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Four Steps to Optimize Digital Product Creation

Whether you’re a B2B, B2C or DTC company, Prophet’s proprietary hypotheses-led approach to innovation takes product concepts from 0-1 efficiently and successfully.

Necessity is the mother of invention as they say. And many successful companies and products were started in times of an economic downturn, from the inception of Netflix in 1997 (now valued close to $100B) to that of Airbnb in 2008 when the Great Recession saw demand for short-term, low-commitment housing increase exponentially. However, when the stakes are high, the reality often is that the bets are fewer, there is less room for error and the need for more certainty of success goes up. You can’t simply take the old corporate RND approach to “Spray and Pray”, that one of your concepts will be market driving.   

Oftentimes, businesses will have identified a new opportunity area, market, audience or digital channel that looks potentially valuable for their growth. However, they are not at the point of concept definition and design to immediately hand it to internal development and product teams to begin to build. While they will have a concept of what they think would be valuable for customers, many businesses lack the evidence and detail of where they should invest first, what they should (or more importantly shouldn’t) build and in what order to deliver customer and business value quickly.  

Across all industries, B2B/B2C/B2B2C/DTC, and phases of company maturity, Prophet’s proprietary “Hypothesis to Action” (H2A) approach enables us to take product concepts from 0-1 successfully. It helps get from idea to minimum viable product (MVP) in the most efficient way possible; cutting through ambiguity and defining where to start at the minimum possible investment, with a clear direction of what is going to build traction in the market, reduce risk and increase the likelihood of a successful digital product that meets the true needs of customers.  

The H2A Model  

Leveraging our own learnings from decades of successfully shipping net-new products, we have optimized the most successful product creation engine of the past 15 years in the approach of Silicon Valley venture capital. The H2A model was created from years of work and insight and aims to provide cross-functional teams with a minimal structure to make better-informed digital product decisions and enhance design progress. It is comprised of four key stages: Hypotheses, Findings, Conviction and Actions – and in many instances we have executed the entire H2A process within two weeks.  

In one instance, a financial services client came to us with the desire to improve lead generation among prospective customers; the company had impressive loyalty among existing customers but struggled to attract net new to the business. Thus, formed the idea for a digital product, “a predictive profiler,” through which the business could predict and offer a tailored product mix and accompanying advice to its prospective customers based on user-provided information. With the problem-to-solve and initial idea in place, we were ready to begin cycles of H2A to take this idea from a concept on a page, to a user-validated, defined and designed MVP.  

Let’s take a closer look at each of the H2A stages in turn as we put it into practice with Thrivent.

1. Generate Hypotheses

Hypotheses are critical assumptions you are making about your product or idea, articulated as a testable premise. Most often, the riskiest assumption you are betting on at the start of product innovation is simply that your idea is in fact solving a problem or addressing the needs of your target user.

Taking the example of the financial services company, we were assuming that prospects would be more likely to convert if guided to the right product mix and provided tailored advice. We took that overarching assumption and broke it into more specific hypotheses to answer specific questions, starting with what is the right “way in” to lead prospects to a recommended set of products. Our hypothesis: Rather than answering generic questions, users will prefer to self-select into different archetypes, then answer more specific questions to achieve greater levels of personalized results. We quickly designed a lightweight test to prove this, balanced by business ambitions.  

2. Extract Findings

After rapidly testing the hypotheses in real-world situations, often sourcing feedback from real customers or users, we build an evidence-filled set of findings. These findings are observed truths made in a test that repeats across more than one participant or scenario.  

In our example, we found that we were, in fact, correct. Presented with four different potential “ways in” to kick off the user flow, the majority of prospects preferred to self-select into an archetype group, then answer more specific follow-up questions to deliver tailored results, citing a desirable balance of entertainment (perusing the archetypes) with the rigor of analysis of more targeted questions. Luckily, this user-led finding coincided nicely with the business ambitions of strong data collection (questions) with minimal PII risk (leading to self-selection).  

3. Form Convictions

Our findings are swiftly synthesized into convictions that form the basis of the new product. These convictions are the “so what” – product declarations, informed by findings, that become product decisions to be taken forward into design.  

Because user feedback conveniently converged with business needs, convictions for this H2A cycle for our financial services client were clear: the optimal “way in”, from both a user experience and business POV, is to lead with archetypes followed by questions to inform the product mix recommendation.  

