May 24, 2023
Most of us want to offer an omnichannel experience, personalise the customer journey and products, tailor experiences. Often, these plans get off to a limited start, due to a lack of technology or capacity, for example, or because it requires a solid redesign of marketing processes. To offer a truly personalised journey, the move to a digital reality must be made. And that requires the next phase of content innovation, automation and marketing processes.
In short, companies want a 'digital transformation', but what they ultimately want is to enrich customers' digital experience, make it more personal and highlight the products. Preferably, you tailor the entire customer journey to the needs and habits of each potential customer on the spot. Because those who can get closer to each unique customer experience will see an increase in conversions. How do you achieve such a unique, content-driven customer experience, while keeping your content production itself scalable? Prepare yourself for the new digital reality with a digital twin library.
Strategy: innovative and scalable
Growing your business in the digital realm requires a keen strategy. How do you translate your customers' experiences in your stores or with your products to all possible digital channels? Is your content ready for that, and can your business operations handle it? Or are you going to have to spend hours and hours redesigning and tweaking the same images, videos and text over and over again? To sometimes even find out later that a colleague has taken up a similar task?
To move from omnichannel content publishing to true personalisation and an always-on strategy, you need dynamic digital-centric content. That way, you can be consistent, brand focused and present on all current and future channels, in an efficient and cost-effective way. With content innovation, automation of content and a digital transformation of processes and the entire workflow, you work towards a digital reality that allows you to offer your customers the ultimate experience.
This is how 'digital reality for content' works
We are all familiar with the 3D models of products that companies use online. But truly efficient and scalable work is done with digital twins in a digital twin library. A digital twin is a virtual product that is created once, but can be used in a variety of ways and channels. Be it images, video, 360-degree videos, AR, VR or mixed reality, and be it for the web, social media, apps, endless aisles, and platforms or other marketplaces.
Imagine a store where you can put together a personalised perfume: scent combinations to smell, your own bottle to choose from, your own cap, label and a choice from 15 decorative elements. Before you know it, you have over 5,000 options. In the store, you put these together with the different versions and customers can see what they want.
Now take this to the digital world. If you want to offer the same experience online, you need 5,000 images (and preferably videos!) to display all variations in a personalised way in your webshop. Besides the huge amount of manual work, with 5,000 product photos, there is a high chance of inconsistency between different images. By making products truly digital, you ensure efficiency and consistency and a compelling experience for your customers, thanks to quality images. These digital versions of products are what we call the digital twins.
It might remind you of one of those old-fashioned car configurators. Roughly the same idea, but larger-scale, multi-purpose and versatile. All the elements you need to create content are in the digital twin library. This immediately adds a lot of value to your business. When your customers can truly personalise products across all digital channels, that adds massive value. The Bynder State of the Art Content report suggests that some high-growth companies are even experiencing a 40 percent increase in sales due to personalisation.
Take it one step further: don't just show customised products, but also place them in a picture-perfect or even video-perfect background, one that suits your customer. Shadows, lighting, everything changes instantly, without having to render a new image each time. Consumers do not see the difference between a video designed specifically for them and the digital twin version.
How do you get to that digital reality?
With an innovative digital twin for all your products, you achieve creative freedom to provide an effective, personalised online experience similar to that in stores. And by automating digital asset management and workflows, you can achieve a consistent and controlled scalable operating model. How does that work?
Virtual products must be integrated end-to-end into the content lifecycle. Each step in this process is part of a single connected workflow. A consistent briefing is the start of an automated workflow and a crucial starting point for perfect omnichannel execution. Your briefing consists of more puzzle pieces than that of a standard 3D render. By building up your briefing in layers, you can also measure them separately and understand what is happening – to optimise layers again at a later stage.
The briefing flows through to production units and lands in a digital asset management system. This is no longer a 'picture bin', but the engine for creating and distributing intelligent content. Your digital twin library is part of this system and the end-to-end process is workflow driven. You no longer store images, but 3D models in an environment, wire models, and mappings of e.g. materials and colours. You can use artificial intelligence to structure and tag content. This allows you to issue tailored products live when a customer has a query. It thus forms the driving force of personalisation.
The asset management system ensures that everything can be published omnichannel in the right way. Then you analyse the effects and optimise. Deploy artificial intelligence in the process. AI can also help think about distribution and determine which image should go to which channel, and in what way. This creates a loop back to the briefing. Only by automating the processes do you stay in control and make it scalable. By modelling the process and a workflow, you can deploy tasks in an automated way, it is scalable and you always maintain quality.
Ready for the future
Besides effective digital personalisation, you also ensure a consistent digital experience, a scalable operating model, shorten time-to-market and reduce the cost of your content. As a result, the focus can be on the creative process and quality, by improving work processes and collaboration with suppliers such as studios.
You can use the same digital twin of products for images, mood imagery or even in explainer videos. Or take things one step further: use it to create VR or AR applications, mix the applications, create interactive videos or holographic images and exploded views, all with the same foundation.
Do you have the digital twin library and your process automation in place? Then you will be scalable and ready to take on the future. You are even prepared for virtual and new channels, such as the metaverse.
About the author: Marco Fredriksen is Founding partner and digital accelerator at FULL FORCE DIGITAL.
This article was originally published by Emerce.nl (in Dutch)
Discover how content innovation, automation, and Digital Asset Management revolutionize customer-centricity at scale. Seamlessly blend online and offline experiences, with an efficient and flexible operational model that ensures creative freedom, consistency and control of the operation.
As a marketing officer, you want to provide continuous, effective and personalised content. Even in an increasingly complex digital landscape. For this new digital reality, dynamic digital-centric content and data-driven content distribution are key. But how do you get to the digital top?