Simplifying the newly complex

By Amale Ghalbouni, Experience Director, Siegel+Gale

Customer experience has been high on the agenda for some time. Businesses have scrambled to introduce a new piece of tech or demonstrate their transformation programme to tackle today’s complexity.

However, brand – the most instantly recognisable part of any experience – is often an afterthought in this process. The truth is, brands are dynamic; they don’t exist in a vacuum. They are shaped and felt by people across the entire journey. Not just by customers. The brand is experienced by all stakeholders–consumers, partners, investors and employees.

As the world becomes more complex, and expectations evolve, brands that simplify their experiences and understand the need to overdeliver on those expectations will come out ahead of the competition.

Be true to your values and listen to your customers

It is no coincidence that brands delivering best-in-class experiences possess a common thread. All demonstrate authenticity through their brand values and base their offerings on deep insight of their customer needs and behaviours.

Authentic values resonate with customers, particularly younger generations, who are increasingly seeking out brands that align with their ways of thinking. Brands that try to force their way into a conversation or operate in a space that they don’t belong, will inevitably do themselves more harm than good. Commenting on a social movement is OK, as long as it’s authentic and you belong in the conversation.

By having a deep understanding of customer needs and behaviours, brands can ensure their values and purpose are aligned with those customers. And as long as it is authentic, this will resonate with the audience. Don’t be afraid to pick a side. Customers are increasingly choosing brands that are standing up for what they believe in; and what the customer believes in. However, if you simply pay lip service and don’t follow through on these statements, you will be quickly found out, and retribution will likely be swift and severe.

Simplify down to the core truth and focus on that

Very few brands can be everything to everyone. Many brands successfully provide a best-in-class experience by simplifying their offering to solve a specific problem or capitalise on a niche opportunity. When armed with a deep understanding of your customers, you are positioned to offer them what they need, where and when they need it. Focus on the touchpoints that matter most. You don’t need to reengineer the experience across the entire journey. By getting the important things right you can make sure you are in position to expand on the experience later on. Experience shows that sometimes the smallest, incremental changes can have the biggest impact.

As The Simplicity Company, we believe less is more. We use PinPoint, our proprietary research tool, to uncover what truly matters. By simplifying down to this core truth, you can then amplify what is important and what will resonate, allowing customers to align to your values. In a world as complex as ours, streamlining is a decisive factor to create meaningful experiences. Simplify to amplify!

Adapt to stay ahead and future-proof your business

While on occasion it may fall into the category of buzzword, disruption is very much real. You don’t need to go far to see the heavyweight brands that have been affected. From retail and travel, to automotive and entertainment, no industry is immune, with disruption often being driven by a new start-up, or from out-of-sector.

Future-proofing your brand against disruption is vital, and speed is key in this process. A nimble brand can traverse uncertainty and complexity by leaving space for organic adaption. While plans will likely continue to go out the window this year, you can still go about gaining a real understanding of your customer. However, this cannot be an isolated exercise. A feedback loop is required to ensure you have consistent overview of your customer needs and you evolve and adapt as customers evolve and adapt themselves to a rapid changing environment. This will offer real-time insight allowing you to shift as necessary and stay ahead of the curve.

Purpose is your north star

Your purpose is your guiding light in challenging times. An understanding of who you are and why you get up in the morning will inform any quick decisions you need to make. Businesses will always experience macro and micros challenges, and while the experience you offer may evolve, if it remains based on your core truth, your customers will accompany you, becoming active participants in your journey of change.