4. Determine Actions

All of this comes together to form the specific actions to move the team forward in designing and defining the user value proposition.  

With our client, in closing out this cycle of H2A, we determined that the next best action for the predictive financial services product was to play out a complete interaction model across archetypes and questions, exploring means to delight the user with feedback/findings along the way to encourage completion of the full experience.  

We repeated the H2A cycle across a series of six two-week sprints, through which we tested, learned, adjusted, and optimized the product until we reached a fully defined and designed MVP, backed by user data and aligned to business priorities, ready to enter development. Ultimately, when launched in the market, the product achieved 12X the conversion rate of previous lead gen campaigns within the business, evidencing the power and speed of hypotheses-led innovation in driving high-impact products at the minimum possible investment.   

The H2A approach has led to the successful launch of B2C, B2B and B2B2C products and services in everything from home goods to healthcare. At its core, the value lies in its ability to find a way to start small, learn quickly and launch successfully. By unearthing the riskiest early assumptions that might be being made – and proving or disproving those rapidly with data-driven evidence – when the product does go live its chances for success will be that much greater and the path to scalability that much clearer.  


FINAL THOUGHTS

When resources are limited and risk tolerance is low, you need to move at pace through evidence-led decisions to get to market quickly. Product market fit is never guaranteed, but our methodical approach continues to drive customer and business success regardless of industry.

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Walking the Culture Talk: How We Developed Our New Values and EVP

We’ve updated our company’s values and Employee Value Proposition (EVP) –and learned plenty in the process.

At the core of an organization sits its DNA, which includes its purpose, values and Employee Value Proposition (EVP). A strong DNA can inspire, provide clarity and accelerate growth. And for the last decade, our purpose, values and EVP have done just that for our organization.   

But the world has changed– and so has Prophet. More than 60% of our colleagues started during the global pandemic. We’ve evolved from a brand strategy firm into a growth and transformation consulting firm, with a newly defined purpose. And, the needs of our clients have rapidly changed, which is why we recently redefined our values and EVP.   

Our new cultural touchstones are more modern, inclusive and transparent and directly connect to our aspiration as a firm. And while our values are not the right ones for every organization, we are proud of how we lived them out through the process of defining them. We believe there are valuable lessons for others looking to reinvigorate their organization through this kind of work.   

Four Best Practices for Creating Strong Values, as Shaped by Prophet’s New Values

Create with Courage

When something could be better, we don’t settle– we create. Pushing boundaries. Tackling the biggest challenges that grow our clients and move society. We put our heart into our work while applying our intellect, creativity and rigor to execute.

To power your talent strategy and drive top line growth, you need to be bold about your values. Ask yourself: “what are the mindsets and behaviors we need to connect our teams and power our business?” Create with Courage, Open minds, Give and Grow, Share Joy. 

At Prophet, our mission is to help our clients unlock uncommon growth. So, we challenged ourselves to not just evolve our values but to also step back and connect each value to that growth. Specifically our new value, Create with Courage, was created to help give every Propheteer the common language and inspiration to push boundaries and tackle the biggest challenges that face our clients and society.   

That courage also takes dedication. We expanded Prophet’s visual identity to create an “uncommon visual system”. We are measuring their presence to ensure we deliver our new values. We have updated our quarterly employee engagement survey to measure the impact our new values and EVP have on our employees. We will also be updating our external client survey to see how they are impacting the work and being experienced by our clients.  

Open Minds 

We’re united, but different, which allows us and our clients to achieve more together. It’s in our nature to seek diverse voices and embrace all backgrounds and lived experiences. By showing up honestly and openly, we discover new paths for connection and creativity. 

Values can’t be written in a boardroom. If everyone at the organization truly owns them, then your people’s voices need to play an important role in shaping them. This can be more difficult as your organization becomes more digital, global and hopefully diverse. 

We took a highly inclusive approach to develop our new values. We wanted to make sure we heard not only the distinct perspectives of our organization but also the new ways we work together. We used both synchronous and asynchronous input mechanisms and leveraged co-creative digital tools to maximize reach and input opportunities across our new hybrid organization. 

Our value, Open Minds, takes the traditional adjective of being open-minded and makes it a verb, encouraging each of us to actively open the minds of others and elevate voices that need to be heard.  Working with our head of DEI, we brought that lens to our full set of values to make sure they resonated and created psychological safety for our community.  

