Forrester #CMO REPORT: Embracing Digital and Delivering Brand Experience

Digital is the New Normal.
Digital is the New Normal.

It looks like Social PR is part of a new ‘normal’ sweeping screens in an era where digital is the new ‘traditional’. By 2016, Forrester predicts advertisers will spend more than $77 billion on digital marketing, more than they spend on television today and that interactive marketing such as search, display, mobile, email, and social media will comprise a full 26% of their total spend. How will we get there? And what brand experiences will rise to the top? Only the most savvy CMO’S will be prepared to navigate the shift and embrace the digital innovation that is now a fact of marketing life.

In her recent Forrester Report Trends for The B2C CMO To Watch In 2013, Corrine Munchbach identifies 3 challenges CMO’s must be prepared for this year:

  1. Embracing digital disruption

  2. Placing greater emphasis on brand and consumer experience as a competitive asset, and

  3. Using social principles to develop and deliver content marketing.

Embrace the Post Digital Era and Resulting Disruption

We are in a new era. The Digital Era has given way to the Post-Digital Era. Smart CMO’s must adapt by using rich digital tools at their disposal to create a branded experience that is:

  • Remarkable

  • Unmistakable

  • Essential

  • Trustworthy

To do so, exceptional CMO’s first must recognize that “all marketing and all experiences are now inherently digital.” That’s right, the lines have blurred and will continue to. The disruption is a fact of life. Media companies are now threatened by players like Hulu and YouTube and alternative payment methods like Square and Simple are giving financial services and banking platforms a run for their money.

Social PR Tip: CMO’s need to take stock of this digital disruption and embrace it by working across departments to assess their digital readiness and identify every area their brand experience can be improved including messaging, actions and product.

CMO’s will also need to move budgets out of silos and into cross platform teams comprised of marketing, R&D, IT and operations who can, in concert, assess values and improve the brand experience.

Your Brand Experience is Your Biggest Asset

Forrester’s latest book, Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business points out the importance of brand experience. One of the authors explains that “marketers are now creating relevant experiences to organically align brands with consumers.” He calls it “Branding in the Cracks: the art of telling a brand story not as a linear narrative but as an environmental thread that weaves through the customer experience.” How is this accomplished? Forrester suggests every brand must have a “North Star” guiding everything the brand does and ensuring the brand experience is lush, consistent and valuable.

Social PR Tip: “Branding in the Cracks: the art of telling a brand story not as a linear narrative but as an environmental thread that weaves through the customer experience.”

In 2013 we will see marketers increasingly blurring the line between physical and digital to achieve these lofty goals. A great example is Burberry’s new flagship store in London whose design is based on it consumer website: customer focussed, technically rich, fully branded, accessible and modern.  Customer experience reigns!

Use Social Principles to Develop and Deliver Content Marketing

Social PR Stat: 86% of B2C marketers reported they are now using some kind of content marketing, be it blogs, social PR, videos, or live events.

These tools make for a rich customer experience and help to differentiate brands. Witness Red Bull which garnered 50 million views in four days of its sponsored, heavily branded Stratos jump. A Social PR homerun if there ever was one!

In the on-demand entertainment space that promises to increasing pull your audience away from traditional media, social media as a means of brand experience and distribution becomes increasingly important.

Social PR Tip: Your content had better be good enough for people to seek it out or it will be lost in the ether.

That means creating content that consistently surprises, engages, informs and delights, all the while enhancing your precious brand experience. Also, must making sure you are on all the platforms your customer is so people can find that brand experience.

Yes, the challenges are formidable but brave CMO’s who embrace the changes in the Post-Digital Era and create compelling digitally fueled brand experiences will see rich rewards in the form of enhanced customer relations, brand affinity, engagement, loyalty and trust.

Digital is the new normal.

If you liked this article, get on the list for Lisa Buyer’s upcoming book Social PR Secrets.


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