Last week, we wrapped up The Next Normal summer webinar series with two sessions featuring thought leaders from PepsiCo and Salesforce discussing the importance of building connections in a socially distant world and developing successful direct-to-consumer content.

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If you missed our recap on the first two sessions in our series, check it out first. You can also watch all four webinars on demand now.

Now, let’s check out the major insights of our second week of The Next Normal summer series.

How to connect digitally in a socially distant world

In our “Digital Connections for a Socially Distant World” session, PepsiCo VP of Global Media and Consumer Data Shyam Venugopal and DEG’s Tony Toubia and Quinn Sheek dove into the common challenges brands are facing as they try to engage consumers today.

Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic impact on in-store shopping with significantly diminished foot traffic and a reduction of personal connections and service we traditionally experience in stores. Outside of the pandemic, social unrest is shaping how brands communicate what they stand for and where they’re spending their advertising dollars. And from a technology perspective, the impending loss of third-party cookies in 2022 will further distance brands from consumers in their ability to identify users and create relevance.

Let’s take a look at three takeaways from this session:

1. Being authentic has always mattered. Today, it matters more than ever.

People want to buy from brands that understand them and share their values. The feeling of connection, which stems from authenticity, leads to a stronger brand-customer relationship. To be authentic, brands need to be accurate, human, and empathetic. This will lead to brand trust, loyalty, and even advocacy among your customers.

2. Customers care about data privacy, and many are willing to act.

According to the 2019 Cisco Consumer Privacy Survey, 91% of people won’t buy from a company if they don’t trust how their data will be used. How you collect data, and what you do with it, matters to customers.

Yet, personalization is key to winning over customers. And the best way to personalize experiences for customers is by knowing them and making the data you collect safe, accessible, and actionable.

3. Customers rightfully expect value in exchange for data.

People expect personalized experiences and want to engage with brands that provide value to them in exchange for their data. Brands can create value for consumers through personalized experiences, recommendations, ease of transactions, and momentum, as well as by providing offers, including third-party and direct monetary exchange. Brands can also provide value through building a community where consumer identity, belonging, value alignment, and believe systems come together.

How to create DTC content that converts

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In our final webinar, Salesforce VP of Strategic Solutions Ryan Warren joined DEG Managing Director of Channel Strategy John Stauffer for “Winning in DTC: Content That Converts.”

As we’ve seen in the last few months, new technology and strategies are sparking increases in shopping, and many established brands are adopting DTC strategies. The benefits of launching DTC platforms include collecting new, actionable customer data; owning the customer relationship; delivering personalized products at scale; launching new, exclusive products; and addressing competitive threat from disruptors.

Three takeaways from this session were:

1. A winning DTC approach requires a purpose and a plan.

We define purpose as a planning framework design to produce a winning consumer-facing DTC value proposition. Meanwhile, a plan is a customer-build playbook designed to drive profitable revenue into a scaled commerce platform. Successful DTC programs call for transformation with new capabilities to bypass traditional retailers and the ability to engage in 1:1 experiences with a clear and compelling value proposition.

2. A new content operating model is emerging—one designed for iterative moments.

Moments have become the new atomic unit for strategic planning. Instead of prioritizing episodic campaign content, marketers are moving to a “moment orientation” by building winning experiences around a collection of interchangeable, contextual, non-sequential moments.

Brands must move beyond traditional campaign-based execution models and meet customers at the time and places that matter most to them. This action-oriented content model recognizes that people have journeys and our content should reflect this.

3. Two distinct bottlenecks challenge brands on the path to personalization.

The first bottleneck involves brands that lack a perspective on hundreds or thousands of unique message variations and fall back to demographics in the creative briefing process. Demographics do a poor job of statistically segmenting customers by lifetime value, and, as a consequence, creative teams are misled into designing for “busy moms” or “urban elites.”

Meanwhile, brands also have to contend with the fact that dynamic content production and distribution requires a new journey mindset driven by interlocking moments. Without a robust assembly and distribution process, experiences are delivered by traditional sequential journeys and consumers experience “shallow personalization,” while brands miss out on opportunities to retain customers at risk for churn.

What’s next in 2020 and beyond?

As we continue to navigate this abnormal year, we’re looking at the data to bring insight into what we can expect in our next normal. Our DEG thought leaders are constantly evaluating trending topics and client data to uncover any hidden insights that can help us prepare our clients for what’s ahead.

If you have any questions about how we can help your brand better leverage its data and digital channels to grow, we’d be happy to collaborate on developing some solutions with you.

View The Next Normal summer series on demand

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Watch all four webinars from our summer series of The Next Normal, featuring experts from Gap Inc., United Way of Greater Kansas City, PepsiCo, Salesforce, and DEG. All recordings and additional helpful resources are accessible on demand now for you to start planning for what lies ahead.

Sign up to access The Next Normal summer series.

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