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AGENCY LEADERSHIP

How Brands Accelerate Digital Transformation

Pim van Helten, DPDK

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New digital tools, platforms and systems are being introduced almost every single day, bringing with them infinite possibilities. With that, customers’ expectations of digital experiences are also growing.

Brands have to be prepared to challenge their status quo and transform themselves to leverage these new technologies and offer up-to-date experiences. Only then can they continue to appeal to the growing appetites of their customers and stay on top of the game.

Such changes can be disorienting and challenging for some. So how can brands initiate and accelerate these changes for the digital future?

Transformation is not easy. Brands—big and small face difficulties with their digital transformation endeavors. Initiatives to transform the organization and deep-dive into new digital technologies are often marred with endless roadblocks and lackluster returns. Peering into transformation attempts, one of the main problems becomes obvious. Brands which feel that they are transforming are often only engaged in optimization of their current status quo. This limits the scale and impact of their change as well as their quest to be more competitive in the market.

There is quite a gap between optimization and transformation. Many brands are just supplementing existing processes with new digital tools to heighten efficiency. And transformation is definitely more than just offering faster processes or real-time responses. Transforming entails shaping and enabling new experiences that delivers new value. There is a difference between ​enhancing operational functions​ and implementing ​a holistic change to serve customers better. The latter is the one that can pivot brands into greater success and a long-term future.

To get transformation on the right track, it has to start with the right vision.

Find the Customer Experience (CX) sweet-spot

Brands will first have to shift their gaze towards the customers and away from the mentality of matching new technology to optimize current product vision. A unique customer experience beats ​product, price, and place advantages ​and has quickly become the way to truly differentiate from competitors. The attention should be on interaction channels, brand identity and content vision as they form the basis of CX. Mapping these three components can therefore be the first step towards crafting the new CX and hence a valuable transformation pathway

Interaction Channels

Go beyond thinking soley about the customer interaction with their product. Instead, reimagine a customer’s total experience before, during and after the interaction. Away with single touchpoint thinking! Start developing a thorough multi-channels perspective that connects all the dots. Such a holistic consideration of customers touchpoints will help to point towards opportunities for extended engagement through new technologies.

Brand Identity

A unique brand identity that is tailored for the dynamic and diverse digital platforms needs to be crafted. It should embody bold promises of a refreshed experience and be adapted across the different channels. Most importantly, it should resonate with customer expectation of a brand deeply ingrained with the digital space and its unique offerings.

Content

The mediums and methods to engage and communicate with their customers meaningfully and immersively also need to be explored. Addressing the multitude of new content possibilities and narratives can draw out new ways brands can build deeper emotional connections with customers. This creates personable experience that bridges customers more closely with the brands.

This nexus of the potential channels, brand identity and content forms the CX sweet-spot, which the transformation should gravitate towards to give brands an edge.

Develop and Organize for Change

Transforming an organization to be new every day asks a lot of changes that cuts across regular boundaries and processes. Since such a change is a high risk and high reward business, brands should focus on insight management and invest in data strategy to measure, track and justify the transformation efforts. Constant review will safeguard the process and minimize the risk elements.

That is especially so in the next step. The implementation of a new CX as well as the creation of a unique and consistent brand message are challenging activities. They require many different levels of expertise and coordination across the organization to craft and execute plans across multiple touchpoints.

Brands should therefore analyze valuable data that can be extracted from its early transformation steps to validate or pivot its transformation planning. They can connect customer insights to business objectives. They can connect results of attempted changes to service objectives. This will allow for timely intervention or further development in the course of transformation.

Evidently, a transformation plan is never finalized and will need to be revisited iteratively as brands continue to collect and measure new data, technologies and interactions.

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About the author: Pim van Helten is CEO and co-founder of digital agency DPDK. He simply couldn’t pass the opportunity to co-found the agency in 2004 to make brands a better version of themselves than that they occur in a 30-second commercial. As the agency’s CEO he has made it his mission to transform brands through exceptional digitalism. With offices in the U.S. and Europe, his agency is focused on demonstrating a constant high level of quality and keeping modern brands on the offense.