intellectual capital, & knowledge in general, way much lower compared to assets or financial capital. Whereas in the west, intellectual capital, innovations & patents are worth much more than the fixed assets of any company.

After all every successful company in the world was built around a great/ big idea and then scaled using applied knowledge, creativity sound strategic decisions.

Let us correlate the above with few recent facts:

-      Today the leading French newspaper shockingly revealed: "half of the banking sector deposits of $155billions is held by less than 1% of the total depositors”. The IMF has warned against this salient inequalities of wealth distribution.

-      According to to 2015 World Economic Forum competitiveness report, Lebanon ranked 101st out of 140 countries. Ranking 61/140 in terms of business sophistication and 95/140 on innovation.

This tells with some degree of certainty, that a substantial number of the country’s top economic actors are only interested in investing on traditional tools and the minimum they can on IC build up in view of maximizing and accumulating profits in the banks. A very short-sighted approach with potentially devastating effects on the country’s economic and social well being.

They are ready to invest on tangible assets, that usually depreciate fast, due to rapid changing technology but little on building up their intangibles such as strategic business capabilities (not only technical skills); Knowledge, R&D, Business model innovation, digital, customer-centric processes & policies and Customer experience all that create sustainable long term value, new employments, wealth creation and increase the stakeholders returns.

This is very awkward in our times when you think that the biggest global driver of value today is innovation which is by definition the outcome of intellectual capital and knowledge-based economy. P&G, PepsiCo, Google, Apple & Samsung to name just few examples are not competing on Assets or Capital anymore. They do on the best talents, knowledge accumulation, acquiring Intellectual capital and attracting strategic advisors & hiring of consulting firms to design & develop the most innovative customer value propositions via cutting edge products & services.

Uber and Airbnb both with astronomical capitalized market values don't own a single asset(cars or hotels). Their success lies in their capabilities to capture human needs and ideate simple solutions, scaled using existing knowledge and technology. This gives food for thought and illustrate my point.

In Lebanon, most observed companies keep doing the same things and expect different results. There is a tendency to blame all shortcomings on the economic & political situation. Only part of it is true. The other part is that customers have changed with the world around them, they are connected, demanding and expecting different experiences, to be valued, understood and served on multi-channels with consistent quality levels. They want their brands to surprise them & delight them but also to play a meaningful role in their life. They want to live and work in a stimulating, creative and dynamic ever learning environments.

To adapt to these customers’ demands companies equally need to design a growth strategy that mandates to review and upgrade their strategic capabilities & acquire new skills & knowledge that is usually lacking or not widely available internally. So accepting to call upon outside professional services of consultants & advisors must be embraced & paid generously as it’s the fastest way to bridge the knowledge gap, acquire and adopt best practices to increase their competitive advantages.

Luckily this is changing slowly as we are now witnessing more & more local companies driven by a new generation of leaders with an open mind to these facts and willing to mutate from traditional capital-based model to knowledge-based one.

We are blessed to be working with some of the country’s top businesses and new leaders who understand the importance of reinventing their organization, adopting new mindset, listening to their customers, sourcing strategic capabilities and trying new ideas.They ask us to help them build internal knowledge, innovate their strategies & services and even create innovation design labs so they build sustainable and differentiated value propositions.

So we hope more companies would start believing and embracing the value of knowledge so the above facts and performance indicators about our country can be improved substantially and make Lebanon with its immense human capital potential and creativity an example of a ‘knowledge country’.

Joe Ayoub- Business design/brandcell consulting.

business designbusiness strategycustomer experiencedigital strategybrandcell articlesglobal trendscompany culturebusinessKnowledge

In the business world, it’s become commonplace to improve relationships with customers by improving the customer experience. As products and services have become increasingly commoditised, providing the best customer experience has emerged as a key competitive differentiator. Companies vie for customer loyalty through personalized offerings, rewards programs, and one-to-one marketing initiatives—all in the name of increasing brand equity. And that’s as it should be. After all, customer loyalty drives business profitability.

However, in the quest to create exceptional experiences for customers, businesses often overlook a critical business fundamental: if you want happy customers, you have to have happy employees—and that comes from providing your employees with an exceptional experience too. Yet all too often there is a misalignment of one degree or another between the experience companies create for their customers and what their employees experience in their everyday work life. Who sees this misalignment better than anyone else? Employees.

The snowball effect

When companies shortchange employees in any number of ways, there’s a snowball effect. Employees become resentful and they disengage. That resentment and disengagement eventually finds its way to customers in the form of poor service and inferior products.

Adding to the disconnect is the fact that employees are customers too—of their company’s products, and potentially of competitors’ products as well. As an employer, wouldn’t you prefer your employees use and champion your products and services? If your relationship with them is poor, like any other customer, they’re likely to take their business elsewhere.

Treat employees like customers

Some forward-thinking companies have recognised that the foundation for a great customer experience is a great employee experience. Leading companies like Microsoft, Best Buy, and Capitol One are taking unique approaches to building relationships with employees, much like they’ve built relationships with customers.

