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Digital Transformation without DEI is no transformation at all

Digital Transformation without DEI is no transformation at all; social inclusion and kindness are 2 musts for a successful digital recipe.

In 2020 Americans experienced two events that at the time everyone thought would change the world forever: the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the historic protests following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police. But last Sunday’s Super Bowl, in which brands paid $484.7 million for 42 minutes of advertising–possibly the most notable of which having been a retro-looking QR code bouncing around old-school-screen-saver style, sending people to a crypto-currency site they ended up crashing–during a game where “End Racism” was written in the endzones, culminating the season for a league currently being sued for systemic discrimination against minority coaches, raises the question about how much things have really changed.

Brands didn’t hesitate to transform themselves in the face of the pandemic. Necessity is the mother of all innovation to paraphrase a cliche. According to KPMG’s Global Head of Advisory, thanks to the pandemic, “The move to digitization has accelerated, and the benefits will be permanent…There is no going back.” McKinsey data suggests that 80% of consumer interactions have moved online and that the pandemic has caused a quantum leap, having sped up digital adaptation by several years. Deloitte says that “to grow and thrive in a post-COVID-19 world, swift digital transformation into a pandemic-proof organizational model is vital,” and the pandemic even inspired notoriously slow CPGs to accelerate their strategies

The move to digital as a response to the pandemic has been indisputable and unanimous, and it makes sense. Consumers are demanding that companies meet them where they are and that they deliver personalized experiences. Approximately 75% of consumers experimented with new shopping behaviors because of the pandemic and 80% of them expect to continue with those behaviors. Consumers are increasingly demanding more personalized experiences and expect to experience them digitally.

While DEI has grown in importance, the change in the wake of the George Floyd protests is more of a mixed bag. It wasn’t all bad at the Super Bowl. For the first time in the history of Super Bowl advertisements, “female BIPOC representation (46%) and male BIPOC representation (41%) mirrored the 38% BIPOC US population,” and we saw the first hip-hop act to headline a history making and extremely well received halftime show. Those bright spots, however are probably overshadowed by the fact that the NFL is currently being sued for systemic discrimination. The NFL isn’t alone. In the last month Tesla has been sued by California for systemic discrimination in its factories and Spotify has been in the news for all the wrong reasons because of racist comments made by its most popular podcast host. 

In our last blog post, Talk is Cheap: Consumers Demand DEI Action, we dropped a lot of data about how consumers are demanding DEI action, just like they are demanding digital transformation.

«Research is basically unanimous that consumers want more diversity. According to Facebook IQ 71% of NOW Gen consumers expect brands to promote DEI in their advertising. According to Microsoft 70% of Gen Z consumers are more trusting of brands that show diversity. A study conducted by The Female Quotient, Google, and IPSOS found that 64% of NOW Gen consumers took some action after seeing an ad that incorporated DEI. That same study found that 69% of Black consumers were more likely to purchase from a brand whose ads positively represented their race, and that 71% of LGBTQ consumers were more likely to click ads that authentically represent their sexual orientation. Furthermore, 75% of Gen Z consumers will end relationships with companies that run ad campaigns perceived as macho, racist, or homo­phobic. These statistics pretty much speak for themselves, and the trend is that DEI is only becoming more important to consumers.»

The data raises a rather unfortunate question: in the face of equally pressing consumer demands, why can brands make monumental changes at speeds never before seen in the realm of digital transformation, but they can’t do the same in addressing issues of systemic racism and discrimination? In a famous New Yorker essay, Letter from a Region in My Mind, James Baldwin theorized that “America, of all the Western nations, has been best placed to prove the uselessness and the obsolescence of the concept of color. But it has not dared to accept this opportunity, or even to conceive of it as an opportunity.” 

Some brands do see the opportunity, and they’re making changes. Levi-Strauss says that “Digital Transformation Depends on Diversity,” and in the eponymous article they lay-out several strategies to combat discrimination that results directly from digital transformation. Google’s Super Bowl ad spoke directly to how their technology takes into account the difficulties some people have in being photographed emphasizing that their product makes sure that “everyone feels seen.” Hershey’s, for example, has created a new position, Chief Diversity Officer, that already boasts a laundry list of DEI focused action and initiatives. We wholeheartedly applaud these brands and their efforts, but it has to be said that a handful of brands alone won’t make a difference.

As no other writer has described as deftly the problems of race  U.S., we leave you with another classic quote from the great James Baldwin: 

“Everything now, we must assume, is in our hands; we have no right to assume otherwise. If we—and now I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create, the consciousness of the others—do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world. If we do not now dare everything, the fulfillment of that prophecy, re-created from the Bible in song by a slave, is upon us: God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, the fire next time!”

