But truly innovative brands are able to redefine their relevance with their consumers and this isn’t built on gadgets and gizmos. It is built on useful and often surprising brand experiences.
So what does today’s digital consumer expect from a brand? Consumers expect brands to be relevant, useful and functional. This doesn’t mean throwing out the creativity, but it does mean getting everything that must work to work flawlessly.
1. Assess the experience
Today user experience (UX) is rather confined to the optimisation of web pages and funnels, but these principles should really be expanded to every touch-point where a consumer can interact with a brand, whether it’s online or offline. We often start by documenting every touch-point before assessing how these engagements deliver on the overall brand experience. Today’s multi-channel environment is infinitely more complex and automated, so it takes time to review the call centre, the web checkout, the CRM emails, the advertising and the social media channels.
2. What are the hygiene factors?
Web pages have to load on smartphones, enquiry forms have to submit, and checkouts have to process payments – quickly. These are hygiene factors. List the things that have to work and focus on them. A bad experience travels with social currency, but a good experience is usually a basic expectation.
3. Use tech to enable
Innovation is about being useful, a methodology that’s sometimes lost on marketers. So you can’t start by dictating the tech, ‘we need a mobile app’ or ‘we would like to use augmented reality’. If technology is the bedrock of a new campaign, then start by defining what it will do and how it will help your customer. Technology is its own stakeholder, ensure it has a meaningful and affordable role.
4. Be surprising
Always remember that people like to discover new things, and this is where innovation has an opportunity to shine. It’s in these moments that brands get to define themselves. Whether it’s a ground breaking advertising campaign that engages people in new ways or a new way of experiencing products, if it’s relevant, helpful and surprising then it’s innovative.
At AgencyUK, we pride ourselves on developing meaningful brand experiences that are enabled by new technologies. They’re effective because we believe today everyone is a digital consumer, and they must be placed at the heart of all brand communications. We encourage our clients and each individual in our organisation to think of themselves as an influencer, one who remains alive to changes in technology, trends and tastes. That’s how we remain innovative, on behalf of ourselves and our client brands.
It’s a holistic approach and a habitual one. It’s in our nature. And nature evolves.
This article originally featured in The Drum on 17th September 2015.