Digital technologies and innovations are transforming our world. Everywhere we look, traditional norms are being overthrown as new platforms, channels and devices re-write the script for business in 2016 and beyond.
Change is inevitable but it’s not something you can just ride out. As changes in technology and behaviour increase in pace many organisations simply have no idea what to do in order to stay relevant. Digital transformation is more than a buzzword; it’s an on-going process that businesses have to go through, but it’s one that many get wrong.
On March 1, 2016, we held an event ‘Unlocking Your Digital Transformation’ at The Ivy in London, exploring digital transformation and what it means for organisations of all sizes in all sectors. Each speaker brought various specialties and insight to the table.
The result? A comprehensive and in-depth analysis of digital transformation and what it means for brands – today and tomorrow.
Opening Remarks & Speech
James founded Organic in 2006. He has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Digital Transformation within business and has worked with many big organisations.
James began by discussing the new reality of life in 2016, the barriers to tech being lower than ever before. Drawing influence from Maslow’s famous quote, “If you only have a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail,” James continued to discuss how businesses can’t use the same strategy (hammer) for every problem (nail).
In the face of tech changes, James believes in practical human development to ensure that teams break down silos and enable transformation throughout a company. Here are some key takeaways from James’ speech:
Empower People to Drive Digital Transformation
Digital transformation needs to be people centric. It’s not about having the latest and flashiest tech, but about ensuring that people use technology as an enabler. Brands need to take an anthropological approach to digital transformation, ensuring that tomorrow’s generation is given the necessary tools and freedom to use tech in the most appropriate way possible.
Test & Learn
Test and learn through small, incremental advancements to discover what works and what doesn’t. This could be as simple as asking yourself – does Instagram or Snapchat work better for us than Facebook or Twitter? Which devices are our customers gravitating towards? Only by testing different technologies and platforms will brands develop an understanding of what works and what doesn’t.
Change is the only constant and the only thing we can guarantee. The best brands are able to shift and are open to rapid change, but you need to get the behaviours right in order to effect change. We need to leverage change and see it as positive, embracing digital advancements when they fit our company’s goals and objectives.
The next session of the day saw Linsey Wooldridge sit down with James Moffat to discuss the digital challenges she faced while working as Retail Marketing Director for the UK’s largest owner and manager of retail space, British Land.
Linsey was confronted with a problem: how do you understand customers in an Omnichannel world?
Customer-Centric Digital Strategy
Linsey advocates a customer-first approach to digital transformation. She discussed how she helped British Land develop a much deeper understanding of customers’ wants and needs by asking them directly. This often meant breaking down digital barriers by approaching people directly in shopping malls up and down the country. Armed with this insight, Linsey was able to gather a much rounder view of different demographics and how they interacted with digital.
Here are some of Linsey’s most important takeaways:
“Digital does not exist in a bubble.”
“Leave your ego at the door and walk in the shoes of your consumers.”
“Embrace serendipity, lean into the unknown.”
Digital Transformation through People
Tiffany addressed key ideas of engaging workforces to ensure that digital transformation can properly take effect. She believes in five dials of digital transformation.
- Vision Strategy
- Customer Experience
Tiffany believes brands need to ask: “What is our most attractive digital face?” Brands can help to create this environment internally by embracing modern developments in the connected workforce.
Digital capability mapping (how can brands leverage and measure their digital workforce) is vitally important to any successful digital strategy. By attracting and retaining digital talent, brands will have a greater chance of implementing successful digital transformation. This stems from greater internal nativity with digital tech, but can also arise through employee digital education, something Tiffany believes all brands should be implementing. The right tools, information and support are all facilities that brands can use for employee advocacy.
Session: Panel Discussion
(Left to right: James Moffat, Linsey Wooldridge, Jeremy Waite, Tiffany St James, Andrew Davies)
As the day continued in stirring fashion, guests were treated to a panel discussion where our digital transformation experts debated some of the industry’s hottest topics and controversial strategies.
At the start of the event, each guest was asked to write down one question which would later be presented to the panel. The first centred on the question of how brands take digital marketing rhetoric and apply it in reality so that customers are engaged. Across the panel, each expert agreed: we need to communicate with customers in a language they can understand.
One highlight stood around a debate between incremental change and so-called “Uber” leaps. Proponents of the “Uber” leap look to their massive share of the market and incredible valuation as signs that most companies should follow suit. However, for every Uber there are 1,000 failures, if not more. It’s important to figure out what matters for your specific brand; become the steward of your customer voice through small, digital steps, which when accumulated over time will lead to change across the board.
Our final speakers began by quoting three of business management expert Tom Peters’ essential musts for any success person:
1. Work harder
3. Go into every meeting more prepared than everyone else in the room
Jeremy went on to discuss an interesting (and perhaps controversial) facet of Salesforces’ internal corporate structure, whereby every single employee has to write a personal goals timeline and wider business model, which are shared openly for anyone in the company to see. It’s an interesting take on the advances that digital offer companies in terms of internal structure and engagement.
Jeremy and Andrew were keen to stress that our goal in business should not be to sell to people who need what we have, but to sell to people who believe what we believe. Brands are all competing against speed, and digital has redefined the way companies can expand and enter the market, but unless we use digital to better our understanding of customers then it won’t land the same impact.
Brands can use digital to create single customer views through complex data collection, which allows a more holistic and 360-degree approach to targeting consumers. It’s about integrating an approach between using technology as an enabler and remembering that customers are more than just figures on a spreadsheet – they’re people.