Digital Essay 2019: Digital creativity, bridging the gap between consumers & brands by Yasmine El Nashar, Isobar MENA

By Yasmine El Nashar, New business manager, Isobar MENA

Put simply, experience is the only effective medium a brand can utilise to gain access into the lives and minds of consumers. A customer-centric experience, more specifically, is one that places the customer at the heart of communications and drives brands to redesign their strategies to satisfy the specific needs of the market. As such, customer-centric experiences are one of the few tools available in the industry capable of leaving a lasting impression on target audiences.

The previously pervasive “one-size-fits-all” business model is no longer relevant in the contemporary market and brands are starting to come to terms with the idea that their once far-reaching arm of influence no longer extends to the cash register. Customers are just now discovering this new-found power, categorising brands into two distinct groups: support or ignore. The highly connected lifestyle consumers lead has forced businesses to think beyond their product and consider how their brand is perceived emotionally by their customers. In short, it is no longer enough to focus on the customisation of products and services but, more importantly, the customisation of the customer journey and positive sentiments associated with it. As consumers continue to seek out unique products and experiences, personalisation and creating engaging tailor-made consumer experiences as a trend is expected to continue and develop.

Data analytics, technology and creativity combined result in the development and design of distinctive customer experiences. However, with data becoming more accessible to business leaders and technology more widely available, the only element remaining capable of differentiating brands from each other is the creative use of digital. Through the innovative use of technology (rather than merely its inclusion), we can then creatively use data analytics to personalise the products and services offered to consumers. Creativity holds the key to the proverbial box, while also unlocking new insights that can transform the opinions audiences have towards a brand. It is an evolution from the textbook customer experience (CX) to the contemporary creative experience. Only through the smart fusion of creativity and technology will we be capable of delivering exceptional quality and transforming brand experiences.

Digital creativity is not only a critical component of CX in the future of brand-building, but is also crucial in its ability to drive commerce and bridge the gap between inspiration and transaction. The modern consumer expects a brand to treat them as a single entity across all touchpoints to unify their shopping experience, whether in-store or online. With e-commerce already being a critical aspect in the success of businesses today, placing the customer at the heart of their philosophy is the strategy by which businesses can develop a flexible technological infrastructure that delivers an outstanding customer experience for the new digital economy.

With that being said, agencies are now expected to base digitally led campaigns on transformational strategies powered by creativity and supported by data analytics and innovative technology. In order to do so, we need to consider the three main aspects that define an effective customer experience: emotional, functional and tangible.

  1. Emotional: It must be about the brand-story told through memorable content in a way that resonates with customers on a personal level.
  2. Functional: Is it convenient and does it promote audience interaction? Customers demand speed in browsing and selection, payment and transaction, and delivery and service.
  3. Tangible: The points-of-contact throughout the customer journey with the brand – an exchange over social media or a one-to-one conversation. Being accessible should be the way brands seek to engage with current and future customers, which will make it easier for them to test and learn.

In the Middle East, many markets still haven’t begun implementing customer-centric customised experiences, which leaves a lot of space for innovative solutions to flourish, adding more value to people’s lives and winning customers’ loyalty. Moreover, this creates more opportunities of growth for all brands – big and small.

At Isobar, we help brands identify human truths, solve human problems and serve fundamental human needs. Our understanding of emotional connections plays a critical role in the process. Today, the experience and the brand have become interconnected, allowing us to partner with our clients to creatively transform businesses, brands and people’s lives.