Brian Solis is one of the leading authorities on why delivering a relevant customer experience is the next brand differentiator. So who better to talk at Adobe Summit about the future of brand is experience than Altimeter Group’s principal analyst?
Here are some of Solis’s key points from Tuesday’s session.
• Definition of a great CX: “We live in a tremendous time and a new era of business in which your brand is defined by those who experience it. I’ve been studying what ‘experience’ means the past several years. A great experience is something that you feel, sense, crave, and share as a human and causes you to do something. In our connected society, if an experience isn’t shared, it didn’t happen. Experience can be brand, product, service--it is everything. But, today, we generally operate with experiences happening disparately throughout the organization, and we are measuring them disparately. Experience only counts when it is whole--when it is one thing.”
• Be honest: “Ask yourself these questions. Do you know how your customers experience your brand today? Do you know how they really feel? Do you know what they say when you’re not around? In an always-on world where everyone is connected to information and also one another, customer experience is your brand. And without defining experiences, brands become victims to whatever people feel and share.”
• CX math: “X, or experience, is the sum of all engagements and memorable moments a customer has at every encounter with your brand--all day, every day--during the entire customer lifecycle. With the rise of the digital transformation, there is an opportunity to realign, or make new investments in technology and business models, to more effectively engage digital consumers and create new value at every touch point in the customer journey.”
• Me, me, me: “Customers today are ‘accidental narcissists.’ Think about just about any tech or app today--whether it is Uber, Tinder, Instacart, Gilt--every bit of tech reminds you that you are at the center of the universe. I’ve studied patience levels of Uber users. If the car is over four minutes away, they have lost patience. We want things now. Every new app, like Snapchat, shortens attention spans and reprograms expectations. These are the new standards and customer expectations on how they want to engage with brands now, regardless of what business you are in. This is who your customer is becoming. This is who your employees are becoming.”
• Gen C: “This change is not just about younger people. I’ve done research and concluded that there is a new generation of people I call ‘Generation C,’ ‘C’ standing for ‘connected.’ They are not grouped by age or any demographic. They are grouped by lifestyle. I found that 55-year-olds who live a hectic, digital lifestyle and are very active on their smartphones, tablets, social media, and apps were making similar decision patterns as a 25-year-old. We look at our smartphones 1,500 times a week, on average, which adds up to 177 minutes every day. It is a lifestyle demographic. So your customers are rewiring every single day and reprogramming their expectations every day.”
• Disrupt yourself: “Tomorrow is an entirely new game. Disruption is a gift either given to you or by you. This is the time to think about how to disrupt yourself. What does that look like? Who are our competitors? Is it the companies that we look at every day and measure ourselves against, or is it brands who are really engaging people the way we want our customers to engage with us? What can we learn from them? What would my digital customer do, and how is it different than what I have in place today? How is it different than how I think today?”
• Mobile matters: “Create experiences that talk to and through all of the people with their smartphones. If you can design a shareable and meaningful experience, you are now engaging with an audience of an audience of an audience, and you make it much more profound. This takes design.”
• New foundation: “We make mistakes in creating experiences by applying legacy thinking, principles, and metrics to all of the new digital opportunities. We need new processes, new models, new metrics, and new risks. It all starts with learning to unlearn. To move forward and create experiences that matter at every moment of truth, we’ve got to learn new things. This is what will give you a competitive advantage.”
• Experience architecture: “The future of business lies in experience architecture, and you are the architect. It has to start somewhere. That takes your role and ladders it up, all the way to the top. It’s more important than it has ever been, especially for omnichannel. This takes re-engineering, and it starts with rethinking what’s possible. How amazing is that? There never has really been a time where we had to reinvent everything. This is your time.”
How does all of this apply to CMOs, specifically? I asked Solis after his talk. His response: “The idea of what a CMO stands for is going to be closer to chief innovation officer. There’s how you market, and there’s how you innovate. Somebody has to drive both; I believe the future of marketing actually starts with innovation. CMOs need to think about the future of consumers and take that all back to change their businesses to be more human-centered.”
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