Looking back at this year’s Cannes Lions, a word that comes to mind is “density”. Nowhere else in the marketing and advertising industry will you find such as dense concentration of people, ideas, and creativity. From matters of diversity and inclusion, to working alongside AI and automation, to the all-important question of data privacy, attendees have been approaching today’s biggest challenges with vigour and a clear intent to bring about positive change.
What makes Cannes even more special is the density of backgrounds present. This place has a warmth to it, it’s an environment without borders. From professional actors, to CMOs, to programmatic advertisers, to the young creatives just joining the industry, this event brings together all walks of life, not just to celebrate joint successes but also to tackle the problems we face as a collective.
This year’s biggest discussion point has been personalisation, particularly how to deliver personalisation at scale. Brands appreciate the need to stitch together more complete and accurate customer profiles, but many business leaders admit they’re stuck, unsure of how to turn this ambition into tangible results.
As part of this, companies also feel the pressure to create more content, faster and to a higher standard, all in a way that feels relevant and personalised. Conde Nast held a panel on how to adapt luxury content for mass scale, while J Crew’s Jenna Lyons hosted a session on why creativity is the common denominator of transformation across every industry.
The key to achieving both personalisation and scale is to find a balance. The best experiences are based on emotional connections. Delivering that requires a deep dive into customer data, but it also means going beyond the data and appealing to people on a deeper level. As many of this year’s Cannes nominees proved, great things happen when science and creativity collide.
Here are three brands who excel marrying innovation with a human touch. From content velocity to responsive customer experiences, these companies know how to delight and keep customers coming back for more.
Illycafé is one of the most recognised brands in coffee, but after more than 85 years in the market the time had come to pursue new growth opportunities. To do this, it has looked beyond the obvious strength of its products and embraced digital as a storytelling medium for the masses.
Illycafé is currently on a three-year transformation journey, which began with a more scalable approach to storytelling across channels. The coffeemaker has implemented a new Content Management System (CMS) and Digital Asset Management (DAM) solution, which work together to support more personalised content delivery and new forms of customer interaction, including voice-based recipes on its mobile app.
For illycaffè CEO, Massimiliano Pogliani, the important part is keeping experiences relevant and personal no matter how many people his company is reaching out to. “We have 7 million interactions with customers every day,” he says. “That means we have 7 million opportunities to delight somebody, but also 7 million opportunities to disappoint them”.
Silversea Cruises has epitomised personalised customer experiences. In addition to being one of the most luxurious cruise experiences in the world, the Monaco-based company also has an employee to guest ratio of nearly 1:1 on all of its ships, ensuring each customer’s needs are taken care of.
The challenge for Silversea Cruises was to raise the quality of its digital properties to match this white glove on-board experience. In large part, this meant being able to personalise its digital content and communications based on the destinations, accommodations, and excursions that individual customers are most interested in.
A new integrated analytics and targeting platform has allowed the cruise line to gain a single view of each customer and what they’re searching for, which marketers can then use to tailor travel plans, offers, and content at scale. Crucially, Silversea Cruises also cut website development times by 40% and can now deliver new content 30% faster with Adobe Experience Manager. And on the topic of speed, they achieved this entire transformation in just nine months.
Sometimes, delivering great experiences is about building something new altogether. McLaren Automotive makes some of the world’s most thrilling super and sports cars, but how could it relate the visceral feeling of driving its vehicles through marketing?
The answer was to embrace the possibilities of 3D. In late 2018, it launched the McLaren Automotive Real-Time Configurator (MARC). Using the 3D platform in its dealerships, customers can configure every component of their vehicles in real-time, from the engine to the colour of door panels. In short, buyers can build and see their dream car come together before their eyes.
Today, McLaren is putting the foundations in place to repeat the success of MARC with equally engaging experiences across every platform, in both three and two dimensions. The first step, for Global Customer Experience Manager David Mattingly, is to reduce fragmentation and make better use of the high-quality content McLaren has at its disposal.
In his words, “We want customers everywhere to enjoy the same seamless experience, we want to ensure proper governance of our data, and we want to enable growth through localised content. All of this requires us to unify our operation and transform from the ground up.”
For all three of these brands, this is just one step in an on-going transformation. By building a strong foundation today, they have set themselves up to carry this positive momentum forward and find new ways of reaching customers through creative and personalised experiences.
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