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Article | The Art and Science of Creating a Psychic Brand

Putting Psychic Brands in Capable Hands

Technology continues to progress from the age of responsive platforms to predictive analytics. Companies are now entering the stage where they are able to understand the slightest customer triggers and respond to problems and desires before they fully develop. Just as some couples can complete each other's sentences, brands are now able to satisfy the consumer's every question and need by observing and analyzing past interactions and trends to uncover clues that indicate when the company may need to intercept. But, before brands can adequately cater to customers in the manner they've come to expect, they must implement and hone the capabilities necessary to enable these psychic elements.

In this time of technological agility, psychic brands are those that proactively tend to customers. They are clairvoyant, understanding what customers need, when they need it, and on which channel they will be most receptive. This continuous, preemptive cycle fosters brand loyalty, cultivating relationships through satisfaction and reliability. From data mining and statistics to modeling and machine learning, brands are able to gather and analyze current and historical data to make predictions about the unforeseen.

Typically, predictive analytics utilize business intelligence technology that generates a predictive score for each customer and factors it across an organization. With such measures, companies can create an analytical model that considers data across channels and interactions to teach the enterprise which elements may drive particular customer behaviors. This helps firms optimize marketing campaigns and other interactions to boost customer engagement, increase clicks and conversions, and decrease churn.

But, if brands hope to implement a truly psychic foundation, they must integrate the necessary tools to ensure that engagement, retention, and loyalty comprise the end result. Brands must build a state-of-the-art infrastructure that processes, analyzes, and formulates actionable insights. The amount of customer information flowing about in the ether—both structured and unstructured—can be easily accessed by anyone. However, few know how to manipulate this data and turn it into the actionable insights that enhance the overall customer experience. While each business must assess and integrate platforms that work in tandem with its specific goals, this infrastructure must also be flexible, changing along with the brand's business strategy as necessary. Much of what's in place in current businesses lack this flexibility and strategic connection. Many companies must upgrade their infrastructure, especially on the technology end, to enable psychic interactions. These platforms must be fluid to allow for evolution within the organization and to accommodate the rapidly changing consumer environment.

There's nothing like a good SMAC

There are many ways companies can get their psychic house in order. One is to be vigilant when it comes to SMAC stack. SMAC, which stands for social, mobile, analytics, and cloud, narrows in on the emerging tools that all psychic brands must have in place before they can truly earn their name and reputation. Many business leaders think of these four tools as separate entities with individual strategies. However, they are intertwined and must be considered as parts of a whole. For example, brands must establish ways to combine and analyze incoming unstructured social and mobile data, frequently using cloud solutions to host and manage these capabilities in a way that brings consistent insight to the entire organization.

Presently, many companies find it difficult to precisely determine what triggered customer sentiment is coming from mobile and social channels, especially in a siloed environment. This puts even greater weight on the need for predictive analytics, as psychic brands must be able to pick up on various clues within posts and tweets that may indicate problems or concerns. Brands must integrate adequate social monitoring and social listening platforms, along with relevant social campaigns, into their organizations in order to ensure that they capture the proper return on investment.

Unfortunately, brands have not yet truly figured out how to drive this ROI, revealing one of the most pressing challenges facing psychic brands. By using customer engagement analytics, however, companies can better develop their understanding of the customer experience and how consumers perceive and embrace certain products or services. For instance, Apple continuously uses data analytics and customer feedback to engage and enhance the customer experience through its product offerings. It blends culture, training, and talent to complement its simple and user-friendly products to satisfy customers and nurture customer advocates.

Tapping into internal minds

SMAC stacks and other technical capabilities are important, but being psychic requires an emotional commitment from employees, as well. Psychic brands must encourage intellectual involvement across the enterprise to eliminate silos and ensure the consistency necessary for accurate predictive analytics.

First and foremost, companies must build their strategy on the underlying theory that every employee be obsessed with the customer. Internal culture, employee personalities, and even corporate incentives should reinforce and reward putting customers first. Frontline employees especially  should be empowered and share what they learn from customer interactions. By mixing this knowledge with other data collected throughout the organization, companies can learn things about their customers that competitors can't and cultivate the strong relationships that only come from getting to know customers intimately.

Psychic brands differentiate themselves by providing exceptional customer experiences. Understanding what customers like to buy, how they like to buy, and what's likely to keep them loyal captures the consumer's imagination on the front end and opens up the opportunity to execute the transaction and offer effective follow up to ensure continued satisfaction over the long term.

Ultimately, psychic brands will recognize that, by implementing these technological and intellectual capabilities across the enterprise, customer engagement, retention, and loyalty are bound to increase. With these capabilities in place, truly psychic brands will deliver an ongoing customer experience that optimizes each relationship's potential for continued growth and success.