We also worked with our global leaders to ensure our values and EVP reflected our global organization. To do so, we collaborated with our international colleagues to translate our values into Mandarin Chinese and German to ensure the translation reflected the true meaning of our values. 

Give and Grow 

There’s no shortage of generosity here. We invest in the personal and professional growth of our people and our clients, by being a coach, a sounding board or a cheering section. We all have unique needs and goals, but we’re in this together- and by offering our time, empathy and brainpower to support the collective potential of our teams, clients and communities, we all flourish together. 

Introducing and living new values and EVP is a long-term journey, which is why they need to be aspirational but clearly define the path forward.  

Our value, Give and Grow, is anchored in the truth of our business. How we drive uncommon growth is through our people. And our people require support in their growth pathways to continue living out our purpose. Prioritizing the investment we make in each other and celebrating that outcome is critical to our success. When asked what makes Prophet different, this willingness to support each other, our clients and our communities sings loud.  

But we’re not done, and we have room to grow across all of our values. Through our research, we have identified which parts of our business resonate with each value most to guide how we invest in creating new tools and guidance in strengthening our connection.  

One immediate change we made was connecting our new values directly with our kudos system. Within days, we saw everyone take ownership of the values and recognize each other for living their values. We were able to transform our kudos system on our company intranet into a self-sustaining storytelling system. 

Share Joy 

Joy is vital– to our relationships, our work and our well-being. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, enjoying the ride, while making time for what brings us joy. Protecting it. Sharing it. It feeds our spirits, and keeps us connected to what, and who, really matters to us. By building in more space for rest, community and fun, our humanity shines a little brighter. 

Values and EVP should be fun!  Joy is vital to work and what keeps people energized for whatever is to come. Of course, it’s important to prioritize clarity over cleverness, but having values that reflect your organization’s culture is paramount.   

We had quite a bit of fun making our values. Of course, the core team that built them enjoyed many puns, a mid-workstream magic show, moments of in-person collaboration and the rush of creativity in delivering exciting work.   

But we made sure to share that joy with the rest of the organization. Leading up to the launch, we offered a “tease” previewing fake values, including values that we would never have used like, “likability.” At the launch, we made light of some old habits from our previous values and encouraged “uncommon” attire that worked perfectly for one office’s Halloween party.  

We also gave out individually uncommon hip packs made from sustainable materials filled with custom decks of cards that reflected the unique shuffles we made as a team. The kick-off was a communal, celebratory and exciting moment for our team.   

Check out our new values.  


FINAL THOUGHTS

While Prophet’s new values and EVP are specific to our culture, any organization can benefit from the experience of updating its values and EVP. Make a start by securing the support of top leadership, then build cross-functional teams who vow to become expert listeners. From there, construct the values and EVP that will attract the people best suited to bring your purpose to life. But it doesn’t stop there – like anything living, your DNA needs to be fueled to fuel your business so find ways to embed it across all parts of your culture.   

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Rebalancing Your People Portfolio 

Six actionable steps you should take when developing a winning workforce strategy. 

With layoffs and hiring freezes dominating headlines, it would be easy to think the war for talent is over. And if one were to judge talent acquisition trends by past economic downturns, many organizations would shift their hiring strategy. 

But this economic environment is different. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve projects the current downturn might cause the unemployment rate to rise from 3.8% to a still-low 4.4% in 2023 and 2024. And in the U.K., unemployment hovers at the lowest level in 50 years.  

Despite these challenges, there is still a war for great talent and acquiring the right people with the right skill set to do the job. And it is vital to your firm’s success. According to Forrester’s recent Budget Pulse Survey, most leaders reported they would not decrease spending on talent, with 60% of leaders expecting to increase spending on personnel and 62% expecting to improve external services.   

Strategic workforce planning is by no means a new concept. As far back as the 1960s, management thinkers prescribed methods to balance the talent supply and demand equation. And in financial downturns, the topic usually finds renewed interest among the c-suite.  

Here are six fundamentals you should consider when building your talent strategy.  

1. Strategic Workforce and Talent Planning Should Be an Activity of the Entire C-suite  

As of 2020, 80% of all assets in the S&P 500 are intangible. And one of the most important intangible assets of any organization is its people, which is why it is essential that the entire leadership team participates and has a responsibility in the firm’s talent acquisition and workforce planning process- not just human resources.   