NOW Gen brands have a unique opportunity to change history with respect to diversity, equity, inclusion, systemic discrimination and racism, just like they are changing history by moving us into the digital age, but without DEI transformation, digital transformation won’t be any transformation at all. 

Blog

Invest in online data-driven experiences and win your market 

According to the 2021 Gartner CIO Survey, 63% of retailers (including CPGs) expect to spend more of their marketing budget on business intelligence solutions and data analytics, as well as  35% more on artificial intelligence solutions. This number is predicted to continue growing in the near and distant future. The cause for this uptick is due to the recognition by company owners of strong data strategies having a positive impact on customer relationships. 

CPGs use these key factors to achieve a positive data-driven marketing impact. 

1 – Utilize predictions and prescriptive insights for a 360-degree view of consumers and opportunities for growth.

2 – Measure the impact of message delivery in moments that matter to consumers. 

3 – Have access to custom data and technology that enables a customer-centric strategy. 

4 – Have access to flexible and agile operating models for faster and efficient deliveries. 

5 – Build capabilities through infrastructure and talent to scale impact. 

We live in an age of precision. Companies need pertinent information relating to the time their customers are interacting with their company, such as when they are exploring, clicking, and purchasing. Company owners are able to utilize behavioral and demographic data to uncover their ideal audience and target their intended demographic with relevant messaging. Categories like baby and beauty use loyalty sites where they offer tips, coupons, or try-ons. These efforts pay off. Successful brands that apply a data-driven strategy acquire users that will 7x more likely to stay with the brand and 8x will spend their money with them, as well as  recommend it. 

Approaching a data-driven strategy with the help of creativity and storytelling will help crack the codes for a more targeted and engaging interaction, enabling companies to allocate their online budgets smartly. Here are some examples of how a data-driven mindset helps companies invest in relevant experiences and platforms for their customers. 

Integrate new and engaging touchpoints – On International Friendship Day, Coca-Cola boosted its presence with its first-ever NFT (Non-Fungible Token) collectibles, auctioned as a single «loot box» through the OpenSea online marketplace. This is an example of how studying the culture, working collectively with AI, and being there in real-time helps brands create engaging and new experiences that customers will value. 

Relevant content for the right time – Having a deep knowledge of the trends that everybody knows and the moments where consumers search for solutions for their everyday lives helps you create relevant content that will help build a more solid relationship with users. A great example is Unilever’s cleanipedia.com, a site that provides customers with tips, tricks, and advice for cleaning homes and keeping families safe. At the same time, users can access exclusive benefits and discounts from their favorite brands. This action had attracted more than 28 million visitors to date and was relevant during Covid-19. 

Having a new Ecomm platform– We all know Amazon is the king of online retailing. Nonetheless, Covid-19 has boosted online sales up to 70%. This is an opportunity for brands to play across different channels where potential consumers will be, like marketplaces, and create new DTC sites. One example of this is Pepsico’s PantryShop.com, offering exclusive bundles and snacks according to the user’s daily moments at home. 

Product innovations – A data-driven strategy also leads to product innovations or rethinking packaging that delights the online shopper and remains cost-effective across the supply chain. For example, P&G’s Tide created the Eco-Box, an ultra-concentrated formula is delivered in a compact cardboard box. Once peeled, there’s a dosing cup, a no-drip twist cap, and even pull-out legs for flat surfaces! 

Nowadays, there’s so much data available that it’s not about how much data a company has, but how they will use it to create a deeper relationship with their customers. It’s constant learning and updating of processes that require agility, new collaborative, and flexible work methods.  But, most importantly, a company owner needs to have an open mindset that embraces technology and uses it for the benefit of its users, their company, and their purpose. Discover in our newest White Paper the latest work models that CPGs are adapting and what tools they are applying for the 2022 marketing challenges. Read for FREE here: https://121corp.com/white-paper

Brands

The role of CPG’s in a hyperconnected world

We are just a few months away from the beginning of 2022, and the changes in consumer behavior and expectations that changed during the global pandemic crisis have made something very clear to companies worldwide, and that is that these behaviors are here to stay. 

This has pushed the CPG industry to be the ambassadors of change and the innovators of the industry, through strategies that integrate seamlessly the offline and online, and this is because nowadays we live in a hyper-connected world, where convenience is what drives consumers to seek unique and fast experiences aligned not only to their shopping purposes, but also to their personal ones. In the recent “State of the Connected Customer” study by Salesforce, it was found that 80% of consumers believe that their experience with a brand is just as important as the quality of services and products, and that this experience is key to increasing loyalty and therefore long-term profit. In addition, 88% felt that brands that listen to their needs are seen as better-quality brands.