Essentially, these companies know that the solution to the employee versus the customer experience disconnect is right in their wheelhouse—treat employees like customers. This effort pays off in more ways than one. Research has shown that a 10% increase in employee engagement levels can boost a company’s customer service levels by 5% and profits by 2%. Not only that, in 2015 a multi-year study by Glassdoor Research indicated companies with a high level of employee engagement out-perform the S&P 500 by 122%.

In my next post, I’m going take a deeper look into the seeds of experience-driven disengagement and show how it can impact your business.

Source accenture  

business designcustomer experienceexperience designcustomer servicedesignbrandcell articlesconsumer trendsglobal trendsservice designcompany culturebusinessengagementperformancestrategyOrganisational Culture
1- Bain & Company: “Our colleagues are legitimately smart and always interested in helping you progress your career.”

bain-and-company-squarelogo-1481126093417.png

2- Facebook: 
“Great benefits, culture, mission. There is a lot to love about working at Facebook. Most employees believe strongly in the mission.”
facebook-squarelogo-1381810479272-(1).png
3-Boston Consulting Group: “Great career progression, opportunity to learn, collaborative culture, very smart teams.”

boston-consulting-group-squarelogo-1454447438315.png

4- Google: 
“Smart people, data-driven decisions and culture, a mission I can feel good about when I go to work.” 
google-squarelogo-1441130773284.png
5- World Wide Technology: 
“Extremely caring towards their employees as well as their customers. The benefits are amazing."
world-wide-technology-squarelogo-1490198249497.png
6-Fast Enterprises:  
"The family atmosphere makes working together as a team satisfying and successful, as well as the out of office adventures and team building."

fast-enterprises-squarelogo-1452011320742.png
7-In-N-Out Burger:
"Always busy, time flies, with hard work you move up pretty quickly, everyone is so nice and friendly, great positive atmosphere."
in-n-out-burger-squarelogo-1479940244881.png
8-LinkedIn:
"They truly invest in the professional development of employees. Very proactive at making sure that you're in a role you want to be in."

linkedin-squarelogo-1462308283451.png
9-Adobe:
"Great company culture, benefits and overall atmosphere to work. People are very open, knowledgeable and potential for advancement is very much available"

adobe-squarelogo-1439410514152.png

10-Power Home Remodeling:
"The career growth opportunity is outstanding. Everyone in the office genuinely cares about each other and wants to see you be successful. Communication with upper management is incredibly easy also."

power-home-remodeling-group-squarelogo-1460060781152.png

Source glassdoor  



 
customer experienceexperience designcustomer serviceconsumer brandsbrandcell articlesconsumer trendsglobal trendscompany culturebusinessengagementperformanceconsumer behaviour Organisational Culture
Brand intimacy is a new paradigm that leverages and strengthens the emotional bonds between a person and a brand among six markers that identify the character and nature of ultimate brand relationships: Fulfillement, Identity, Enhancement, Ritual, Nostalgia and Indulgence.

1- Apple

apple-(1).jpg

2- Disney

disney.jpg


 

3- Amazon

amazon.jpg

4- Harley Davidson

harley.jpg

5- Netflix

netflix.jpg

6- Nintendo

nintendo.jpg

7- Samsung

samsung.jpg

8- Whole foods

whole-sales.jpg

9- BMW

bmw.jpg

10-Toyota


toyota.jpg

Source mblm
brandingbrandcell articlesglobal trendscompany culture

Relationships make the world go round—from that first flicker of attraction in high school or college to walking down the aisle on your wedding day. From landing your first customer to striking the business deal that takes your startup to the next level.
 

Relationships are key to every aspect of our lives.
 

So why is it that so many business owners rest on their laurels when it comes to customer relationships?
 

How can we future-proof ourselves against developments in the world of customer relationships? Well, the first step is to understand them.

New platforms, new opportunities

Advances in technology have blown customer interaction wide open. While such interactions were once limited to face-to-face in-store interactions, telephone conversations via customer service channels, or email marketing communications, modern customer relationships are played out across a variety of different fields. These include:

Social media

Social media is a vital tool in your customer relationship arsenal. Over 80% of adults in the United States are engaged via social media.

Adopting a diverse approach by utilizing the benefits of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and others pays dividends for businesses.

Mobile devices

Mobile devices are similarly important. The percentage of online interaction handled via mobile devices is increasing year-on-year. Mobile marketing revenues now exceed $20 billion.

Optimizing your online presence for mobile browsing, deploying applications to support the needs of customers, and integrating mobile into your consumer nurturing strategies are effective ways to prepare for the future of customer relationships.

Feedback loops

Developing feedback loops are also important. High-quality communication transforms your client base from a steady source of income to a rich resource of information which you can use to develop the services you offer.

Build feedback opportunities into the structure of your customer interactions – either via CTAs deployed amongst your content marketing pieces, or by reaching out directly after a purchase – and use the information gathered to hone the service you provide.

CRM software

It’s not so easy to go it alone with so much data to process across a variety of different fields and metrics. This is why a good quality piece of customer relationship management – or CRM – software can help to lighten the load.

