The brand. Considered as one of the company’s most valuable “assets”, of which it is often the only face and therefore the only emotional bridge linking it to the general public, the brand is an essential pivot of an activity, let alone when this one operates its digital transformation.
Nobody doubts the effectiveness of brands to respond to issues of value creation. A brand that stays consistent across all of its platforms can boost a company’s revenue by more than 20% (Forbes, 2018). Worldwide, 8 out of 10 managers believe that the success of a process of the digital transformation of the business depends largely on its level of taking into account the brand, its vision and its mission (HBR, 2017). There are thousands of articles, numbers, references to support this point. Nobody doubts the effectiveness of brands to meet business challenges, yet in a context of digital transformation, their role is now heavily questioned.
Reason # 1: In the world of measurable business performance, brands are intangible assets. We can, of course, measure the value of a brand very precisely. These calculations carried out by very serious institutes, however, take into account an intangible part in the value of the brands, said share being in fact constantly increasing for about forty years. And this intangible part hardly finds its right place in an excel spreadsheet …
Reason # 2: It takes concrete to build a solid brand experience (market analysis, identification of opportunities, audience strategy in particular). But not only: we must also bring into play symbols and emotions. This symbolic and emotional dimension is extremely complex to understand. The mechanisms that feed it throughout an interaction are difficult to grasp. And to be honest, hard to translate into features.
Reason # 3: A successful brand experience is not necessarily the best customer experience. In contexts of digital transformation, and therefore of experience design, it is often the “convenience” that is the main design key. And that’s quite normal: convenience creates value. By identifying and solving bread points, she makes transactions easy, quick and comfortable. But when “convenience” is the only key to designing an experience, then it comes with a terrible corollary for brands: standardization. In the strict sense of the term, brand experience must be specific, memorable and meaningful. But experience only
Just as the big brands know how to distill, throughout the experience they deliver in real life, moments that are specific and highly attributable to them (a toy in a children’s menu, sweets and a bottle of water in the back of a taxi car, etc.), so they must be able to offer such moments in the experiences they deliver on the digital. Moments “signals” that express without ambiguity their platform, their values, their mission, in the form of contents obviously, but especially of functionalities.
The challenge is to succeed in translating emotional assets into distinctive features that can create value for users. In these conditions, digital transformation represents a great opportunity for brands because they find a new medium of expression, in addition to communication – almost a new media: experience. And conversely, brands represent a real opportunity for the digital transformation of companies, because they require to go further than the “refresher”, or even the “best-in-class”, in the design of an experiment: they require to make sense of it.