Salesforce: How smart brands are starting to think like customers

We find out what the likes of L’Oréal, Room & Board, Mattel and TEDxSydney are doing to optimise brand engagement

Organisations must think more like customers and find their own procurement processes to better leverage brand awareness.

Speaking at the Salesforce’s Future of Marketing in Sydney, head of product marketing, Derek Laney said brands such as L’Oréal, Mattel and Room and Board are achieving greater customer engagement and advocacy by using platforms that enable them to engage, listen and respond at every step, from advertising to mobile and social.

“But these also need to be tightly integrated within the rest of the organisation,” he said. “They need to be integrated with their sales teams, their service teams and their online communities – and they need a platform that brings it all together.”

L’Oréal recently launched what it claimed to be the first-of-its-kind app allowing women to virtually try on its cosmetics products using augmented reality technology.

The ‘Makeup Genius’ app is based on facial mapping technology previously used in the film and gaming industries, and turns a smartphone or iPad camera into a virtual mirror that women can use to try on L’Oréal products in real time. Consumers scan a product or advertisement to detect a colour match, then can virtually try on individual products as well as curated looks suggested by expert makeup artists. These images can then be shared via Facebook.

According to Laney, L’Oréal saw the potential in growth of customer engagement by using digital to not only connect with customers, but create a complete brand experience.

“The key thing L’Oréal needed was the complete journey,” he said. “It needed the content stories, the engagement to remind you to use the application where you are physically – and to prompt you at a time when you are in store and scan the barcode and see how it is going to look.”

Mattel: Fostering engagement

Laney said toy giant, Mattel, also has a large user base it’s trying to connect to.

“Traditionally, if you wanted a toy, you would just go to the store and buy it,” he said. “But Mattel wanted to have an ongoing relationship with customers and create engaging experiences.”

In order to reach out to consumers to showcase its promotional campaigns, holiday campaigns and specialist campaigns targeted to adult collectors, the brand created an interactive experience with its online audience, including using emails, SMS, push message and new group messaging.

In addition to enjoying the physical experience of a new toy, customers that purchase certain products like Hot Wheels cars, are also able to scan the packaging bar code and experience an online play experience via a mobile app.

“Brand marketing today is all enhancing and empowering through digital,” a Mattel spokesperson said. “Incredible brands delight with incredible products and a great experience for the consumers. But they also unlock new frontiers with this vision and provide a seamless connective experience across any device on a global scale.

“Right now, we are going through massive transformation. We stay on top by listening to our consumers, it is as simple as that.”

Mattel uses the Salesforce marketing cloud to build a more unified communications approach.

“We are really starting to listen to what our consumers have to say, using the insights from all these interactions and data points from the website, email, SMW, Instagram, or anywhere in the social space,” the company spokesperson said. “We can then communicate with consumers in a way that is relevant to them, whether they are in China, France, The Middle East or the United States.

“When we think about consumers going on this journey, we think about seamlessly transitioning from brand to brand and also introducing things they didn’t know where out there. It’s about delighting, exciting and surprising them with the different experiences Mattel comes up with. One of the most exciting things for us, is that in the future we’re going to be able to deliver fantastic connective experiences with consumers around the world on any device or platform, in ways that we’ve never been able to do before and salesforce makes that possible.”

Room & Board: Uniting in-store and digital shopping experiences

Furniture and home accessories store, Room & Board, also took the time to listen to and understand their customers in order to create an enjoyable and effective online shopping experience.

“A customer doesn’t care if they’re shopping in store or on the Web or on the phone,” a Room & Board spokesperson said. “They are the same person and it’s important we know that. We’re all about creating a space that is enjoyable for the customer and we do this by showing to the customer that we know them all the way through the process.”

The retailer used Salesforce marketing cloud to track and monitor its consumer purchasing decisions, capturing intelligence that helped it communicate with customers at the right place and right time.

“It’s a shared experience and we get a holistic view of the customers,” the spokesperson said. “Every day we’re delighting our customer and it is giving us more opportunities. The data keeps getting better and better and the results keep getting better and better. The numbers don’t lie. Our ROI is pushing 2800 per cent and we have experienced a 600 per cent increase in conversions.”

By using the new ‘recommendations’ function, Room & Board brand can also tailor every single customer’s unique interaction with that brand, based on previous purchases or browsing behaviour, Salesforce mobile specialist, Lucy Brindle, said during the forum presentation.

“It is important to get the right information to the customers are the right time, and that’s relatively straight-forward in-store, but now they can also do that online,” she said. “We call that connecting the physical world, with the digital world.”

TEDxSydney: Creating an interactive community

Head of partnerships TEDxSydney, Kate Dezarnaulds, said a global brand like TEDx is not only about great content, but also a community of people who are value aligned and share similar values and attitudes.

TEDx grew the largest independent event in the world in Sydney, with 4000 people attending sessions across four different venues. Its satellite event was three times the size it had been the previous years and about 10,000 people took part, with another 30,000 or 40,000 people were watching on live streaming. The content from TEDx Sydney has now been viewed more than 50 million times online.

“It’s an incredible ride to be on,” Dezarnaulds said. “But we have the perennial problem of keeping people engaged with us through the rest of the year.”

TEDx maintains community engagement by drip-feeding content to drive subscriptions, while giving extra focus to its partners, Dezarnaulds said.

“There are about four times more people who apply to attend,” she said. “It is that need to compete and inspire and be part of the event itself that drives engagement. The key is to find that authentic sweet spot for your conversation – you have to find a place to be very real about things that they’re interested in and reflect a genuine interest in your purpose.”

To maintain a high level of community engagement, Dezarnaulds advised other brands to have two-way conversations.

“Once you say something and people respond back, you have to keep on engaging with that conversation and keep that conversation moving,” she said.

Dezarnaulds said TEDxSydney also uses Salesforce digital marketing platforms to monitor ambient conversation going on in the social media space, especially closer to the event when it is happening in order to keep up high-volume community engagement.

Ultimately, to keep engagement levels at their best, brands must be authentic, genuine and provide a personalised experience, she said.

“Don’t take yourself too seriously,” she added. “People and consumers are highly attuned these days and can pick up when people take themselves too seriously and are a bit stiff. It’s about being genuine, having a sense of humour and thinking of all those people out there as individuals who have a very direct and personal relationship with your brand.”

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