Technology adoption has accelerated the blend of online, at home, and on the go. All industries are being affected to varying degrees.
We are starting to see big waves.
From the recent news about agency mergers (Omnicom/Publicis), to media companies looking to reinvent the experience (Bloomberg Media Group hiring Justin Smith from The Atlantic)#, to shopping sites opening stores to make their products tangible (e.g., Warby Parker, BaubleBar, Proper Cloth, Bonobos, Piperlime) and vice versa, department stores looking to learn all about digital integration (e.g., Nordstrom#, Kate Spade Saturday, Sephora).
All driven by customer behavior, including the broad adoption of smartphones and tablets, which is blurring the line between digital and in store. Another line that is blurring is that of media and brands.
Scale is possible again
Scale looks a lot different with digital at the core. Because now we're talking about service design and you can put the customer at the center where she belongs.
Not in the loyalty messaging of airline mileage programs flavor that is basically utilized as a measure or tally of what we spend. Designing a channel agnostic experience that adapts to motivation, learns intent, and helps people do what they want to do based on context looks more like indulging or encouraging future behavior.
Companies and brands are also going direct -- and learning from the early examples from retail commerce, they are getting to know their customers, in some cases for the very first time.
It turns out that grabbing an email address and building a list don't equal knowing what your customers or the buyers of your service want and need. Even when they tell you, parsing the difference between what people say and what they actually do is often a challenge.
Social as signal of intent and mobile as in mobility have changed the equation to software AND service. You need to be thinking about both for your digital presence and outpost, as well as your physical products (see wearable technologies#) and/or locations.
Implications for brands
Brands are generating content for an average of 178 social accounts#. Add to that community moderation, customer support, etc. you can see how this could potentially fragment into a very expensive proposition resource-wise.
Indeed, brands are not in the media business. Unless they are media brands, they are in the cars, fashion apparel, beauty and care, sports equipment, eyewear, home improvement business, etc. However, they should care where you see their content, so they can learn where to prioritize their resources.
The best experiences are connected -- we'd like to pick up where we left off, or have easy access wherever we are. We're getting there. Outsourcing the entire backend and audience acquisition to the big social platforms needs to be considered carefully beyond content ownership considerations.
Taking control of your promises increasingly looks like making a play for curating the conversation, AND the experience, back onto your home turf -- see the San Francisco Giants new social space and their corporate partnership with Peet's Coffee & Tea.
[image courtesy colleague Jonathan Lupo]
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.