By Gary Gerardy
This SCAB is about the technology of tomorrow and the impact it will have on the brand-consumer relationship. Last time I wrote a short introduction to contextualise this revolution but without bringing up the real thematic. So here let me share you what is about to integrate our lives and reinvent the way we consume. Besides we are not only going to talk about how it will make our life easier or safer but also how it will act as a disruption on the society and the way we communicate with. Because sure the consumer will be more satisfied and rewarded but he will not be the only one. Indeed this smart technologic revolution got everything a brand could dream of. From a huge access to instantaneous and authentic data to a permanent and personal dialogue with his consumer. The era of simply selling a product and then waiting to sell him the new model a year after is over. That means that the transaction does not have to be considered as a conclusion anymore but well as an introduction. An introduction that gives the opportunity to the brand to build a trusty and sustainable relationship with the consumer.
Being adopted by every sector of the industry, even the less sexy like agriculture or insurances, this new wave technologic spectre embraces the whole society. Therefore actors of the marketing are looking forward its integration among daily life. As a matter of fact, this smart technology will offer them two opportunities never had before. First, it is this quasi-ubiquity of brands alongside the consumer allowing companies to establish a regular and personalised dialogue, based on the claims and criticism of their customers, in order to adapt and improve their offer accordingly. Secondly, although we already have access to a multitude of online data we now have access to a myriad of additional behavioural and contextual data specific to the consumer. Of course, cleverness and understanding will be needed to cross and extract from the data interesting information useful to establish an engaging and adapted communication.
By investing our lives this technologic epidemic will more than ever reinforce the acronym ATAWAD (anytime anywhere any device) as this will lead to a proliferation of touch points. In fact, it is obvious that at the dawn of these over-connected era occurrences of interaction with the consumer are multiplied. Therefore it will allow a substantial increase in the frequency, intensity, and especially relevance of the relationship with customers. This not only gives the opportunity to the brand to be closer to the consumer but also to the latter to be heard more than ever before. In that case, we can say that this multiplication of touch points will improve the ultimate goal that each communicator gives itself. The ability of a brand to deliver its message to the right person at the right time and on the right platform. We can push the reflection even further by starting from the postulate that if it is now possible to access any data in time, of any object, we can consider that the era of the permanent connection escorts with it the era of anticipation and preventive maintenance
Although offering a quality experience to the consumer has always been the goal of every good advertiser. Now, armed with technological tools, more efficient by the day, as well as a variety of communication vectors, the advertiser can give free rein to his imagination in order to surprise his client and to satisfy him as best he can by offering him a real experience. To do this the brand can now offer an omnichannel experience mixing online and offline. Nevertheless, updated technology cannot be the only ingredient as we know that innovation coupled with primacy will remain ad vitae aeternam the key to success and prosperity.
Thanks to this technology there are several ways to enhance and improve the customer experience such as scheduled promotions which means that random discounts are over. Now we can address personalised promotions based on behavioural and contextual data (geo, time, weather,…). We also have rewarding marketing and gamification that drive engagement and stimulate sales. We have augmented packaging with RFID tag or Shazam code as already seen. Frictionless transaction and identification (more and more easy to do a payment or identification process like a fingerprint or visual recognition). Even connected customer service with preventive maintenance based on a permanent data analyses. But what it could also improve it is the innovation of the product itself. Indeed, given the constant exchange of data between the product and the user it offers him the opportunity to deliver authentic feedbacks. This allows the brand to identify in a relevant way the spontaneous appearance of new needs and to propose improvements and updates in line with consumer expectations.
Furthermore, to improve the products, the access to this plethora of data allows all the personalisation of the services. Knowing the consumer’s needs and preferences in a timely manner actually gives brands the privilege of being able to offer them exclusive and tailor-made experiences. This privilege is, of course, an important source of added value to the relationship with its client and is a significant opportunity to differentiate itself from other brands. However, if the customization of services is still done for the moment based on studies conducted by marketing teams it will soon be irrelevant. As a matter of fact, the analysis of these data will be done thanks to the artificial intelligence of our connected objects equipped with algorithms and machine learning. It will then be possible to anticipate and even predict consumer desires, needs and behaviours. But then again it will be imperative to ensure the proper use of these predictions and expectations at the risk of losing the loyalty of a customer if they are misdirected or displaced
If this process of data exploitation is therefore carefully respected and undertaken in an intelligent manner then a beneficial relationship between both parties is potentially conceivable between the brand and its consumer. However for a win-win relationship to be established there is a clear need for trust and candour to prevail. To do this there are no other ways for the brand to reflect each of its intentions and operations demonstrating the use of personal data specific to the consumer while ensuring absolute respect for his private life. If these two conditions are met then the brand can benefit from the trust of the consumer and even its loyalty.
For a brand to benefit from the esteem of a user, and that the latter becomes incidentally a consumer, it is, therefore, essential that full transparency from the brand is provided. Only then the brand can be valued by the consumer and eventually lead to a relationship of trust between the two. As in any relationship, this trust is the ultimate condition for a rich and lasting exchange between the brand and its consumer. In other words, the consumer is all the more inclined to share his data when he is aware of their use and destination. They realised that their data are used and especially valuable. So brands can no longer take profit of user’s data without giving a counterpart to customers and offering a more altruistic method. This is why many companies are turning themselves to new practices that provide users with the tools to not only directly control shared personal data and traces left online but also the possibility to monetise these data.
It is thus thanks to an integral transparency of the operations but also to an optimal trust between the actors, that a system beneficial to both parties is possible. Brands can then benefit from valuable information and insights in all honesty with not only the consent of the consumer but also his trust. While the latter, in addition to the feeling of contributing to the choice of brands, decides personally to share his data and their capitalisation. Especially since beyond the perception of an advantage by the monetisation of its data it acquires the exclusivity to enjoy a quality service, personalised and adapted to its needs.
I’m stopping here. Just before it starts to get really exciting. Next SCAB I’ll go over how it is going to put the economy and the way we consume upside down by passing from a product economy to a service economy until reshaping the famous Consumer Decision Journey. Without forgetting automatisation of services and AI relationship that will be soon part of our daily lives.