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June 17, 2016

Creating unique and relevant customer experiences across your customers end to end journeys is one of the best ways to achieve durable competitive advantage and sustainable growth. Digitally savvy customers can purchase anything they like from anywhere, at any time.

How can you build deep brand loyalty in this competitive, constantly changing environment? How can you bring together the digital and the physical to seamlessly engage more deeply with your customers? How can you deliver the kinds of experiences your customers want and need at all points in their end to end customer journey?

Here are just a few examples of how some brands are successfully leveraging digital technologies to do just that.

Deliver relevant, contextual, and engaging experiences

No matter what kinds of products and/or services you offer, its the experience customers have with your brand that they will remember. Great experiences provide enduring satisfaction, long after the thrill of a new purchase fades away. Experiences live on in the stories we tell and the memories we treasure.

Burberry is an example of a brand that delivers relevant, engaging customer experiences that are sure to be remembered. Their flagship store in Londons Regent Street is designed to be a brick-and-mortar version of their website Its one of the best examples of a brand that provides a truly consistent online and in-store experience. When you enter the store, you are greeted by a huge digital screen, giving you the sensation of physically experiencing their online homepage. You can experience every facet of the Burberry brand through immersive and engaging multimedia content displayed on screens throughout the store. RFID is woven into selected apparel and accessories, triggering contextual multimedia content relevant to the products. Mirrors can turn instantly into screens with runway footage and exclusive video, and satellite technology enables the live streaming of events into the store.

The lines between physical and digital blur and the experiences are relevant, contextual and engaging.

Recognize the need to share experiences

Were social animals. We develop and learn about the world around us by sharing our experiences with other people. Our connections to others are key to our survival and to our happiness and success.

Retailers can build deeper engagement with customers by creating channels for them to share their experiences with each other. Coke and Burberry are examples of two brands who are using digital marketing to do just thatboth in-store and online.

My Coke Rewards is a customer loyalty marketing program that encourages engagement and interaction. Customers earn points in a number of ways that build community and encourage sharing. They can enter codes on specially marked Coca-Cola products, build their status by participating in activities, and earn points for sharing stories. Points can be redeemed to earn rewards, enter sweepstakes, donate to charities or unlock activities. For example, your family can win $10k for doin good by creating a meme and sending it along with a photo of a parent who is doing good. With Cokes Lyrical Labels, customers can dedicate a song to someone special and make a karaoke video to share with the broader community. And while customers are sharing their interests, Coke is learning more about them and building deeper brand loyalty.

Harley-Davidson is another great example of a brand that encourages customers to share their experiences, resulting in strong communities and deeper brand engagement. The Ride with Us community page features links to landing pages for specific groups including:

  • Harlistas which features video stories and photos of Latino Harely-Davidson riders
  • Women Riders with stories about women riders with links to their Instagram sites
  • IronElite celebrating African American riders and the journeys they take on their Harley-Davidsons
  • Military & Veteran Riders which honors and supports those who serve with free Riding Academy training to U.S. military and first responders, soldiers stories, the history Harley-Davidson has with the military, and support for the Wounded Warrior Project to organized to improve the lives of servicemen and women who are living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

With a deep understanding of peoples needs to share and feel connected, Harley-Davidson has successfully created a community of enthusiasts that includes members from diverse groups, giving them all a reason to belong.

Provide new, innovative experiences

Innovation is also important to customers. The human capacity for habituation is both a good and a bad thing. Its a good thing in the face of tragedy and loss because it allows us to rise above our challenges and find ways to live happy lives. In the case of positive things, however, habituation can be a challenge. We are, for example, excited when we buy a new sofa, a new car or a new house, but that excitement wanes over time and we long for something shiny and new.

Retailers like Amazon have turned this human trait into an opportunity. And its no surprise. Innovation is a core value at Amazon. In fact, Jeff Besos is known to ask employees and candidates what they have invented, showing the importance he places on innovation. Amazon continues to push boundaries and surprise and delight customers with new innovative services and offerings. From Prime Now which delivers orders in one hour to Amazon Dash, which lets consumers connect a small device to their home Wi-Fi networks to reorder items with just a press of a button, Amazon is constantly providing customers with new, innovative experiences.

Customers are looking for new, exciting experiences. They want to learn new things, try different products, co-create new personalized items and customize the things they buy. They want to have relevant, engaging experiences they can share with others. And they want to be entertained. Brands that leverage technology to deliver experiences that make customers lives better, provide a sense of sharing and belonging, and continue to evolve through ongoing innovation will thrive.

Kathleen Holm is Marketing Director of the TCS Digital Software & Solutions (DS&S) Group. She has more than 25 years of experience marketing technology software and services to enterprises worldwide. She leverages her extensive background in enterprise software technology to help organizations develop effective marketing strategies, create targeted messaging and positioning, and implement effective go-to-market plans to improve corporate performance. Prior to joining TCS, Kathleen was a Senior Principal of technical product marketing for Oracle Fusion Middleware where she was responsible for defining the marketing strategy based on industry maturity and customer trends. She also held positions at IBM including Market Manager for WebSphere Developer Programs, Market Manager for Tivoli Integrated Service Management and Tivoli Brand Specialist. Prior to joining IBM, Kathleen worked with four high-tech startups.


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