The leadership team should start with a clear vision of the company’s business strategy over multiple horizons- say six, 12, and 24 months. While no one has a crystal ball for the future, even a directional view of the organization’s immediate, mid and long-term needs will provide a solid foundation for strategic investments in talent.   

2. Identify Critical Talent Segments to Deliver on Your Business Strategy  

Once companies are clear on where they want to go, strategic priorities come into focus. To identify your critical talent segment, you should assess three key areas:

  1. Internal labor market: Identify the emerging trends within your workforce and how these trends will impact your business priorities.
  2. External labor market: Analyze the external labor market to determine who you should hire and what skill sets you will need to match your business priorities.
  3. Assess talent needs and prioritize critical roles at the enterprise level: Uncover each business unit’s capability needs to sharpen your recruitment efforts.  

3. Invest in Your Workforce Like You Would a Financial Portfolio   

As your leadership team makes strategic investments in immediate needs, it’s easy to lose sight of your future vision – and the talent you’ll need to succeed. 

To help you avoid this common pitfall, we recommend approaching your workforce planning as you would with your investment portfolio. Consider a 70/20/10 investment framework to ensure you have the talent you need today to drive critical business outcomes and the workforce you need in the future:

  • Dedicate 70% of your talent investment to core business needs  
  • Reserve 20% of talent investment for emerging business opportunities
  • Devote 10% of talent investment for future growth opportunities  

4. Build a People Analytics Team   

A robust people analytics team can help translate the refreshed strategy to the future workforce, even as the hiring picture changes. Consider building a people analytics team (with access to workforce planning tools) who know how to leverage your data to answer critical questions like:

  • How many people are needed to execute current plans?   
  • What skills will our future people need?
  • What roles and responsibilities can we outsource?   
  • What work, if any, should be outsourced or automated?   
  • What structural changes are required for future initiatives?   

5. Invest in a Compelling Employee Value Proposition and Company Culture   

There’s no secret to this. People want to work for companies that value them. New graduates stampede toward firms like Alphabet and Apple because they are good employers. That creates a flywheel: They attract and keep the best people, and these gifted workers help them grow faster. And because they grow faster, they can better invest in people, enabling their growth and success.  

In addition, a compelling employee value proposition and company culture help you build trust, engagement and performance within your workforce, which is critical when implementing significant change within your organization.   

6. Develop Flexible Ways to Deploy Your Talent   

New strategies–and new markets–create opportunities for employees to diversify their skill sets. Make it easy for them to do so with formal and informal ways, such as project-based agile squads, partnering models and centers of excellence.   

These flexible ways of working will empower your employees to mesh their interests with the needs of the business.  

Individual employees will immediately see the benefits, recognizing new avenues of career development. And the organization benefits from a more flexible, multi-talented workforce.  


FINAL THOUGHTS

If your organization isn’t yet taking a strategic approach to workforce planning, consider starting with a solid foundation around these six principles. You’ll find that reimagining your workforce strategy with the same passion and innovation as customer-facing aspects of business doesn’t just prepare your organization for your future vision; it will also help ensure you have the right talent to weather current storms.  

Learn more about our organizational transformation strategy and capabilities.  

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Banking on the Metaverse: The Imperatives of Web 3.0 for Financial Services

How should financial service companies build resilience for the decentralized future?   

The massive financial services industry (including wealth management, retail banking and insurance) is a powerhouse player in today’s globalized economy. Despite (or perhaps due to) its scale, this sector has traditionally been slow to change, encumbered by legacy businesses, ever-changing regulations and complex business models. However, as the boom in fintech players and investments has shown, incumbents in the business are not immune to disruption.  

Metaverse – The Next Wave of Disruption  

Given the foreseeable growth of the Metaverse economy, digital currency and payments will be key to all transactions. However, amid recent controversies surrounding cryptocurrencies, such as the collapse of FTX, there is a heightened opportunity for financial services providers to build a strong sense of trust and security in the Metaverse with a commitment to strong governance. Both established, traditional companies and newer, digital players would be wise to think proactively about what their presence in the Metaverse can and should be. 

