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Brad Rencher’s four-point plan to be an experience business

Businesses have been faced with many challenges due to vast digital disruption, and roles and responsibilities have shaken to the core. Marketing no longer is about awareness but purpose. And in that backdrop, Adobe’s experience positioning makes tremendous sense. At least that is the argument Adobe’s Executive Vice President of Digital Marketing, Brad Rencher leads with at the Adobe Summit.

As consumers evolve and become a demanding group, it is about the experience and not the products that the company is providing. “Experience is the sum total of the company, through its functions. A great experience does not save time but maximise time with the brand. We are officially riding the experience business wave,” Mr Rencher said.

The experience wave is a new battle ground where companies will compete for the foreseeable future. It was never a matter of if, but when, and now, it is here. “If your business does not have a holistic view of the consumer and is not delivering a wow experience every day, you are behind competition already. Make experience your business,” Mr Rencher advised.

Four tenets of experience business
Mr Rencher explains that the experience business model is rooted in four key tenets. The first is to ‘know and respect the consumer’. Businesses need to understand the need of the consumers and adapt accordingly.

The second is to ‘speak in one voice’, always delivering the relevant message and staying in context.

‘Make technology transparent’ is the third tenet. The medium is not the message, the experience is. Companies should not make it about tech, and apply tech only when that is the right thing to do.

Finally, an experience business will ‘delight at every turn’, constantly elevating and staying in pace with the consumer.

Being an experience business
The solution is surprisingly consistent. Quoting the example of the automotive industry, that is seeing disruption at every turn, Mr Rencher explained that various industry categories have evolved into experience businesses. “If you think about the mobile, the least interesting thing you can do with it today is make a call. Similarly, the least interesting thing about the car soon will be driving it. The car has become an extension of a consumer’s life, and is becoming the ultimate experience pod. It begins even before a rider gets into the car,” he said.

The shift is seen not only in the automotive but also in categories like travel, banking and media and entertainment. Reiterating this, National Geographic’s CMO, Jill Cress, said, “We have been pushing the boundaries of visual story telling across all our assets and it gives us an unrivaled sense of purpose. NG has a pivotal moment in 1905 when 35mm film was introduced. It was a moment of real change and transition. Members of the board left saying the company was bastardising the product and that magazine had become a picture book. But that put the course forward for the brand. That visual storytelling, which is followed to this day, is rooted in ethos of embracing innovation and new tech to be one of the world’s best storytellers.”

Being an experience business is not easy. Mr Rencher offered a four-tip cheat sheet for building a successful experience business, from a technology perspective. This included ‘Context is the starting line’, ‘Design for speed and scale’, ‘Master the milliseconds that make the journey and ‘Integrate to innovate’.

Noor Fathima Warsia

A veteran journalist in the Indian marketing, media and advertising fraternity, Noor Fathima Warsia took on the role of Group Editor -– APAC for Digital Market Asia in May 2013. Noor has focussed on tracking trends and developments in the Indian media industry.