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CX Martech Brand Strategy

Together, brands and agencies must forge a blueprint for digital transformation

By Rick Madigan, Lead strategist

UNRVLD

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April 18, 2023 | 8 min read

Composability, hyper-personalization, digital transformation: where do we start? Rick Madigan of Unrvld looks at agencies’ and brands’ roles in the digital transformation timeline.

Man looking at hologram

Organizations must step out of their own pockets and see the bigger picture to guide brands through the change. / Ashwin Vaswani

For the past few years, the industry has talked about seamless, omnichannel experiences and the need for modern, composable architectures to power this new digital world. While some notable brands, particularly in the B2C space, have forged ahead with their own digital transformations, leveraging emerging technology to redefine digital experiences, many brands have not moved as quickly.

The pandemic certainly gave industries a boost but a lot of digital transformation activity focused on improving efficiencies. Monolithic, legacy technology stacks resembling tangled balls of string and organizational silos have slowed the pace for many.

We’re headed towards a crunch point, particularly as the shift of power moves from stakeholders who could arguably be described as ‘digital followers’ towards the ‘digital pioneers’.

We’re in a period of acceptance where these new stakeholders accept the slower pace of digital adoption by brands, but future generations will be far less forgiving. Combined with issues in the global economy and ongoing discussions about wastage and sustainability, brands are being pushed to face their fear, tackling these challenges to truly supercharge digital transformation.

Concepts such as ‘composable’, ‘hyper-personalization’ and ‘Total Experience’ are banded about in the industry but, for many brands, there is one overriding question: where do we start?

More than a digital vision

We’ve worked with brands from all manner of industries, each industry with its own nuances, challenges, trends and rates of digital adoption. There’s a mix of initiatives into low-code development to ease developer bottlenecks, data strategies to iterate towards the single customer view and platforms to move towards a composable architecture.

All of these are positive steps, but the common theme observed is the lack of a big picture that can bring all parts of the organization together and generate a clear, shared roadmap.

There’s no magic technology or innovation that enables this. It is a relatively simple concept, yet one that is too often missed. It’s more than a digital vision (which is important).

In essence, it’s a blueprint, bringing together multiple strands to clearly articulate where the business is headed, the interdependencies between these strands and providing the top-line information needed to forge this roadmap. This big picture must span the present and the future, showing side-by-side where the brand is and where they want to be.

For many organizations, documentation exists covering pieces of this but these are often held within their own pockets – obscuring the bigger picture. This is where agencies can bring their expertise from multiple industries to bear, guiding brands through this exercise, aggregating existing information and surfacing new information for the existing, while educating and supporting through the creation of the new. This can be deployed through five strands.

Experience

The end-to-end experience for your customers, spanning online and offline. We’re thinking through all the steps that happen from initial introduction to ongoing custom and advocacy.

Channels

Where are we interacting at these touchpoints, spanning online and offline options?

Processes

If we think back to the principles of Total Experience, we cannot forget the employees, what they are doing and how they are doing it against each touchpoint.

Technology

What technology is involved at each touchpoint, what is it powering (for end-users, employees or both), what is happening at that touchpoint and what dependencies exist between?

Data

What data is being captured at each touchpoint and where is it stored as well as what data is used (or required) to power specific touchpoints and where is that data pulled from? Bringing it into a visual medium (e.g., Miro, Figma) is key, allowing the blueprints for the present and future to be laid out side-by-side.

However, while this alone will highlight the changes to People, Processes and Platforms that need to be made to realize the brand’s digital vision, it is not enough. We need to understand the value, whether that be money made or money saved.

An additional strand of value or impact can be applied, ideally quantifiable, to assign the current and forecasted value to these touchpoints, providing the context needed to break down what seemed to be an insurmountable challenge into iterative steps forward, albeit steps forward that are aligned to a shared vision.

It becomes a living and breathing artifact with both current and future updated at regular cadences to illustrate where you are and where you are headed, identifying the wins along the way, the lessons learned and the new opportunities on the horizon.

For me, this is the key to unlocking a brand’s digital transformation, bringing digital visions to life and focusing brands on the problems to be solved in the right order. Without it, we will continue to see the notable minority forging ahead with exciting new experiences while others trail in their dust.

CX Martech Brand Strategy

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UNRVLD

UNRVLD is a digital experience and technology agency that puts business outcomes first. We work with results driven organisations worldwide where digital experience...

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