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Working together: Creating a consistent brand experience through collaborative data management.

par Aurélien Dumont9 February 20180 commentaires

With the advent of online, and especially multi-channel retail, it is essential for companies to digitize their marketing data and adopt an effective approach to managing digital content, in order to ensure a consistent brand experience across all channels.

This can notably be done through streamlined and effective management of the brand’s content and other data (Digital Asset Management). Centralizing, managing and maintaining this data can prove to be an operational challenge for companies, both internally, within the companies’ various different departments, as well as externally, with its collaborators and communication channels.

This also presents companies with another significant challenge: delivering a consistent brand experience in a complex environment.

For this article, we spoke with Chen-Do Lu, Marketing Manager at Alkemics, and discussed how the collaborative aspects of content management tools are key to addressing these operational and marketing challenges:

Nowadays, why is a collaborative approach essential to managing data more effectively in companies?

Digitization was first implemented by companies to address department-specific needs (logistics, quality control, analyses, marketing, etc.) using specialized solutions, each of which stored and managed data and content in their own ways. However, having their data spread across different types of software and formatted in different manners prevented companies from being able to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by new technologies. This is because it was challenging for company’s teams to access this data, keep it up to date, and ensure quality control.

Nowadays, this content is extremely important, especially for marketing departments, as it is the foundation of a company’s online visibility and product listings. This means that companies need to centralize their data, as well as use collaborative digital content management solutions that both complement the department-specific tools, used daily by different teams to keep the data up to date, and are specifically designed for omnichannel content sharing.

Previously oriented towards training needs (such as digital learning and MOOCs) and internal communications in companies, more and more collaborative platforms are becoming available that are designed to address more operational needs. These models no longer follow a top-down approach when it comes to data, but rather a horizontal, team-focused model, in order to make the data management process more collaborative.

By offering all contributors a single, connected communication channel, business processes and organization are optimized, providing a significant increase in efficiency and operational excellence. Moreover, more efficient data maintenance, sharing and verification processes, as well as the use of collaborative platforms for the digitization of these processes, allows them to be steered more effectively — companies can view indicators on the maturity of these processes, including completeness, quality, compliance, how the data is used, etc.

 

Can improvements to how operational data is managed also benefit the rest of the company’s ecosystem?

This approach can certainly be used by the company’s entire network. Collaborative tools and platforms link the network together, providing the entire ecosystem with a consistent way to to share data.

The increasing number of collaborative platforms available, as well as the ability to link these together through the use of APIs or web service bindings, bridges the gap between companies and their collaborators, facilitating the entire collaboration process. Some software companies, such as Alkemics, are truly creating a collaboration network that connects a wide variety of different actors.

This approach fits in perfectly with new developments in omnichannel business, in which different collaborative tools, connected to external platforms, enable companies to enter data in a single location and share it with their entire ecosystem.

This collaborative model takes a more qualitative approach, creating a bridge between data and those that use it. For example, these platforms facilitate collaborations between brands and retailers in the mass-market retail sector, notably by making it easier for them to collaborate on e-commerce projects. With these types of projects, managing and ensuring the consistency of online content ensures better visibility, and most of all, a seamless brand experience.

At the same time, though collaborative tools are breaking down the barriers between companies and their collaborators, the implementation of these solutions also enables each actor to focus on their core business. Once again taking the example of the grocery retail market, Alkemics enables retailers to collect brand content and data in real-time. This allows companies to enhance their customer experience, providing information and assistance to customers and improving customer engagement. Suppliers once again have the ability to steer their brand experience, while ensuring that retailers also benefit from this.

What impacts do these initiatives have on customers’ brand experience?

As we mentioned before, collaborative content management platforms are primarily designed to share, verify and maintain company or brand data, comprehensively and across all channels. Using a single platform for both data entry and management ensures the consistency of the brand’s digital content.

Over time, this approach to digital content management, which we could refer to as brand consistency, will strengthen the brand experience. A concrete example of this is a consumer’s ability to view identical product pages on all of the e-commerce sites that they visit, regardless of which device that they are using.

This strategy will also facilitate communications throughout the company, breaking down the arbitrary separation between online and offline activities. Having a more complete understanding of products and consumer behaviour will make it easier for companies to determine which channels to sell their products on, manage stock in a consistent and connected manner, and better understand consumer habits and trends.

Consistent data management is therefore one of the key drivers of a seamless brand experience. Through Digital Asset Management, new practices are also emerging. Effective data management also offers companies the ability to improve their products’ rankings on e-commerce sites, via a sort of specific SEO for online stores. This is truly becoming a form of digital merchandising, in which creating effective product listings will improve their visibility on websites, whether via a search by product uses or characteristics, or through filters and navigation elements.

In summary, using a collaborative data management platform enables companies to increase their productivity, both in internal processes and communications with collaborators. These tools ensure more effective data management, as well as consistency throughout the process. Over time, this consistent and multi-channel approach to sharing data strengthens and supports the brand experience, ensuring it is effectively managed across all channels. All of the practices mentioned here are the first steps towards adopting a Smart Data approach, in which effectively using and managing data strengthens the brand experience. What’s the next step? Go beyond optimizing the multi-channel data sharing process and the brand experience, and work on drawing insight from consumer data. In short, develop a Big Data strategy.