To create this profit, and not fall behind, CPGs have opted for vital strategies to meet the expectations of their consumers. From buying DTC companies, to giving consumers the ability to create their own product according to their needs. We will highlight some of these strategies and trends that are redefining the future of the industry.

Bye bye middle man

We are seeing more and more 100% online brands and startups that are eliminating the different logistics channels and bridging the gap with their consumers by offering niche products, focused on sustainability, personalization and a premium experience. This has created a wake-up call for industry giants, and in order to not be left behind this momentum, they have started to buy many of these brands to create a new experience with their consumers. And this buying doesn’t just start from the pandemic, Unilever, for example, bought several, including Dollar Shave Club in 2016 and Schmidt’s Naturals in 2017. 

Other brands such as Pepsi announced that they will create online stores for their consumers to buy their products directly, with 0 intermediaries, this with the objective of helping to develop skills and value through E-comm in the long term. Although it is a risky move, due to factors such as distance between the factory and the consumer, not doing so would imply a much greater risk as consumers are increasingly looking for a more personal treatment with their preferred brands.

The evolution of the value chain

It´s time to let go the traditional. Technology has come to impact the entire value chain, by creating more automated and disruptive processes to reach the consumer in a more unique and faster ways. In marketing, for example, advanced analytics are to generate promotions, product assortment and even pricing. Today, marketing teams from different CPGs work together with Data Scientists, integrating, consolidating and generating insights that positively affect marketing strategies and budget allocations. In sales, machine learning algorithms help create a more specific sales plan with key actions to ensure optimal negotiations and in the supply chain, experts are seeing how to convert business objectives and supplies into digital projects focused on more convenient and fast solutions.

Extreme personalization.

As we mentioned earlier, consumers are looking for experiences, and brands have to move to create them. According to a McKinsey study, almost 26% of purchases are based on product recommendations and reviews. For CPGs this percentage rises, with 65% in cosmetics and 55% in soaps. Using social networks, not only for the simple fact of being present, but also to listen to insights and understand them, can become a key point to create a better positioning through relevant promotions, allocation of targets, and even innovation and development of products. 

Another way to personalize is by creating interest through exclusivity across different E-Commerce platforms. Walmart, for example, offers L’Oreal hydration kits exclusively on walmart.com. Another German company even allows its online users to create their favorite type of muesli using more than 80 ingredients, and it is delivered to its consumers instantly.

But let’s not just stick to E-Comm. Augmented Reality (AR) is an incredible opportunity for CPGs to make experiences from the package. With the help of Smartphones, people can discover more about what they are buying, immerse themselves in the production experience and even find out which product is right for their needs, thus connecting the digital world to the offline world, and optimizing the collection of customer data in a more organic and optimal way.

We have to start acting and fast. Today is the time where we have to understand that markets and industries are moving at the speed of light and we have to captivate consumers right away. At 121 Corp, we move at the same speed as the world. We work hand in hand with our clients, and together we create innovative strategies and product design in record time across their value chain and consumer touchpoints. We know that in this year and the new years to come, we will not only need to have the perfect product with the same promotions and campaigns as always, but we will have to put ourselves in the consumers’ shoes. Understanding their tastes, needs, values and purposes, in order to create experiences that excite them and make them fall in love with a brand.

Creativity

Data at the service of creativity

The marketing sector is undergoing enormous transformations at the moment, with creativity blending with statistics to achieve precise outcomes. Traditional marketers, on the other hand, find this combination perplexing. After all, creativity and data are two opposites of the same coin.

You’ll be surprised to learn that the bulk of the decisions you believed were based only on creativity are supported by data as well. Analyzing significant trends, determining what appeals to the public, and developing a product in reaction to all of this is essentially data-driven. Let’s find out how these two different features get along.

Data-Supported Creativity

The majority of marketers feel that technology and creativity will become increasingly important in developing effective marketing campaigns. However, there are many unsolved concerns about how companies might profit from this merger.

According to a McKinsey analysis, firms that have combined these two areas are more successful than those still struggling to combine creativity and data. Other reports support that marketers believe that creativity and technology will be equally important in building effective marketing strategies.

Integrators’ creative functions are becoming more data-driven, while data-driven tasks are becoming more creative. Customer experience and consumer insights are two areas where we see this most clearly. Marketers who combine creativity and analytics create more significant development than others who don’t.

