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Customer Experience

Adobe Summit Recap - Make Experience Your Business

by Duff Anderson, on Mar 28, 2018

This year, my Adobe Summit experience started off a little differently. I went hiking.

With the opportunity to take in the natural beauty of Red Rock Canyon, the experience was sensational, to say the least (Check out my Twitter account to see some photos). But beyond getting some physical exercise, it turned out to be the perfect prologue to the Adobe Summit.

Below are a few of my key takeaways from Days 1 and 2 of the event, which this year is taking place in Las Vegas:


Day 2 - Experience Maker All-Stars

Day 1 of the Adobe Summit focused on, “Become an Experience Maker”. Much of the keynote was dedicated to the importance and the impact that a great customer experience can have on your business performance. (You can read about Day 1 below). 

The spotlight of Day 2 shone on “Experience Maker All-Stars”. We had the opportunity to hear from an eclectic group of people, from an entrepreneur to a sports star to a CEO, each bringing their own unique perspective and set of experiences on how to become an ‘experience maker’.  

Here are a few quotes that stood out to me during the Adobe Summit keynote day 2 and why: 


“Frequently taking note of the little things is the key to our success.” – Sir Richard Branson

Being a renowned entrepreneur and Founder of the Virgin Group, Sir Richard Branson was one of the most anticipated speakers at this year’s Adobe Summit. Sir Richard’s presentation was littered with examples of how offering a better experience has been key to his success. In addition to reminding the audience to “always be a good listener”, Sir Richard shared the quote above when describing what has helped him reach his goals. 


This quote really stood out to me as the Customer Experience is not limited to a single interaction you have with a brand. It’s made up of all interactions, big or small. More and more consumers have the technology and the means at their disposal to search out a seemingly growing number of options, and it’s often the little things that make the big difference in their decisions. 


“People want to be part of something positive.” – J.J. Watt

As an NFL fan, I was interested to hear J.J. Watt tackle (excuse the pun) ‘experience’. 

J.J. recently won the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award for helping raise $37 million in donations for Hurricane Harvey relief in Houston. 

Reflecting on how his initial goal of raising $200,000 in donations skyrocketed to ultimately reach $37 million, J.J. made reference to how people simply wanted to help the cause, but didn’t know where to go. 


Speaking at a business conference like Adobe Summit, the context of J.J.’s story is definitely inspirational and unique. Although, the idea that people are often willing to share with others when given a clear avenue to do so, whether it be donations or their opinions and feedback, is one that I feel is universal. 

J.J. also referred to how he was able to reach his goal of ultimately playing in the NFL, which I felt is applicable to anyone who wants to be successful in a particular field. His advice was to think about where you want to be (For him, it was to play in the NFL), and work your way backwards and set incremental goals that will help you reach that goal (play in college > get a scholarship to play in college > get good grades > etc.). 

In a CX context, this means that to achieve success, you need to set incremental goals, such as starting with creating a team of CX champions at your organization, or documenting a process to improve the CX. For some more tips of what incremental steps you could take to improve the customer experience be sure to check out my article on the key pillars to CX Governance. 


“VR [is] a wormhole for us to travel to virtual worlds. AR is the way for Artificial Intelligence agents that are in these virtual worlds to wormhole into us.” – Jensen Huang

It’s no secret that brands are increasingly looking to Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) to create unique experiences. This keynote included a discussion between Shantanu Narayen, President & CEO of Adobe, and Jensen Huang, Founder, President and CEO of NVIDIA, during which the two discussed the technological advancements that have allowed game developers to generate environments and graphics to offer gamers a more immersive experience.


During their discussion, Jensen explained how VR and AR tied together, and I found it to be an elegant way of summing up the differences and similarities between these technologies. 

I like the “wormhole” analogy Jensen used, which I feel it highlights an “immersive” element of these technologies that they, ultimately, try to achieve. This immersive element is the goal that brands are trying to achieve when investigating and investing into these technologies which, when executed well, offers that “above-and-beyond” experience that sticks with consumers and helps brands stand out from the crowd.

