Many companies have already transformed their business models to meet the demands of digitally empowered customers. Now they find themselves facing competition from newer business models that have begun to adapt to the next wave of digital transformation: the real-time expectations of customers, a complete fragmentation of media, and economic activism.
It’s tempting to simplify digital transformation by throwing the latest technological trends at your efforts. But experience gained during the first wave of digital transformation suggests that technology is not the most important element of brand transformation. Success most often depends on developing the talent and processes that will drive your digital transformation business outcomes in the long term.
There are five key areas you should never take your eye off when preparing your brand for digital transformation, be it the first or second wave.
Viewing digital transformation as an objective in itself is a recipe for disaster. Understanding how transformation will allow your organisation to reach its specific goals is critical to success. And this exercise of understanding should always be carried out in context. What is right for one business is far from ideal for another.
The objectives you want to achieve with digital transformation should always be informed by your organization’s vision and goals, its hierarchy, and its unique culture and infrastructure. Taking the time to clarify your brand transformation objectives, within your unique context, will provide you with invaluable insight as you map out your digital transformation journey. This will also help you navigate change in the long-term, with the support of your executive.
Knowing exactly how and why your consumers engage with your brand is no longer confined to a persona document that’s unlikely to make it out of the marketing department. The mainstreaming of automation, artificial intelligence, mobile connectivity, and the IoT, means consumers expect to engage with your brand in a number of ways that give them choice of channel, and when and how they choose to interact. These expectations are proving highly disruptive for brands who aren’t already in the process of transforming their business models to include a seamless, on-demand customer experience.
Transformation that brings tangible business results can be as simple as transforming your branded merchandise program to digital merchandising. This could be in the form of an online company store. Real-time data for inventory, authorization, and budget control, along with approved supplier lists, agreements, and performance, and a secure brand artwork library, give you the information you’ll need to quickly make the right business decisions and accurate forecasts.
Use your digital transformation efforts to introduce functionality and tools that drive collaboration across departments. By automating as many functions as possible, employees are able to spend more time collaborating, in real-time, on the things that matter. In addition, automated workflows and integrated functions result in easier access no matter where on the globe your staff or customers happen to be.
At the top of the list of next wave digital transformation enablers are: intelligent automation, human-machine collaboration, and the IoT. Mobility is also on the rise, as is wearable technology with more than 125 million wearable devices expected to sell in 2019. Other key disruptive technologies that are set to form the foundation blocks of the new digital business platform ecosystem are Edge and Blockchain. Advanced cybersecurity should always be front and centre of your digital transformation initiatives. Cyber breach incidents will result in your efforts being delayed or completely derailed.
As you bring digital transformation initiatives online, keep in mind that you will need to build trust between your brand and customer. Without trust the relationship, no matter how tech-savvy, will fail. It’s become too easy to block your efforts to approach new customers or retain those you already have. You’ve never had to work harder at building trust with your customers. It has also never been easier for your brand to be dealt a fatal blow by digital influencers and empowered economic activists.
As you begin to evolve the customer journey, carry out a reality check of your organisation. This will not only include clarifying the customer journey within your unique context. It will take a hard look at your brand’s societal values in addition to the value proposition of your products. That way, you’ll be ready to map an enhanced experience for your customers, with the assurance that the journey and experience will continue to harness digital transformation for the best business outcomes for your brand.
Proforma Durkee is the online company store expert. Their best-in-class workflow technology platform and more than 500 contracted partners, continue to ensure that 40,000+ online company stores get the most out of their branded merchandise programs for as little time and money as possible. If you’re ready to discuss creating an online store for your company, please contact us and let's chat.
For more information about the benefits on an online company store, you can download our free infographic, The future of corporate branding is digital, that explores topics like easy reporting, brand consistency, inventory control, automated workflow, and budget control.