Pause for a moment, and think about the current state of social media and digital. Consumers are faced with more messages across more social and digital channels than ever before. It’s resulted in what I like to call an “era of infobesity.”
With consumer attention being the ultimate commodity, a theme has emerged among top companies. Instead of focusing solely on campaigns and other tactics, top companies are prioritizing the customer experience. Gartner predicted that by 2016, 89% of companies would compete mostly on customer experience.
The problem? There’s a significant perception gap in what companies believe they deliver and what consumers actually experience. Research from Bain & Company found that while 80% of companies believe that they deliver superior customer experiences, only 8% of customers say their experience was superior.
How do we close the customer experience gap? Social media and digital channels—and the content produced for them—present a huge area of opportunity for companies today. Content is something that companies produce daily. Tons of time, resources, and money are spent in producing content to captivate our customers, drive desired actions, and achieve business goals.
Why not maximize our daily content opportunities by translating them into experiences? Here are four examples of how companies can maximize content to deliver remarkable customer experiences.
Customer Insights Power Personalized Customer Experiences
Remarkable customer experiences come from deeply knowing your customers and how to best serve them. Social media channels offer a powerful real-time opportunity to capture consumer insights. Social listening and reporting can identify key topics, trends, frequently asked questions, and more by channel to inspire creative customer-centric programs that deliver a remarkable customer experience.
Nike is a great example of a company that deeply understands its customers and leverages consumer insights and data across multiple touch points to power personalized customer experiences. Inspired by its active Nike+ community, the company created the “Your Year With Nike” campaign. In the campaign, Nike and its agency AKQA created over 100,000 personalized one-minute animated films for 100,000 of the most active Nike+ users. The goal of the campaign was to celebrate a strong 2014 in a more personalized way, while inspiring its community to work toward an even better 2015.
The Right Visuals Bring Experiences to Life
If you’ve read The Power of Visual Storytelling, you will know that visuals are a fantastic way to garner attention in a cluttered newsfeed. Humans are hardwired to process visual information more quickly than text—60,000 times faster. Visuals such as images, videos, GIFs, memes, infographics, Slideshare presentations, and more need to be created with the story and overall customer experience in mind.
A well-timed piece of content may start the conversation, but companies should not discount the magic of incorporating visuals into inbound responses or questions to follow-up on. Benefit’s #BeautyBoost offers a good example of how 1:1 visual responses can create a positive customer experience.
Originally created to combat negative New Years resolutions, consumers who tweet with the hashtag #BeautyBoost are sent a response containing a clever visual with pun-tastic pick-up lines. Aligned with the company’s mantra of, “Laughter is the best cosmetic, so grin and wear it,” the visuals succeed in making consumers smile while fostering a deeper connection to the company.
Translate Announcements into Experiences
If you’re leading social media at a company, company-wide campaigns and promotions will always be part of your program. Take company-wide initiatives and adapt them to social media channels in a customer-first way.
IHOP’s recent celebration of the return of “All You Can Eat Pancakes” in January presents a good example of how to translate an announcement into a customer experience. To get customers excited about “All You Can Eat Pancakes,” IHOP hosted a one-day event on Twitter and commissioned pancake artist Nathan Shields to turn fan photos into real-time pancake portraits.
According to IHOP, the company received over 140 submissions in the first four hours and used 7.5 pounds of pancake batter to create the art. Between the quality of the pancake portraits and the quirky requests, it’s clear that the level of personalization resulted in a memorable—and re-tweet worthy—experience.
@seffrah wanna rock and roll all night… and eat pancakes every day! #Panuary pic.twitter.com/SkLtRi86d4
— IHOP (@IHOP) January 15, 2016
Celebrate Once in a Lifetime Opportunities with Your Customers
TripAdvisor was thrilled when NBC’s The Office reached out to feature the company’s website on an episode of the office in September 2007, for character Dwight Schrute’s beet farm-turned-B&B.
But they didn’t stop there. The TripAdvisor team set up a fake listing for the B&B, timed with the show’s airdate for fans to enjoy—and contribute to. Years later, the listing is still live and frequently updated with humorous “reviews” and fake photos that fans of the show have personally created, offering a good reminder that passionate fans love to be surprised with unique co-creation opportunities. Just make sure to take a page from TripAdvisor’s playbook and disclose the fake listing!
How are you using visual content to power great customer experience?
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