In the era of the ‘experience business', design and creativity are key differentiators for businesses looking to pull away from competitors and deliver the best experiences for their customers.
New research from Adobe has highlighted the role of design thinking and creativity as key components of business transformation.
Adobe's 2017 Creative Pulse research surveyed more than 5,000 creative and marketing professionals and examined the role of design and creativity in business transformation across Asia Pacific (APAC).
Markets surveyed include India, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.
The 2017 Creative Pulse found that merging online and offline experiences is the biggest driver of change for the creative community, followed by the adoption of data and analytics, and the need for new skills.
The research also found that customer experience is the number one investment by businesses across APAC.
“An experience business is one that puts the experience of customers at the centre of their business strategy,” says Adobe Asia Pacific Marketing VP Marta De Bellis.
“The merging of online and offline experiences is a significant shift in the way organisations are thinking about customer experience.
She adds that while many organisations have been focused on digital transformation and experiences, people still expect great physical experiences as well.
Impact of New Technologies
Online and offline experiences are being driven by new technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, powered by artificial intelligence.
The 2017 Creative Pulse found that 60% of those surveyed across Australia and New Zealand did not feel concerned about artificial intelligence or machine learning.
Similarly, the vast majority of respondents from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China saw opportunity in these new technologies, while respondents from Southeast Asia, Korea and India expressed more concern.
“Artificial intelligence and machine learning have the potential to lift creative professionals away from day-to-day production and allow them time to focus on ideation and creativity,” says Michael Stoddart, Adobe Asia Pacific experience business director.
“These new technologies are not going to replace the role of creativity; they can support creatives to spend their time focusing on what they do best – being creative and scaling their ideas.
De Bellis says that while customer experience was identified as the number one investment by organisations across APAC, only 21% of respondents had designed a customer experience project.
“This tells us that organisations understand the importance of putting customer experience at the centre of their business strategy, but the reality is there is more opportunity for the creation of end-to-end programmes that give customers an incredible experience with their brand,” she says.
Content and Social Media
The 2017 Creative Pulse identified content and social media as key investment areas by APAC organisations, behind customer experience.
However, they also present challenges.
“The proliferation of social media has forced an explosion in demand for content and organisations are struggling to keep up.
“Budgets were identified as the biggest challenge, followed by conflicting views and internal processes,” says De Bellis.
“As social media drives demand for content, creatives and marketing teams must leverage data and analytics to ensure that what they are creating is relevant, and deliver an amazing experience for customers.
The 2017 Creative Pulse has reinforced the importance of design and creativity in digital transformation and experience business.
“Simply transferring an existing ordinary experience onto a digital platform is not becoming an experience business.
“Those businesses which understand the power of great design and creativity have the opportunity to pull away from competitors by delivering exceptional, compelling experiences for their customers,” says De Bellis.
Summary of key Australia and New Zealand findings from the 2017 Creative Pulse research include:
- Customer experience is the number one investment by businesses across Australia and New Zealand, followed by social media and content
- New technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, and machine learning, are the number one trend for creatives, followed by using new platforms to reach target audiences and ‘breaking through the noise' to reach target audiences
- 60% of respondents advised that customer experience is at the centre of their organisation's strategy
- 34% of creatives and marketers have recently implemented a customer experience program; 30% plan to develop one, and 29% do not plan to deliver a customer experience program in the next 12 months
- Creatives and marketers are integrating design thinking across functions; creatives (59%), marketers (53%) and those working in content production (40%).