Last week, we hosted a Digital Customer Experience breakfast at Haven’s Kitchen in New York. We were joined by Brian Solis, digital thought leader and Principal Analyst at Altimeter, which Prophet recently acquired. In addition to hearing from Brian we also heard from MaryKay Kopf, CMO at Electrolux and Prophet client. It was a lively discussion about the power of digital transformation and digital customer experience, and we walked away with 5 clear learnings:

1. Find your “Undercover Boss” moment

Leaders need to reconnect with what it’s like to be a customer. Empathy is key to creating rewarding customer experiences, and it has been lost in today’s corporate culture. When you are empathetic toward your customers they become more than demographics – you understand their full lives, what makes them tick, where they want to be reached and how – and therefore designing a rewarding experience for them is simple. With this level of understanding, you’ll become so in tune with your audience that you’ll be able to provide them experiences they don’t even know they want yet. A true hallmark of a relentlessly relevant brand.

2. Innovabrand relevance indextion isn’t about technology, it’s about disruption

Use the TV remote control as an example of what innovation should mean. Instead of adding new features to it or making it more powerful, try to completely reimagine a better way to control the TV. (Hint: it’s wouldn’t be a plastic brick with 100 buttons). To create experiences that matter to your customers, first think about what the experience should be and then use technology to bring it to life.

3. The new “Kodak moment” is a cautionary tale

The rate of disruption has increased exponentially, and many Fortune 500 companies have met their demise because of it. All companies need to embrace change, both in customer behaviors and expectations and in how you think about your business. Are you an automaker or a company that provides personal transportation? If Kodak had recognized new customer behaviors and had a broader sense of their purpose as a company, they could have been the leader of the new world of photography instead of standing still – ultimately losing relevance and share.

4. Swipe right to connect with millennials

Members of this digitally native generation want to shop, work and interact with your brand the same way they date – easily and intuitively. This doesn’t mean your company (necessarily) needs to go out and build a trendy mobile app, but you do need to create an experience that is intuitive, valuable and fun for your audience. Many decision-makers in companies today are from an older generation, so it’s easy to overlook how differently millennial consumers want to interact with your brand. The good news is they aren’t shy about telling you. This generation will provide a constant stream of feedback via social media – you just have to be willing to listen.

5. Love = value creation = shareholder value

Doing the right thing by the customer might not be the most profitable decision in the short term, but it does make good business sense. If your customers love your brand, they will buy your products, recommend them to others and become a customer for life. Foster your customer’s love by delivering excellent customer experiences throughout their journey and across channels. Brand lovers are crucial to a successful company and a healthy bottom line.

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  1. I’m very curious as to what MaryKay Kopf had to say. Electrolux has all but disappeared in China and is hardly successful in Asia — both highly digital-social-messaging intensive markets.