In 2019, 70% of companies had a digital transformation strategy or were working on one, but only 7% of them had fully implemented them. We all know what happened next.
Suffice to say, 2020 saw both businesses and consumers pivot to a digital-only existence out of necessity, and timescales collapsed. Even before then, complementary megatrends such as urbanisation fuelled the acceleration of digital.
Our relationship to digital may now be more intense than ever, but it has also matured. We have, for the most part, become naturalised. It is perhaps this increased level of comfort, combined with the acceleration in the digital transition, that has encouraged consumers to experiment with new ways of accessing products and services. Broadly, brands can be understood as having been ‘born digital’ or ‘become digital’. ‘Born digital’ brands can sometimes lack brand depth, remaining overly transactional and more prone to substitution. ‘Become digital’ brands have the benefits of legacy in terms of brand strength, but also the disadvantage of sometimes cumbersome and poorly integrated channels, systems and operations.
While each faces different challenges, transformation is levelling the playing field. In an age of digital dexterity, customer and user experience have become essential pillars of business strategy. Whoever you are, a focus on creating a unified customer experience that spans all touchpoints, channels, platforms and mediums should be mandatory.
In Deloitte’s words, customers want a ‘single source of truth’. However, its research found a profound disconnect between customer expectations and the reality of their customer experience. Some 75% of consumers said they expected consistency in their interactions with a company, but 58% said they ‘felt they were communicating with separate departments and not one company’.
Consumers now use multiple digital touchpoints throughout a non-linear buying journey. There are new points of sale, such as mobile and social commerce, during purchase. So, perhaps naturally, the conversation on bridging the gap between customer’s expectations and the reality of their experience has often revolved around digital technologies, data, and processes. After all, without strategies, intelligence and systems in place to align departments and create cohesive internal operations, how do you create transformation?
In our view, any conversation that isn’t firmly rooted in brand misses a vital part of the equation that could explain the disconnect. Brand is the ‘single source of truth’. And that is what will create value in both a unified and differentiated experience, one that is more brand than bland.
There’s a lot of talk about customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX), which have led digital transformation for many businesses. We find roughly 70% of businesses have a digital transformation strategy. But what about brand experience?
Customer experience (CX) focuses on the experience people have when interacting with a company overall (i.e. customer service online and offline, ease of purchase, etc.) User experience (UX) focuses on the experience people have when interacting with your product/service (i.e. website design, signing into a platform, etc.)
So why is it important to focus on brand experience? First, your customers are demanding brands to offer exceptional experiences across the board. Ultimately, customers expect you to be on the channels that they use, but they don’t exactly care about the channel – they care about the experience.