Tue, 19 Oct 2021 13:01:03 GMT
Amidst the chaos of the pandemic, digitalisation has got to be one of the most impactful but understated upheavals in our lives. Forced to retreat indoors, practically every aspect of our lives has taken on a new digital avatar as we adapted to working and living under the same roof. From working remotely to ordering groceries at the click of a button, consumers have grown to appreciate the convenience, efficiency and flexibility that digitalisation affords, so much so that there is no turning back.
At the same time, we’re seeing the emergence of an experience-led economy in Southeast Asia that’s estimated to encompass 641 million consumers. Studies have shown that 76% of Southeast Asian customers switch brands after just one bad experience. Consumer behaviour shifts will continue to evolve along with the pandemic, and every experience has changed.
For brands, this presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve the customer experience and their business. Understanding consumers’ unmet needs and striving to meet that demand will be a make-or-break factor for brand success. To do that, pushing the boundaries on experience-led creativity could be an answer.
Reinventing the creative approach
Thriving in today’s experience-led world requires creative reinvention. Accenture Interactive’s study found that post-pandemic, more than half of consumers surveyed have re-evaluated what is important to them in life and are increasingly focused on their personal purpose, reshaping what, how, and why they buy.
Values such as sustainability and ethical practices are taking centre stage. The same study found that 68% of consumers in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region are attracted to doing business with environmentally friendly brands, and 76% are attracted to brands that source services and materials in highly ethical ways. An overwhelming 72% also expect brands to take more responsibility in motivating them to live by their values and make them feel more relevant in the world.
Traditional methods and approaches to consumer experience will no longer work. As one of the fastest-growing regions in APAC, brands in Southeast Asia need to imagine ideas fused with purpose – improving lives, adopting sustainable practices, and promoting diversity and inclusion. It also means breaking the mould to take on different forms and cutting across platforms, technologies and talent. We are seeing brands approach this in ways unique to their brand experiences.
Nespresso has long built a sustainability strategy and series of ambitious goals relating to coffee, climate and aluminium. In a fresh take on its sustainability campaign, Nespresso collaborated with Malaysian artist, Red Hong Yi, to create an art installation, ‘Kaleidoscope’. Using mirrors to project infinite colourful reflections of recycled Nespresso aluminium capsules, Red conceptually represented the infinitely recyclable nature of the capsules. This approach recognises the consideration that Nespresso’s consumers may have about issues such as continuous recycling practices. The company’s proactive communication reinforces connection and adds to the array of meaningful experiences that have impacted the lives and experience of a Nespresso consumer.
The pandemic has changed the way people bought products and accessed services under restrictions, robustly demonstrating how things have changed. Our work with progressive brands like BMW to launch its new second-generation X5 through an action-packed augmented reality (AR) experience is exactly how we fused creativity with technology innovation and purpose. Overcoming lockdown limitations, consumers could see, hear, feel and experience the second-generation X5 through their smartphone from the safe confines of their home. The immersive “showroom” takes car viewing and testing to a new, personalised level whilst incorporating some of the best parts of a physical session. Visitors can wander around the showroom, get a 360-degree view of the latest car, inspecting both its interior and exterior.
Outside of Southeast Asia, in China, for instance, brands such as Snow Beer took on a creative spin to reimagine unique engagement methods that transcend both the virtual and physical worlds. The brand reshaped its WeChat mini programme amid pandemic lockdowns and an inability to use traditional ways of reaching consumers. Snow Beer was able to create virtual drinking occasions such as ‘hot pot mingling’ and hip-hop dance-offs, share information on the locations of physical stores still operating, and add on an e-commerce function for home delivery. Success through this creative approach came in the form of a 34% increase in WeChat followers, 700,000 new active users and 4 million more units sold.
As brands start to review the way their customers experience them and rethink creativity’s role within, the future of creativity will continue to be driven by a marriage of ideas, technology innovation and purpose on a scale that will change the way people think about or experience a specific category.
Powering experience-led creativity in Southeast Asia
To thrive in an experience-led world, creativity needs to be embedded across the entire business from end to end. Yet, only 24% of APAC companies have customer-centricity as the driving force for creativity and innovation, representing an immense opportunity for growth. Brands must push the boundaries of creativity, look beyond the traditional focus on customer transactions and centre their entire organisation around delivering exceptional experiences for their customers.
The good news is we’re seeing creativity take on a more significant role in shaping experiences. Across Southeast Asia, the public sector is incorporating creativity in policy innovation and finding ways to bring better citizen experiences – more personalised, easy-to-use and relevant services. Financial institutions are leveraging technology and industry partnerships to embed themselves in their customers’ journeys. Through the best use of blockchain and customer experiences, we see new wearable tech savings and payments programmes amongst many other innovations.
Creativity is an organisation-wide mobilisation across businesses and industries – from marrying together powerful ideas, harnessing technology to put ideas into action, to tapping onto the best talent. It requires buy-in from across the entire company – not just the marketing function – coupled with relentless dedication and drive to succeed.
Syncing the tech, data and human agendas is the path forward to experience-led creativity. Brands stand to unlock efficiency, agility, flexibility and scalability, as well as open up new investment opportunities for growth and performance. The value of creativity in today’s experience-led world is greater than ever before – brands must act now to reinvent the customer experience and capture this opportunity for growth.