Overall, marketing is all about how a product interacts with customers. It is, in some ways, about customer involvement. Marketers can engage people in a way that assures results by combining creativity and data. Furthermore, technical developments in data analysis may accelerate marketing or creative processes by providing marketers with valuable insights from targeted customers. 

Competing in a data-driven world

Consider Spotify, which harnessed the power of data and utilized it to fuel an innovative marketing strategy. Spotify was able to usher in a new age of song-listening experience by leveraging available user data. They were able to construct their data-driven campaigns, which used outdoor billboards to provide goals for the future year, using the available statistics.

This data-driven marketing effort was not only timely, but it also drew the attention of a large number of people, making it a huge success, and the previous is known as data-led marketing.

Organizations like Spotify should not wait any longer to combine data with c o-reativity. However, this should be done in such a way that both of them complement each other. Remember that pushing this connection will never work since the goal is to strike a healthy balance.

Data Should Boost Creativity (Not Replace It)

The market is becoming increasingly competitive. Every day, businesses aim to differentiate themselves from the competition by devising novel ways to get their voices heard. However, sometimes more than just the ideal team members are required to break through the throng and have your message received the way you want it.

Marketing firms have the opportunity to peel back the layers and get to the heart of critical consumer data by using machine learning or other comparable technology. With the correct data comes insight, and with the proper insights, marketers have a good chance of creating accurate ads that are creative.

As additional technical improvements in the marketing, more and more businesses will follow the technique of making critical data useful. After all, the most engaging marketing initiatives are built on meaningful data about a particular target. This is where the connection between data and creativity may assist businesses in discovering new correlations.

In conclusion

Without data-driven insight, digital marketing services are like trying to hit a target while blindfolded. Given this, firms and marketing firms must craft messaging with their customers in mind, and data may assist in this process. The wonderful thing about creativity is that everyone has different preferences. This indicates that if one group enjoys something, it does not follow that the same thing will be well-received by another set of people, data that is provided while making a targeted campaign.

Marketers must grasp this to develop a better ad experience and, as a consequence, generate campaigns that will resonate with at least a more significant portion of the public.

A marketer must create individualized, memorable experiences that foster consumer loyalty. This is only achievable if an ad piece hooks its readers by appealing to their passions, interests, and concerns. This cannot be accomplished by putting statistics against creativity; rather, combining these two aspects will yield ideas worthy of acclaim. The future of marketing requires both technology and creativity.

121 is the Fastest day-to-day Design and Content Studio for many global Fortune 500 companies. We adapt and implement your global campaigns to suit and comply with all your outlets’ requirements while also aligned with your brand’s equity delivering high-quality solutions at superior Speed while remaining cost-effective; from Social & E-comm content, graphic design, digital implementation to integrated production, using both data and creativity to boost your global campaigns.

121 will work with you to grow your brand while giving you peace of mind. We aim to help you achieve your brand’s objective, not to compete against your creative, strategic, or In-House agencies. We genuinely believe that we can play a significant role in your success.

Brands

Speed: How to embrace digital marketing

Today we find ourselves surfing all day for all the kinds of content you can ever imagine. People are streaming movies and series, looking at memes, reading celebrity gossip, playing video games, listening to music, podcasts, and let’s not forget, staying up to date with the news.

As the population has more time on their hands, 87% of U.S. consumers say they’re consuming more content online than ever. According to Global Web Index (G.W.I.), around 80% of consumers in the U.S. and U.K. say they are consuming more content since the outbreak. YouTube and TikTok described as being favorite across genders and generations.

DIGIDAY says that advertisers are currently moving away from traditional Tv advertising because, in these times, they’re just not willing to commit to spending so far in advance. Shifting to online advertising has its benefits. Even though content has to be generated at a speed of light, sharing new and fresh content is what it takes to stay relevant to your audience.

Whether business owners like it or not, these past months have increased consumers’ online presence. It’s a grave mistake not to go digital right now, it can even be fatal to many small and medium businesses if they don’t willingly adapt.

You should think twice before slaughtering your marketing budget.

1. E-comm, enhanced marketplaces.

Amazon is cashing in. We know, it’s no surprise to us either. 2020 Q1 Earnings boosted up a whopping 24.5% compared to the industry’s average growth of 2.7%. According to Comscore, Amazon’s website hit 2.54 billion visitors only in March 2020.

If you are already selling on Amazon, you should step up your A+ Page game. «Adding A+ to your product detail pages can result in higher conversion rates, increased traffic, and increased sales when used effectively.» – Amazon seller central.

