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Customer experience leads business investment in APAC: Report

Design and creativity are key differentiators for businesses to stay ahead of their competitors and deliver the best experiences for their customers, a new research from Adobe highlighted. The Creative Pulse research surveyed more than 5,000 creative and marketing professionals and examined the role of design and creativity in businesses transformation across Asia Pacific (APAC). Markets surveyed include India, Australia, New Zealand, Korea, Southeast Asia (SEA), Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.

The 2017 Creative Pulse found that merging online and offline experiences is the biggest driver of change for the creative community, followed by the adoption of data and analytics and the need for new skills. The research also found that customer experience is the number one investment by businesses across APAC.

The report also highlighted that social media is the number one investment by businesses across SEA, followed by customer experience and content. New technologies, such as augmented and virtual reality and machine learning, are the number one disruptive trend for creatives, followed by the impact of social and new platforms for reaching audiences.

“Businesses everywhere are ramping up on customer experience, and the merging of online and offline experiences is a significant shift in the way organisations are thinking about customer experience. While many organisations have been focused on digital transformation and experiences, people still expect great physical experiences as well. Great customer experiences need to transcend the entire customer journey and be consistent at every touchpoint, whether online or offline,” said V.R. Srivatsan, Managing Director, Adobe Southeast Asia.

Online and offline experiences are being driven by new technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, powered by artificial intelligence. The 2017 Creative Pulse found that half of those surveyed across APAC did not feel concerned by artificial intelligence or machine learning, however, in SEA, 64 per cent of respondents expressed concerned about the impact of these technologies, with 22 per cent saying they were extremely concerned.

“Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can automate mundane processes and help creative professionals streamline their day-to-day production, allowing them time to focus on ideation and creativity. These new technologies are not going to replace the role of creativity; instead they can help free up time for creatives to focus on what they do best—being creative and scaling their ideas,” added Mr Srivatsan.

While creatives in SEA are concerned that new technologies will take over their jobs, they are not sitting on their laurels. Fifty-one per cent of respondents are looking to embrace new skills in machine learning and automation to raise their value through design thinking. Sixty-nine per cent also said they are updating their skills every six months to a year to keep up with industry developments.

Fifty-four per cent of respondents advised that customer experience is at the centre of their organisation’s strategy. Thirty-six per cent of creatives and marketers have recently implemented a customer experience program; 38 per cent plan to develop one and 24 per cent do not plan to deliver a customer experience program in the next 12 months.

SEA creatives and marketers are integrating design thinking across functions: creatives (64 per cent), marketers (51 per cent) and those working in product development (47 per cent).

SEA organisations are also investing in social media more than any other regions in Asia Pacific. This is followed by customer experience and content. This emphasis on social platforms presents a variety of opportunities and challenges in the region.

“Social media is big in SEA, and it has forced an explosion in demand for content, putting pressures on organisations to keep up. Budgets were identified as the biggest challenge, followed by conflicting views and internal processes. To deliver the maximum impact with a shrinking budget, creatives and marketing teams must leverage data and analytics to align their content strategy, and ensure what they are creating is relevant, and delivering an amazing experience for customers,” Mr Srivatsan added.

The 2017 Creative Pulse has reinforced the importance of design and creativity in digital transformation and experience business.

“Becoming an Experience Business is not simply achieved by transferring an existing ordinary experience onto a digital platform. It is about harnessing the power of great design and creativity to stand out from the competition by delivering an exceptional, compelling experience for customers,” said Mr Srivatsan.

Shubhi Tandon

Shubhi Tandon, Special Correspondent at Digital Market Asia, is fascinated by the evolving digital media industry, and has focussed on tracking developments in the field in Asia Pacific.
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