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Experiences rise above all else: Shantanu Narayen, Adobe

Design for brilliance, rewire the organisation for intelligence and re-architect infrastructure to energise operations – any company that follows this three-pronged approach to business is best placed to deal with the challenges of an experience-driven industry, according to Adobe’s president and CEO Shantanu Narayen.

Mr Narayen was speaking at the Adobe Summit 2018 that is being attended by over 13,000 people in Las Vegas. In the address, he reiterated the significance of ‘experience’, a journey that it had began on a year ago.

Irrespective the consumer segment, experiences is what ultimately stay with consumers and form the foundation of the relationships they have with marketers.

The Experience Business
“When customers look at all of the experiences that stand out to them, they remember some of the details, but it’s usually the sum of the experience that stays with them and builds affinity,” explained Mr Narayen.

As consumers seek ‘phenomenal experiences’, Mr Narayen pointed out that successful companies recognise and cater to that demand. “Experiences rise above everything else,” he said.

Challenging the school of thought that it is ultimately the product that the consumer pays for, and that matters the most, Mr Narayen said, “People today buy experiences, not products. They aren’t the key differentiator anymore. Companies are competing for customers’ hearts and minds, and should aim to exceed their expectations in every point of the journey.”

As experiences become an important part of the marketing business, it is no surprise that Adobe’s marketing and advertising cloud, that it had added over a year ago to its overall offer in order to create the Experience Cloud, is among its most promising businesses today.

Mr Narayen argues that organisations need to rise above the noise and clutter, and speak to consumers to make a lasting impression. For this, companies need to design for brilliance, rewire for intelligence, and create architecture for action. This will enable them to deliver customer experiences across all channels, break down silos and remove the digital duct tape.

The three-pronged advice
Mr Narayen explained that design is not just the way the product looks, but it is about the engagement that a company has with its customers. “Great experiences start with great design,” he said.

For organisations to equip for intelligence, the process starts with breaking down data to understand context and respond in real time.

“That’s when the real magic happens. Content intelligence is just as important when it comes to generating the massive amount of content required for personalisation at scale,” he said.

A company’s infrastructure too needs to be re-architected with experiences in mind. Mr Narayen concluded his advice saying that the change needed immense effort but eventually it is “worth it”.

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.