Another retailer that cashed in due to mayor updates is Walmart, who recently surpassed eBay in e-commerce sales thanks to their considerable improvement on their web page and shopping app.

Target has also joined the high ranks club, for the past two years, they had already had their focus set on high-merchandising as well as express delivery and curbside pick-up arrangements can say they were on the right track well before the crisis hit.

Home Depot is also expected to see a considerable 38% increase due to their digital sales mixed with in-store pick-up.

Some brands are reporting sales similar to the ones on shopping holidays such as Black Friday. Spending is going particularly up on items such as exercise equipment, bread machines, kitchenware, and health supplements.

Online retailers must be careful only to share quality product images and compositions. With the use of CGI’s brands can generate quality material at a fraction of the time. Employing CGIs will not limit the angles of your product shots. Sharing content on your e-commerce site was never easier.

Even though consumer behavior has changed, this doesn’t mean they aren’t spending. It’s essential to be up to date on consumer trends so you can invest your marketing budget accordingly in the most promising categories on your niche.

Forbes says that a brand’s customer experience is going to depend a lot on the look and feel of the customer-facing app. In the world of digital marketing, a brand can only make a strong impression by having even stronger content. Developing attractive digital assets is worth giving a try.

2. Stay social, stay connected.

The digital disruption that’s ben recently going on due to worldwide stay at home orders might be here to stay. People cannot touch, try on, and feel the products brands are selling. So, it is been up to brands to keep things fresh and step up their social game as well as partnering with the right people.

«Facebook has seen a 50% increase in messaging, Instagram usage is up 40%, and Twitter’s monetizable daily active users has spiked 23%»- Forbes.

Aerie closed its stores across the U.S. and Canada for the time being; however, they wasted no time jumping on Tik Tok. In just two weeks, Aerie spiked their following. Introducing challenges and getting their followers to participate. They are one of the few fashion brands actually putting money in for their digital campaigns. McCormick and E.L.F. Cosmetics have also been successful by taking this route.

When Levi’s partner on social commerce, they doubled their product views.

Brands are attempting to foster a sense of community through virtual social gatherings, sharing stories with their audience regularly, and inviting their consumers to participate in creative initiatives.

According to HBSWK, 89% of consumers want brands focusing on producing goods that can help people with pandemic-related challenges. But beware of sharing bad advice, fact-check your claims and point to respected health organizations.

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. You must be sensitive to your content, but don’t be afraid to sell. Acknowledging the crisis rather than ignoring it is the way to go.

Consumers do want to hear from you, don’t you dare ghost them, or you shall deal with the consequences. Leaning into digital and connecting with customers will likely have lasting effects.

3. Video, Rockstar of digital content.

Creativity and high personalization must reign among your video content. To gain the consumer’s attention and maintain high levels of engagement, companies need to hire experts. Only exceptional marketers are capable of keeping a high volume of content output that resonates with their audiences. Quality design plays a vital role in extraordinary visuals.

The human’s attention span currently stops at eight valuable seconds if you didn’t connect with your viewer in that small lapse, you are doomed. Marketers have the quest to build unique and advanced experiences that will be of value to the target.

Thanks to data consumption stats, we can now highly personalize content for our audiences depending on age group, interests, location, and browsing history. Tailored content leaves a better impression on anyone. Think about it; you don’t want to be getting the same Christmas card from your Nonna, as your average human cousins, you expect her to address you as the one and only favorite grandchild.

Challenges, tutorials, webinars, you name it, video is the easiest most effective way of getting your messages across. However, it is said that around 20% of the people who start watching a YouTube video leave after only 10 seconds of viewing. Talk about engagement.

Soon X.R. ads will be playing mainstream across platforms. A mix of virtual and augmented reality will make consumers’ content consumption highly immersive. Papa John’s reached a 25% conversion rate employing an X.R. campaign. Users could order a pizza within Snapchat’s app.

Brands are having to go ahead with their product launches, and they are embracing full-on digital from virtual fragrance pop-ups to V.R. shoe releases.

Because some are pulling out their ads, today is the best time to go into video content and adds, rates are going down, and you can get more exposure. Remember to be true to your brand and to share genuine and creative content.

Speed is our core

Doing digital marketing right is a combination of creativity, empathy, and speed.

Times are uncertain, planning that much ahead is just isn’t an option. Social media strategy must be responsive and very flexible nowadays.

Advertising is no longer about interrupting but about interacting. Keeping up with generating content doesn’t have to be a hassle.

In 121, we understand that marketplaces move at an unforeseen pace, and we can reassure you that we are ready to create and design content worth sharing faster than anyone else.