VR and AR are two technologies that will be very interesting to see how they will be implemented by brands in the coming years, as brands attempt to blur the line between the real and virtual worlds in hopes of offering a superior customer experience. 


Day 1 - Make Experience Your Business

People buy experience

“Do you remember the last vacation you took?”, This was the opening question posed by Shantanu Narayen, President & CEO of Adobe, during his keynote presentation.

He then retold how he recently flew out to New York to see his son and celebrate his birthday. During his trip, he had a number of different memorable experiences, from seeing Hamilton to sightseeing, all of which included a digital element. His experience deeply resonated with me, as recently I published a blog post about the omni-channel customer experience and how everything every aspect of the purchasing experience was done digitally when I went to see an NHL game.



Shantanu used this example to highlight how people buy experiences, not products. He explains that, “It used to be that products were the basis of differentiation. But not anymore. Business must deliver real experiences to win in this increasingly competitive market. 


But what does it take to create a great experience? Shantanu put forward three ways for businesses to deliver a phenomenal experience:

  1. Design for brilliance
  2. Wire for intelligence
  3. Architect for Action

And of course, this has to be done across every device and every touchpoint to make sure you succeed in providing a great customer experience.


Make experience your business

Brad Rencher, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Adobe Experience Cloud, then took to the stage.

Brad highlighted the business impact of investing in experience, presenting findings from a soon-to-be-released report by Forrester that highlights how business leaders who focus on the customer experience had 1.6x increase in brand awareness and 1.9x in average order value.


Source: Adobe


Brad followed-up these findings with a great quote: “Making experience your business is good for business. Especially if you want to stay in business.”.

But what about a practical example of how this is working in the real world? As fast as you could ask the question, John O’Sullivan, Managing Director and CEO of Tourism Australia took to the stage to explain how.

He walked through how a Tourism Australia ad campaign that ran during this year’s Super Bowl (shown below) was driven by data.


For John, “It is about using data to be more efficient and more effective.” He added that, “Putting the customer at the center of everything we do is a big part of our mantra and technology helps us do that.”

I couldn’t agree more with that statement, especially since at iperceptions, we also help brands do this by transforming customer feedback into insights so brands can align and execute more quickly.

John also mentioned the need for everyone to have data, from executives right down to the interns. Again, this is something I am seeing more and more. But I feel the data has to be meaningful to each team, and not just provide a data dump where departments have to sift through and find insights relating to them. Key stakeholders need to see the insights that matter to them, while also seeing the data in a broader context.


Bridging the physical and digital worlds

Another part of the keynote that stood out to me came from Coca-Cola. David Godsman, Chief Digital Officer, and James Sommerville, VP of Global Design, looked at the importance of storytelling and how everything, even the packaging, is part of the experience. 

One aspect of the presentation that shocked me was that 1.3 billion consumers drink 1.9 billion Coke-affiliated beverages a day! And every one of these consumers is interacting with the Coke brand in different ways, from the website to mobile to Virtual Reality and even voice.

Just to put that into perspective that’s 18 percent of the world population, and as David pointed out - every one of those consumers has their own set of wants, needs and expectations.

Keeping in mind, as a consumer, your wants, needs and expectations can impact how you choose to interact with a brand, especially depending on where you are in your customer journey. Gaining and grasping this knowledge about your customers is crucial if you want to deliver an enjoyable and memorable experience that stands out from the crowd.

That’s why I feel that iperceptions is at the perfect intersection of what David was alluding to as we provide a guided approach to measuring consumer wants, needs and expectations through installing customer feedback listening posts at each touchpoint across the customer journey.


If you are at the Adobe Summit, make sure to stop by the iperceptions booth (857-A) and have a chat with me and the team.

Duff Anderson
Duff Anderson

Duff Anderson is a visionary in Voice of the Customer research with over 20 years’ experience.

See why top brands choose iperceptions to help them improve the Customer Experience.

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