Experience Makers Live: A New Business Reality Requires a New Kind of Leader

by Paul Robson

Posted on 07-29-2020

Peo­ple can often thrive dur­ing times of change. What we’ve expe­ri­enced this year, as brands of all shapes and sizes face the cur­rent cli­mate head-on, has pro­vid­ed us with lev­els of inspi­ra­tion, inno­v­a­tive sto­ries, and best prac­tice lessons that would oth­er­wise have tak­en years to gather.

Last week, our Expe­ri­ence Mak­ers Live event shone the spot­light on some of these incred­i­ble sto­ries, demon­strat­ing how lead­ers, mar­keters, and com­merce experts have piv­ot­ed to bet­ter under­stand their cus­tomers, to pur­sue inno­v­a­tive ideas, and to nur­ture rela­tion­ships and com­mu­ni­ties – all while dis­play­ing com­pas­sion and empa­thy dur­ing dif­fi­cult times.

What soon became clear from hear­ing these inspir­ing and inno­v­a­tive sto­ries, was that these vision­ary lead­ers – these Expe­ri­ence Mak­ers – all share com­mon tenets that ele­vate them in today’s increas­ing­ly dig­i­tal cli­mate. They…

Per­haps most impor­tant­ly, accept that change hap­pens. By apply­ing these prin­ci­ples, many brands and lead­ers have been able to piv­ot and lead the way, ensur­ing long-term suc­cess in the process.

1. Lead with Empathy

The sto­ries shared at Expe­ri­ence Mak­ers Live demon­strate that com­pa­nies and lead­ers who embraced vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty have led, and will con­tin­ue to lead, with empathy.

Brands like Sig­ni­fy – a tech leader in LED light­ing – who played a key role dur­ing the cri­sis with their UV‑C radi­a­tion lamps tech­nol­o­gy that enabled hos­pi­tals to make faster and safer dis­in­fec­tion of key areas. Or Ger­man med­ical sup­pli­er Carl Zeiss AG (ZEISS), who enabled their cus­tomers to quick­ly and eas­i­ly access vital med­ical prod­ucts online to reduce face to face con­tact dur­ing lock­down by launch­ing an online com­merce plat­form in mere days.

And here at Adobe, we piv­ot­ed our own busi­ness to enable our cus­tomers and com­mu­ni­ties to be pro­duc­tive and col­lab­o­ra­tive – from allow­ing ful­ly remote access to our prod­ucts for cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als and schools, to ensur­ing our enter­prise cus­tomers could cope with data and ana­lyt­ics traf­fic spikes.

2. Cre­ate and Innovate

If there’s one thing fear­less mar­keters and com­merce experts under­stand, it’s evolv­ing to serve and engage your cus­tomers in new ways. Each of the Expe­ri­ence Mak­ers we heard from last week absolute­ly typ­i­fy the embod­i­ment of the agile and a pow­er­ful mind­set required to lead in the cur­rent environment.

Just look at how rapid­ly UK bank TSB accel­er­at­ed its dig­i­tal-first strat­e­gy by evolv­ing paper-based inter­ac­tions into an end-to-end online cus­tomer jour­ney. This enabled TSB’s busi­ness clients to access vital gov­ern­ment fund­ing and reduced the need for cus­tomers to vis­it phys­i­cal branch­es dur­ing the height of lock­down. They processed over 80,000 online inter­ac­tions in just eight weeks, trans­form­ing 15,000 poten­tial in-branch vis­its into dig­i­tal-only interactions.

Or take Oak­house Foods, a UK-based home deliv­ery ser­vice that quick­ly adapt­ed to face the lock­down dis­rup­tion by ensur­ing its high-risk cus­tomers were reg­u­lar­ly informed about safe­ty prac­tices. The team also opti­mised its mobile site for cus­tomers and its com­mu­ni­ty with poor eye­sight and mobil­i­ty issues.

By digi­tis­ing their cus­tomer inter­ac­tions and tak­ing advan­tage of a strong tech­ni­cal foun­da­tion, we heard sto­ries from numer­ous Expe­ri­ence Mak­ers who have suc­cess­ful­ly piv­ot­ed their mar­ket­ing and com­merce solu­tions to cre­ate a stronger, more diverse, and more inclu­sive future.

3. Con­nect with Oth­ers and Build Communities

The pow­er and neces­si­ty of com­mu­ni­ty has shone through dur­ing the past months – whether that’s with your cus­tomers, peers, or ven­dors. It not only helps build loy­al­ty with exist­ing cus­tomers, it also pro­vides a long-term vision and plat­form for the future.

Dur­ing our Asia Pacif­ic instal­ment of Expe­ri­ence Mak­ers Live, we heard from the Sin­ga­pore Tourism Board on their prepa­ra­tions for life post-COVID. They’ve been devel­op­ing tech­nol­o­gy in areas such as con­tact­less expe­ri­ences, the re-design of work­places for employ­ee well-being and safe­ty, and real-time mon­i­tor­ing of facil­i­ties for effec­tive and safe crowd con­trol. Hun­dreds of local busi­ness­es rely on the Sin­ga­pore Tourism Board for guid­ance and sup­port, which is why it’s so encour­ag­ing see­ing the fos­ter­ing of such a strong com­mu­ni­ty, which has only been strength­ened dur­ing the pandemic.

And final­ly, we were tru­ly priv­i­leged to hear from Dou­ble Olympic cham­pi­on Dame Kel­ly Holmes, as she dis­cussed her role as a pio­neer for men­tal health issues, along with her relent­less pur­suit to trans­form her pro­grammes to sup­port dis­ad­van­taged youth and com­mu­ni­ties dur­ing this pandemic.

One of the most encour­ag­ing things I expe­ri­enced at the event is that, through these inspir­ing sto­ries and as lead­ers and experts con­nect with oth­er Expe­ri­ence Mak­ers, they acquire increased empa­thy and learn how to build strong and inclu­sive com­mu­ni­ties that lead to last­ing cus­tomer relationships.

In it togeth­er, and for the long haul

I’d also like to take this oppor­tu­ni­ty to empha­sise that here at Adobe, we’re com­mit­ted to your suc­cess now and for the long term. We will nav­i­gate through these times togeth­er. And, while tech­nol­o­gy can’t solve all of our prob­lems, it is reshap­ing how we inter­act and how we cre­ate expe­ri­ences for our customers.

Our Expe­ri­ence Mak­ers com­mu­ni­ty has always rep­re­sent­ed a price­less oppor­tu­ni­ty to come togeth­er, to share, to adapt – per­haps that’s more vital now that it’s even been. But, what it also demon­strates is that we’re not alone in want­i­ng to change this world, to become new kinds of lead­ers who cre­ate inclu­sive, dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences – not just for now, but for our future.

All Expe­ri­ence Mak­ers Live ses­sions are now avail­able on-demand here.

Topics: Digital Transformation, Customer Experience, Digital Experience, Experience Makers Live, New Business, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA