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Thought leader: Brian Solis, award-winning author, recognized blogger, and principal analyst of the Altimeter Group, delivers the keynote at Digicon DX 2017.

Three days last week saw thousands of digital natives and immigrants flock to Digicon DX 2017 at the Philippine International Convention Center to participate in various lectures and discussions on how people can adapt and evolve in the culture of digital transformation. The Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines, Inc. (IMMAP) put together the event, led by Margot Torres, IMMAP president and EVP and deputy managing director of McDonald’s Philippines; and Ed Mapa, Digicon DX 2017 chair and CEO and founder of Castle By The River.

Brian Solis, an award-winning author, recognized blogger, principal analyst of the Altimeter Group and a thought leader in social media, communications, technology and business, delivered the keynote. His address centered on the new era of business where a brand is defined by those who experience it. Where experience is delineated as something you feel, sense, interpret, and is measured by how you react. Here are some key takeaways from Solis’ talk:

• Life is about experiences. Technology brings experience to life, and shared experiences are forms of social currency. They are attestations of people’s investment in conversations. Shared experiences can be shaped and steered, and the new social landscape is rich with emotions because of all that shaping and steering.

• Bring experience to life. Solis shares this simple exercise: Close your eyes for a moment and think about the last time you had a truly great experience — an experience that moved you, captured your heart, mind and spirit. What about it was so special? Now bring it to life for someone else to enjoy, draw parallels and benefit from.

• Facets of “experience.” BX is brand experience that users should have before, during and after engagement with a brand. CX or customer experience is the sum of all engagements a customer has with brands during the customer lifecycle. UX or user experience covers all aspects of the end users’ interaction with the company, its services, and products.  An experience occurs when a company intentionally uses services as the stage, and goods as props. This engages individual customers in a way that creates a memorable event.”

• Customer service is the new marketing. A happy employee is equal to a happy customer. A happy customer tells a friend; an unhappy customer tells the world. Eighty-six (86) percent of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, but only one percent of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations. A little less than half of 49 percent said they believe customers will switch brands due to poor CX, whereas a whopping 89 percent of customers say they have already switched because of poor CX.

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• Mindset is everything. Experience design asks you to conform to a new generation of people instead of making them conform to legacy perspectives, assumptions, policies and metrics of success. Now we are moving from the millennials to what is called Gen Z, Gen Edge or Homelanders. Carat Research describe them as digital initiatives — they see technology as empowering, are excited and motivated by what technology can do, and are inspired to make things happen. The world is there for them to serve and change. They have strong emotional intelligence, diversity is their new normal, they have traditional values and aspirations, and are encouraged by experience and meaning.

• A truly personal experience is the new standard for engagement. Many customers don’t go back. Every business now needs to recognize that apps that put people at the center of the experience become the standard for every business.

• Recognize and acknowledge “the embrace.”  That is that moment when you have the attention of your customers and the customers have yours and together create unforgettable experiences.

• There is a shift from the 4Ps of marketing to modern Ps: Modern customers also want to do business to brands that adapt to this shift, from product, price, place, and promotion to people, purpose, promise and personalization.

• Innovation starts with a shift in perspective. And perspective is a gift nowadays. There is no one way to success in business or life in the future. Success is dependent on a balance of iteration, innovation and disruption. Iteration is doing the same things better. Innovation is doing new things. Disruption is doing new things that make the old ones obsolete. If you don’t disrupt yourself, it will be a gift given to you by someone else.

• Social media is the democratization of information. It transforms people from content readers into publishers. It is the shift from a broadcast mechanism, one-to-many, to a many-to-many model, rooted in conversations between authors, people, and peers. It is less about technology and more about anthropology, sociology, and ethnography. The good thing about it? It gives everyone a voice. The bad thing about it? It gives everyone a voice.

• The Digital Darwinism phenomenon.  It is when technology and society evolve faster than an organization can adapt. It is a fate that threatens most organizations in almost every industry. Each business is a victim of this spectacle. It does not discriminate, and every business is threatened by it. Because of this, businesses have to compete not only for today but also for the unforeseeable future.  Solis offers five tips to deal with digital Darwinism: reimagine yourself and your business, cultivate meaningful experiences, cater to the accidental narcissists, transform in the face of disruption, and maneuver around roadblocks.

• Giving back is the new black. Businesses that aspire to a higher purpose will outperform businesses that focus on the bottom line. People aspire to be part of something bigger than themselves. Give them something to align with to create a sense of belonging. Give them something to talk about. Give them a reason to share experiences.

• Transparency is a genuine value proposition. The bottom line is that people are seeking answers and direction, not messages or sales pitches.

• #Learn to unlearn. Learning starts with unlearning. Everything starts with the self. It can be difficult and daunting. After all, there’s a reason why change is either slow or ignored. It takes courage to break what isn’t yet broken and rebuild it in a way that others can’t yet visualize, appreciate or support. This is a time to rethink everything. And what a wonderful time it is to be alive for those who can see these challenges as opportunities to invent and reinvent all that makes the world go ’round.

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