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#BizTrends2018: How do we amplify emotional connections through consumer ecosystems?

Our physical and virtual environments are merging at a rapid pace, making us more digitally connected than ever before. Consumers want what they want and they want it now. If we don't deliver on their time, we pay with our market share.
Molefi Moloantoa
Our job is to identify the time and place where consumers are most amenable to our communication. Cognisant of the fact that the consumer journey is not linear, we cannot speak the same to every consumer. Communication that is relevant and resonates with their individual need-states is key. Our connections need to come down to quality over quantity. We need to connect with our consumers through personalised, curated content that speaks to them as a market of one.

As individuals, we belong to various consumer ecosystems, relative to our status, profession, hobbies, lifestyle and loyalties, we are continually communicating and transacting with these ecosystems at any given time. So how can we talk to our consumers in an emotionally driven way that will enhance their consumer journey?

We need to bring our focus back to the consumer. A cross-channel digital solution is needed to ensure our consumers' needs are met, one which captures useful data to build personal profiles, which in turn strengthens connections. This integrated solution needs to provide targeted and customised real-time communication through a seamless experience.

Personalised content

Targeted communications that are relevant and useful to consumers can create lasting customer loyalty and drive revenue growth of 10 to 30%, as reported by McKinsey. The challenge is to personalise content in a way that delivers genuine value and relevance. A further step to adding time back into our consumers' lives would be for all ecosystems to work harmoniously together to provide a unified consumer experience.

Just yesterday I needed to book a flight, accommodation, travel, tours, organise currency exchange and find out where to dine for my next overseas trip; I had to tap into all the different websites, apps, make calls to the relevant call centres and stand in queues just to organise a holiday. If all these consumer ecosystems were integrated and talking to each other, where my bank syncs up with Flight Centre who directly leads me to Uber who has the top picks of accommodation options for who then suggests restaurants that serve dishes I like, my time would be saved and my experience would have been enhanced.

These companies would have built a complete profile based on my preferences in order to service my needs. But the question remains, are we ready for this? Are we ready to provide this seamless integrated service that speaks to consumers at every touchpoint along the various ecosystems they engage with?

Maximising loyalty

Maximisation of consumer loyalty lies in building honest and meaningful relationships, allowing a platform of engagement where communication is dual directional. Creating memorable experiences and added value will supersede instant gratification.

We have been collecting information on our consumers from day one. But are we utilising this data correctly? Do we understand the power this data holds? To form valuable insights which can be used collectively across multiple ecosystems to create a holistic unified consumer experience and inform consumer actions, which works together to give the consumer back their most precious commodity - time.

The future of consumer experiences is a unified one, not a fragmented one. As more brands and companies aggressively pursue this strategy, those that can deliver the best and most seamless experience to their consumers will be in a winning position.
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