28 October 2020

Why Settle for Boring? Creative Experiences in the Age of Covid-19

Providing a convenient customer experience is so 2020. To succeed going forward, businesses must engineer delight through creative experiences. That’s the key take-away from Isobar’s exclusive survey of global CMOs, Isobar CX Survey 2020: Creative Experience in the Age of Covid-19.

A Global Study with Surprising Results

First, some context. To give insight into the world of the marketer today and their view of the future, Isobar spoke with 1,350+ CMOs across 12 markets, ranging from China to the United States. And CMOs have a lot on their minds. Among the findings:

  • Some 64% of CMOs have changed their CX strategy completely or moderately in response to the pandemic. How? CMOs are doubling down on ideas and innovation – especially the innovative use of technology.
  • While AI is currently the most used emerging technology by 36% of CMOs, voice and chat based interfaces follow closely behind with 29% and 28% adoption.
  • Virtual and augmented reality are also entering the mainstream, with 28% and 27% adoption among CMOs.

Why the focus on big ideas and innovation? After all, conventional wisdom says that during hard times, businesses retreat and hunker down, investing in tried-and-true performance marketing tactics. But 2020 has been anything but conventional. 

A Shift to Convenience – with Consequences

As IBM recently reported, the pandemic accelerated a shift to eCommerce by five years, and a demand for convenience in the offline world resulted in a surge in services such as curbside pickup. 

In the early stage of the pandemic, brands rushed to secure their route to market through eCommerce and on-demand convenience. But in doing so, enterprises focused on customer experiences that, well, look exactly like everyone else’s: fast, easy, and to be honest, boring.

CX makes  a new brand promise now. If the first wave of integrating CX was about eliminating friction, the second wave is about meeting the emotional wants and needs of customers – with innovation at the core.

The Rise of Creative CX

There’s a powerful reason motivating CMOs beyond the need to differentiate: people want more than a transaction.

Consumers want brands to play a more meaningful role in their lives at a time when everyone, everywhere, is being profoundly affected by the ongoing trauma of the pandemic. In fact, a recent Twitter survey shows that 77 percent of consumers feel more positively about brands making an effort to support society at the moment, and 70 percent believe brands should boost positivity and share positive stories. 

No wonder CMOs are doubling down on big ideas and innovation. They’re looking for ways to build stronger emotional bonds at a time when their customers need comfort and relief from uncertain times. And a creative CX, fueled by a smart investment in technology, is just the answer.

Here’s the good news: all the tools CMOs need exist now. 

Creative CX in Action

The CX survey underscored the critical role that digital technology plays in driving creative CX. And Isobar has already helped many  businesses apply them.

For example, KFC in China worked with us to develop Virtual KFC stores on WeChat, China’s number one social media platform.

This creative CX allowed anyone to design a customised pocket store with full commerce functionality. Geo-location meant that orders were ready for fast-track pick-up as customers approached the store. The innovation was KFC’s most successful mobile commerce program ever— pocket store sales exceeded targets by 900%.

When faced with disruption caused by Covid-19, KFC also rolled out new delivery packaging marked with “Contactless Delivery VI,” to help communicate what KFC is doing to control the pandemic and enforce contactless delivery measures.

It also included the temperature of both the food preparation team and the delivery driver to reassure customers. Beyond the individual drop-offs, KFC also developed an “Enterprise” special app for businesses and communities to unify orders and reduce opportunities for contact, but also to provide orders for communities with limited access to the outside world. Each community has an independent QR code, which allows users to scan the code and enter the meal delivery address directly by default.

Next Steps

Our CX survey contains a deeper dive into CMOs’ wants and needs –and tons more examples of work like KFC. Download a copy, and let’s talk about how we can help you deliver a creative CX.