Blog post

Adobe Summit EMEA 2017: Day 1

posted on 10-05-2017
By Ian Stuyver
Managing Consultant
Ian Stuyver
Managing Consultant

Traditions are there to be kept, and that is why we once again check in for one of the most inspirational marketing experiences in Europe: The Adobe Marketing Summit in London. The opening keynote started with an introduction movie at a dazzling pace, with a fitting soundtrack and we knew one thing: we are in for a treat!


The topic this year is all about making experience your business. You can no longer compete with quality products and top services alone: you need to delight your customers on every occasion in every touchpoint. And we, as customers, became quite a demanding group of people. The rapid advance of technology changed our customer journeys dramatically and we expect companies to anticipate, predict and deliver while respecting our privacy (GDPR, anyone?).


Experiences businesses outpace and outperform experience laggers on customer satisfaction and brand advocacy. This experience business consists of 4 tenets and companies can only find structure in the chaos if they do well in all areas. The first one: know me & respect me. Don’t make me reintroduce myself every time and talk to me in context with who I am. And when you communicate, speak in one voice and don’t send out mixed signals or confusing messages over the different channels. The third element is all about technology. Don’t do technology for technology but make it completely transparent. Slapping a mobile UI on a legacy system is not the answer. Technology must facilitate the customer journey but should not be overused. The last principle is delight at every turn. Try wowing your customers and remember that today’s top experience is tomorrows standard.

 Adobe Summit 2017 Keynote

All these principles of course remain stuck in theories without actual business stories on stage. And there were plenty of them. Domino’s allows you the order your favorite pizza through various channels like apps, Facebook Messenger and Amazon Alexa. And you can track it from oven to your door, and send a message to the pizza chef to encourage him to do his utmost best. It really is the internet of pizza!


One of the eye catchers when you arrived at the summit, was the long line of German luxury cars at the entrance. All brand-new vehicles in different colours, but all from the same manufacturer: BMW. They took the stage during the keynote and started with a remarkable observation: in the near future, the least interesting thing about a car is probably that you can drive it. BMW, a 100-year-old company, is transforming from an automotive company towards a mobility provider. It’s no longer only about the steel, leather and the logo! Cars are your companion, and give you freedom. Freedom, also inside the car, where I want to use my favourite services and not remain stuck in the BMW ecosystem.


Adobe Summit 2017 BMW 

New technologies like Augmented and Virtual Reality are changing the dealerships, and should offer experiences that enrich the customer journey. And then of course, the big hype: self-driving cars. BMW is probably the last car manufacturer that removes the steering wheel from the vehicles, but it will happen some day!


Another company that joined on stage was The Daily Telegraph. The disruption in printed media is happening so fast that they are in constant transition. Finding a balance between quality journalism and premium (paid) content, in this era of fake news (alternative facts) is key in their diversification journey. And this content supplies oxygen to the various commercial initiatives they are involved in. T-Mobile started in a nostalgic fashion, remembering simpler times with fewer screens. But then picked up the pace with an inspiring presentation about differentiating themselves from carriers who they call dumb, dumber and the other. They present themselves as the un-carrier with one simple principle: “we are about the customer”. Experience-driven selling points with giant touchscreens for browsing accessories and complementary services. Chatting with customer service through the app or Facebook Messenger, or getting your new mobile phone delivered within the hour through UberRUSH. Completely configured and ready for use! A true example of a company that is built around customer centricity from the ground up.


After the opening keynote the breakout sessions started. We chose the Coca-Cola session and received a masterclass in brand identity and social engagement. 120 slides with drawings, pictures, sketches and videos on how one of the biggest brands in the world stretches the boundaries of their design guidelines. We also received a sneak peek from the 2018 World Cup (in Russia) Campaign. Truly an honour to attend and a visual experience to nourish!


Adobe Summit 2017 Coca-Cola 

A remarkable title captured our attention for the second breakout session: “Does everything need to be digital?”. Tamara Lohan, founder of the luxury booking agency Mr & Mrs Smith, explained how they went from fully offline to a blend of channels and keep combining self-created curated content with online experiences. And keep surprising their customer with holidays in extraordinary locations that care about every detail. And the answer to the session title? Definitely no, print is here to stay!


We ended the breakout sessions with the presentation from Amplifon, manufacturer of hearing aids. Due to the age of a large part of their audience, they have a specific challenge and complexity of engaging on digital channels. But also noticed the rise of the silver surfers (or instagrannies) with a growing interest in digital channels. And what’s next: all about APIs and IoT combined with their hearing aids!


And now we look forward to the second day tomorrow, but first the summit celebration. See you later!

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