What can brands and marketers do to make sure that the most important person, the customer, is not left behind on the digital transformation journey?

At Digital First 2017 in Brussels, Accenture Digital explored the human experience behind every digital interaction, right down to inviting guests to sit in their favorite (digitally enabled) location and enjoy their favorite cup of coffee. Accenture Interactive is at the heart of this story, and together with Kunstmaan as part of our team in Belgium, we are proud to create the kind of outstanding human experiences our speakers described in their keynotes, and which were recently recognized by 3 Effie Awards, the industry gold standard.

Ever had the feeling you’ve forgotten something important?

In his opening keynote, Jon Wilkins, Executive Chairman at Karmarama, the UK’s most progressive digital agency, now part of Accenture Interactive, raised the thorny issue of declining consumer engagement in brands and increased disenchantment with advertising. Why is this happening? Because marketers and brands increasingly apply digital without giving much thought to consumers as people. Examples include ‘shouting brands’ (being interrupted in our digital interactions, e.g. YouTube adverts); ‘creepy personalization’ (pushing messages and adverts based on our interests or life milestones) and ‘adding complexity’ (multiple passwords that make technology difficult to use).

The Whole Brain Marketer

Another error brands commonly make is to separate digital marketing from brand marketing. Just as humans use both sides of the brain to make decisions, we need what Jon termed as The Whole Brain Marketer – both sides of marketing (digital/the left side of the brain (logic) and brand/the right (creativity) working together to deliver the connected experiences people want, as is the case for Kamarama and Accenture Interactive.

“Brands should deliver an end-to-end experience with a big idea at its heart that triggers rather than bombards people”

The Connected Human Experience

But first you need a rallying cry, a big idea, something companies like AirBnB have been so successful at. Organize your business around that big idea and you will contribute to the bigger picture of what people really want. Brands should deliver an end-to-end experience with a big idea at its heart that triggers rather than bombards people. Technology can be used to support this, weaving these experiences into data-driven content and technology product innovation. The Connected Human Experience will drive growth by forging a powerful bond between people and what, how and why they buy brands and want to engage with them.

Blended Conversations

Will we have more conversations with bots than with our spouses by 2020? In his deep dive into the evolving world of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Accenture’s Fernando Lucini discussed how virtual assistants and chatbots can be used in our continuous digital interactions, where conversation, whether text or voice, is a central component. True conversation involves the uniquely human quality of empathy, something bots do not have. The genius lies in knowing when they should handover to a human. The most successful companies using these AI solutions know how to smoothly deliver this. In the future, the art of the conversation will be the ability to seamlessly transition from bots to humans across all mediums. Technologies can be very interesting, but not very useful. For humans to use them, you need the right blend of both.

Concrete examples

Watch these Karmarama campaigns for pioneering human experience brands:

CBeebies ‘Everyone’s welcome’: By asking the question “What makes you two different from each other?” this campaign reveals what CBeebies actually stands for. The digitally delivered video reached 32 million people.

British Army ‘This is Belonging’: Belonging, trust and friendship is the unifying idea and emotional driver of this 2016 campaign to attract new army recruits. By January 2017, army applications had increased by 58%, and were 139% higher for officers.

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