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Why Old-School Brands Like Gap Need to Learn New Tricks to...

Digital now, transformation later When it comes to digital transformation, most brands have the digital side down. “They have the technology, they just aren’t using it properly.” For brands, digital transformation usually centers on optimizing the customer experience. “When companies put this kind of team together and take all the business-as-usual responsibilities off their plate, 100 percent of the time it leads to a broader agile marketing transformation.” According to Gartner, by 2020 more than one in five marketers will restructure their organizations to focus on the customer experience. “The first thing we had to do was change our mentality,” says Zucker. “Some people didn’t want to do that, so they left. “Digital transformation is actually an outside-in process that’s being driven by what I call ‘Digital Darwinism,'” Solis says. They’ve acquired the technology, but haven’t really looked at what’s different about behaviors, expectations and preferences, or how they can use it to create new value for customers and employees.” But even highly advanced companies are still struggling to spread transformative models and mindsets across the entire company, says Gartner’s Ross. “And that’s really about putting the customer as the center of what they do.” A brand is really a set of promises, Hartman explains; a brand keeps its promises by delivering the kinds of experience the customer expects. Increasingly, though, consumers expect brands to not know only who they are and what they like, but also to understand the context of each moment and adjust their promises accordingly—what Hartman terms the “Big E experience,” where “E” stands for empathy. It’s not really digital transformation, it’s really business transformation and customer-centered thinking.” Gap’s Paransky acknowledges that once you’re on the path to transformation, there’s no getting off.