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How brands win by creating better human experiences

Sid McGrath, Chief Strategy Officer, Karmarama

Customers are damn important. Their experience of a brand is almost more important still. Speak to just about any company in the world and they will recognise the power customer experience has. It can mean the difference between success and failure. A ringing till or discarded shopping trolley. Top marks on TripAdvisor or a vitriolic tweet. But what is great customer experience? So much effort goes into efficiency, streamlining processes, automation, SPEED – are we actually engineering out all of the good stuff? The human stuff? 

This is a question we’ve been asking ourselves at Karmarama. Last year we set out to answer it by exploring whether a more human experience, or HX, could be powerful a driver for preference and a way to form lasting bonds with increasingly disloyal customers. We banned the word customer, choosing to think about people as living breathing humans rather than spend-bots. And we found some very interesting things. 

We identified eight steps that companies could consider to make their brands more human and ultimately more successful. Our steps included things like having a human purpose, continuous innovation, reciprocal relationships and enlightened employees. Our research also found that not only is treating customers as humans a nice idea – people are willing to spend an impressive 47% more with a brand that treated them like a human. All of a sudden Phil in accounts is paying attention. 

In many ways we felt we had found the path to brand nirvana – eight steps to transform the way a business can connect with people. But it did leave us with even more questions. Are all steps born equal? Is there a different ROI on each one and if so, which area should time poor companies focus on to get more bang for their buck? The answer, we discovered, is yes. 

Our findings pointed to committed service and human purpose as the biggest drivers of increased spend – encouraging 32% and 31% increases respectively. Committed service means responding to people with empathy and understanding – treating complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve rather than deny or get defensive. Human purpose meanwhile requires greater consideration of what your product or service could mean to people. How it impacts their lives and how you can go even further to support them. 

With a clearer idea of HX hierarchy, we also wanted to see who was doing it well. Are there sectors that perform better than others when it comes to human behaviour and if so, what can others learn from them? Unsurprisingly the answer, again, was yes. For example, supermarkets scored well on human purpose because of things like affordability, while sports brands did well on continuous innovation, coming across to people as fearless and inspirational. 

Overall what we learned was that people appreciate a more human touch and regardless of sector or industry, there are ways to improve, lessons to be learned and steps to be taken towards brand nirvana. A place not just filled with the warm fuzzy feeling of greater human connections, but of ROI and improved profits. 

Find out more about getting to Brand Nirvana here and don’t miss Sid McGrath’s talk at The Festival of Marketing, where he’ll reveal more of the latest findings and how you can embrace HX to great effect. Talk: How brands win by creating better human experiences, 10 Oct 2019, 14:00 – 14:35, MW Strategy & Leadership Stage.

Karmarama is the UK’s most progressive creative agency, part of Accenture Interactive, working across advertising, PR, data-driven communications, mobile platforms and products, digital and innovation. The agency is known for its ability to blend creativity, digital and data, to help brands better engage with consumers. Or as Karmarama calls it – Connected Creativity. It is one of the most effective agencies in the UK and has won the DMA Grand Prix for the last two successive years, in 2017 for its work for the Army. It was again the highest ranked creative agency in the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to Work For in 2019.