Like what Chinese proverb said, “If you don’t know how to smile then you have no right to open your shop.” Similarly, nowadays if you are not internet savvy then you have no right to be in the brand marketing business. Today’s brand landscape is about the digital transformation, the internet, the whole way the world’s been changing and the digital journey has been accelerating in full speed at the never-ending road.
No matter if it is tangible or intelligible products or services, the answer is the digital journey to success. From online marriages to a slice of banana bread, the internet is playing a big role as a disintermediator.
Whereas the internet is an essential tool of today’s marketing world, but the most important aspect of the internet is that it became an easy price comparison engine. So there were predictions made that basically, the internet is going to be this vast digital commodity pit. And it would be the greatest force of shifting value creation from experience and effectiveness to efficiency.
But that’s not happened. Now, of course, efficiency is a great benefit. If a person thinks about some data show if he has a transaction which is face-to-face, the cost to the organization might be upwards even of Rs 500 to Rs 1000. A telephone interaction might be less expensive, it’s somewhere in the middle, maybe Rs 50 to Rs 150, maybe around Rs 200. And a digital interaction, often self-service, we’re talking about Rs 3-5. There’s a vast difference in cost between physical and digital experiences which has really kind of re-emphasized that efficiency focus. And taken companies away from thinking about experiences yet as we see digital data and digital opportunities of course exactly the opposite has happened. What has not happened as much, at least not for all companies, is to think about not just the journey as being one that’s convenient, smooth, easy to understand and intuitive. Which is kind of a generic way to make experiences that are digital and valuable?
But to think about, how do we think about digital and the internet as part of the expression of any brand. Are there aspects of this journey that might be destroying the brand? Or are there ones we can use the digital aspects to enhance?
Today’s brand landscape is part of that journey. If any company think about how do the company create a branded experience? Let’s go to Nespresso and their business model is not just about making high-end coffee machines and market it the coffee additive nations and in the non-coffee drinking nation like Pakistan whereas the trend is picking up among the middle-upper, upper and upper-upper classes of the country. But to Nespresso, it’s that whole club-like experience, where you’re a member of a club. And you get to have coffee advice on the telephone for example as in the West, and they spent a lot of money and they hired the right kind of people to deliver that experience. They’re part of Nestle and they really couldn’t survive and built that luxury coffee culture in their Nestle Headquarters. They created their own space, which was much more luxurious, wood-panelled walls, etc. they could have an authentic luxury experience over the telephone with their club members, their customers. Now when the Internet came along, this fed into Nespresso’s business model, they could enrich the experience even further. As a customer, you can now come and you can learn about the coffee in ways where you might not be so embarrassed to talk to somebody about coffee. They can provide a much richer interaction. They can show you where the beans came from, the way the beans are made through video and other sources. Therefore just learning about the coffee became richer. They also learned a lot more about you. What are the variants you looked at, they could update you in unobtrusive ways? Remind you of maybe when to order the coffee. They could invest in events like they invest in the events and amplify that investment by sharing that online. They could engage their customers. They have done things like your best golf shop for example. They are high-end customers many of them are golfers that provided a grand experience. And when it moved onto the mobile platform they’re in for quite a surprise, because it’s a massive investment for an espresso to go there. And they reached their sales targets far, far quicker, than they ever anticipated.
It’s much easier for today’s consumers to grab their phone, to order it right then and there than to maybe go and boot up their computer and to follow the process to call, express on themselves. Brands in today’s landscape are spending a lot to enhance the brand experience, for examples, the Nike fuel band, the Disney magic band, the Lamborghini accessory. All of those things enhance the customer experience around what the brand tries to deliver, around the brand purpose if you will. Now it doesn’t look like branding like a logo would, but these are digital experiences that add up in a consistent way to deliver on the brand promise.