Track customer interactions, iron out grievances, and optimize your firm for success in the market; a good CRM platform is worth its weight in proverbial gold.

The all-important efficiency factor

A business cannot survive without its customers, but nurturing relationships with those customers must be cost-effective. This is the endless balancing act; the high-wire performance that we must undergo each and every day.

It all comes down to value. Automating all of your processes, blasting out a ton of identical marketing emails to clients, and stripping back your customer service and nurturing departments is surely the cheapest way to develop customer relationships, but is it effective?

Of course not. No one wants to be treated like that, and this approach will simply turn customers off.

Your customers are human beings; they respond well to a personal service and to high levels of care. It is up to your department to place a value on that level of care, and work to achieve it in a way that is not only cost-light, but also efficient and effective.

Source Digital list mag

innovationbusiness designbrandcell newscustomer experienceexperience designcustomer servicedesignbrandcell articlesconsumer trendsservice designconsumer behaviour human-centricityHuman-Centered DesignDesign ThinkingEmpathic researchEmpathy

How often have you been to a reputable store or service company, hoping you will get the right product with the pampering service you feel entitled to as a ‘regular’ - or shall I say ‘true loyal’ customer? Instead, you are quickly disillusioned by the lack of proper attention, poor display of product knowledge, and bare minimum service.

 

Yet as you proceed to check-out, you will proudly present the store loyalty card to earn points. Points that you will likely forget about, or lose track calculating and translating them into an actual return of value on your loyalty.

 

This is probably the only positive note you will take from your visit, having spent a substantial amount of money in a short amount of time. So, you leave without feeling as though you have been recognized as a true loyal customer.

The question that always arises when facing situations like this is:

 

“Why do these companies invest so much in building loyalty program systems and fighting for share of voice, and so little on building a genuine, simple yet efficient service experiences that delight customers?”  After all, it is the little things that count, right?  “Why these companies spend so much energy & money on building loyalty program systems and spend large advertising & promotional budgets to fight for share of voice and so little on building a true, simple yet efficient experience that delights customers & makes them spend more money, repeat their visits and refer friends & peers?”

 

Why don’t they invest their resources in better recruitment, competitive salaries, better work environments, incentives and training to engage their staff? Why don’t they try to understand and recognize their customers’ needs, aspirations and expectations, and deliver on those consistently?

 

Treating the staff and the customers equally poor seems like a bad retention strategy, which these companies believe can be compensated by offering discounts or rewarding customers with a Chinese toaster for spending the equivalent of the latest iPhone!

 

Covering up poor customer experience with ‘points’ won’t retain customers. Good service will.

 

Companies might think that they have customers trapped in their loyalty program and this will eliminate the need to invest in improving or innovating the aspects of the service experience that matter most to customers.

This business myopia presupposes that the company is in a monopolistic situation or has a unique offering that brings in clients, regardless of service quality.

 

Very few companies are so privileged, but if one compares their loyalty schemes, most of them are almost identical and offer no true competitive advantage!

 

So, what does collecting points achieve when all the important milestones of the experience are less than satisfactory? Not much, beyond pushing customers to establish an opportunistic relationship with these companies based on deals and bargain hunting.

 

Services can drive loyalty up. Or down. People will come because they like your product, but leave because they detest your service.

 

True loyalty cannot be bought. It must be earned!

 

Customers do not actually consider their purchase of a product or service as ‘loyalty’ to a brand – they are loyal to their own needs – selecting what works in their best interest. Yet, strangely enough, companies still invest billions to ‘buy’ their customers’ loyalty.

Most of today’s programs barely go beyond a transactional relationship, which is based on a superficial understanding of customers. Designing generic or ‘off-the-shelf’ schemes that do not excite customers, and sending out mass emails or SMS offers (that often end up in junk mail) are insufficient.

 

Good service is a powerful way to identify, attract, retain and grow true brand advocates. A better customer experience, including simplified interactions and a feeling that the brand actually cares, would lead to true loyalty that generates consistent revenue growth and costs less to establish.

 

Never assume. Observe and talk to customers in order to understand them.

 

Use service design and customer management tools in conjunction with the data you collected to make their lives easier, to give them personalized treatment and to provide them an experience that reinforces the relationship they have with you. Interacting in such a mindset with a customer is the best way to build a lasting and lucrative relationship.

 

The most commonly practiced customer engagement bait are the discounts or earned points flashed in front of them.  However, the majority of customers say that what they really want is special treatment and well-tailored offers. They want to feel like they matter to your company.

 

Amazingly, the majority of companies accumulate but do not use customer and loyalty program data to develop a proper customer engagement strategy.  This strategy should outline why, when, how the company is to connect with its customers to provide better experiences.  Without such a strategy, it would be exceedingly difficult to build stronger relationships with their customers that leverage their lifetime value.

 

Think ‘customer first’ by mapping a solid and differentiated customer experience strategy, and enjoy the kind of loyalty that generates greater share of wallet, lower costs to serve and the opportunity for customers to share their stories of your brand with families and peers.

Joe Ayoub - Brandcell CEO

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