Koen van Dillen, IBEXA Country Business Manager & Partner Director Benelux, kicked off the event presenting the new challenge for brands: being able to ignite emotions through digital experiences. As he emphasized, “AI does not know about emotions like a human does” and this completely changes a relationship. In parallel, users are increasingly sensitive to brands’ investments in ESG practices. If it is not a must have so far, it will become in the years to come and lucky will be those who will have anticipated this future requirements to foster long-term engagement.
ING Luxembourg Head of Corporate Services Barbara Daroca explained that, to achieve this, it is not necessarily about reinventing the wheel, but actually about reassessing values that we have built over time and share – which in fact represents the basics of the customer experience. In other words, it presents essential to preserve the brand’s narrative arc while adapting to ever-evolving trends and addressing customers’ expectations – notably in the digital world.
Amazon Head of EU Luxury stores Xin Yuan recalled that, in recent years, “there has been a shift to create personalized experiences”. This means that customers are more and more driving brands’ strategies, in the sense that they need to follow their customers on the platforms they use. To decide which channels to use – as there is now a wide range of options – HIFI International Digital Marketing Manager Thibault Puls recommends leveraging this decision on data. This helps decide which channels are the most relevant, so as to invest in the right targets to remain visible to their (potential) customers.
And this can all be achieved in accordance with digital responsibility, which symbolizes a real lever for innovations and an improved user experience. As UX-Republic Co-Founder and General Manager Yann Cadoret said, it is possible to design more ethically and hence embrace “an approach that is part of a trajectory of positive impact on the economic, but also social, societal and environmental levels”. Brands now have the obligation to align their strategy with these levels; and if they do not, upcoming reglementations will oblige them to – such as the GDPR did more recently for instance.
Besides, it has become clear that an efficient customer experience passes through content. Cadoret raised an interesting comparison between a copywriter and a UX writer perspective. The former tends to be oriented on sales and marketing “use sexy words”, whereas the latter concentrates on product and customer experience “say things with simple words and as transparent as possible”. And this is what matters the most now, using simple words to explain the relevance of a product or service, its utility. Concretely, the #lessismore approach has never been so accurate.
Addressing customers’ needs has to remain the priority in the way brands interact with customers. Similarly, when it comes to solving customers’ issues, Barbara Daroca highlighted that the human touch will make the difference in an ever-growing digital world. “The idea is to keep easing people’s lives thanks to technology but to understand and be able to react the day they meet a problem because on that specific day, they need to feel special, to talk to someone that will handle their problems and reactivity together with human interactions at that moment will make a difference.”
A statement shared by Governance.com Head of Marketing & Communications, Jessica Sicre, offered that relying increasingly on digital solutions and technology, such as ChatGPT, has become the new black. It is certain that technologies – such as automation – prove useful to optimize and free up human capital to focus on value-added tasks. Digitalization is not about technology in the end, but about people. The challenge is to find the right balance between physical and digital experiences. Retaining the authenticity of voice and human relations will remain key to continued marketing success.
Some brands are already working on the long-term engagement of their customers such as Amazon developing further conversational marketing. Yuan explained “today we work with brands to anticipate questions and make relevant product placement. If someone asks: ‘Alexa, my skin is dry, what can I do?’ The tool will answer and suggest a product from this specific brand. This will contribute to the brand awareness and, in the end, potentially bring new customers.”
As Van Dillen reminded “You should all buy your own product.” Best ambassadors and first ones are the employees of the company. To create unique experiences, they need to validate the process themselves, to take the user seat. The greatest challenge now lies in creating synergies within the different departments of a company because if the best experience is now linked to a phygital approach, not only the IT and marketing teams are involved but the entire chain to increase the value proposition.