Preliminary forays into the Metaverse by financial services firms have been focused mainly on brand building. In 2022, HSBC, Standard Chartered and DBS all acquired virtual plots of land in The Sandbox, a Metaverse game, with the goal of creating Metaverse experiences and touchpoints to engage with a new generation of customers. Similarly, J.P. Morgan opened a lounge in the virtual world Decentraland earlier this year but has been involved in Web 3.0 since 2020, when the bank launched Onyx, a blockchain-based platform for wholesale payment transactions.​ Meanwhile, new players are pushing in. Cryptocurrency exchange platforms such as Coinbase and Binance have annual exchange volumes in the trillions. Cryptocurrencies themselves are being created by a wide range of decentralized organizations and individuals. 

With these waves of disruption shaking up the sector, financial institutions must consider both the why and the how of their Metaverse strategy. Below, we discuss what financial services brands should consider when building their brand presence, future offerings and new business models. 

Defining the Why: Clarify Business Objectives and Your Audience 

As mentioned, many leading financial services brands have already invested in the Metaverse. But it’s not just about being there; it’s about being there with a purpose. First, a brand must have a clear definition of why they are in the Metaverse. Is the goal to build brand awareness or create brand differentiation? Or is it about engaging with customers, improving loyalty and onboarding a new generation? Or do they want to educate a new generation of investors? Having clarity and alignment throughout all levels of the organization is critical to setting a visionary Metaverse strategy. 

To define the why, brands first need to understand the profile of who is in the Metaverse today, including demographics, attitudes and behaviors. “Metazens” are drawn to the Metaverse for a variety of reasons – from entertainment to self-expression to community to creativity. How can brands enable their customers to achieve these goals in the Metaverse? 

Then, as with any go-to-market strategy, financial services brands should be clear on their target audience within the Metaverse and how they want them to behave and engage with the brand. In Web 2.0, brands cannot be everything for everyone. The same is true in the Web 3.0 world. In turn, a Metaverse strategy should also align with the overall brand strategy and value proposition to ensure that the customer experience across all touchpoints– from offline to mobile to web to Metaverse– is consistent and cohesive. 

Understanding the How: Innovating Business Models to Capture Emerging Opportunities 

Once a brand’s objective on the Metaverse is defined, it must be translated into a feasible business model that can ultimately drive revenue. Unlike the fashion companies that have dominated the early stages of the Metaverse by selling digital apparel for avatars, financial services companies are posed with a more challenging but also potentially more exciting “how” when it comes to monetization in the Metaverse. The blurred physical and virtual realities will create new opportunities when it comes to payments, loans, investments and even new types of financial products not yet in the market today. As the Metaverse is still in its early stages, we’ve only just begun to explore what is possible. 

When considering ways financial services brands can drive revenue, we see two near-term prospects.  

1. The Evolution of Services With Rich Data. 

In Web 2.0, customer data is centralized and comes from the limited customer touchpoints throughout the journey – from website visits to phone calls, from advertisements to purchases. In the Metaverse, customer touchpoints will evolve to become more experiential, multisensorial and multidimensional. Salespeople can interact with customers “face-to-face,” no longer confined by phone lines or chat boxes. Products can be showcased in real-time rather than on a webpage. All these interactions will generate an incredible amount of data points. Financial services organizations, thus, have the opportunity to define and evolve their experience principles on the Metaverse to offer more customized and higher-quality services. However, it is important to note that these data points are also decentralized and anonymous. Collecting data and attributing data to concrete customers will also become more difficult.  

2. The Reimagination of Traditional Revenue Models.

As they do in the current Web 2.0 world, financial institutions have the expertise and resources to provide security, risk mitigation and fraud prevention for Metaverse transactions. They can also offer financing or protection for digital assets just as they do physical ones. Financial services brands can provide loans or insurance for NFTs, virtual real estate and other assets that users in the Metaverse will own. The merging of the online and offline worlds will allow brands to play in both spheres and find the opportunities for crossover.  

(Image source)  

Founded in 2018, ZELF calls itself the first bank of the Metaverse. It started as a messaging-first “neobank,” issuing cards to customers in a matter of minutes, simply by chatting with them via Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber or Telegram. Since then, it’s become the first financial services provider to allow customers to manage their gaming assets, cryptocurrency, digital art and regular (fiat) currency in one place. ZELF simplifies and democratizes access to financial services, facilitating financial transactions in the virtual world of crypto and gaming, enabling NFT trades, and allowing players to trade (or use as collateral) their digital assets earned from gaming for fiat currency.  

Prophet defines the customer-centric framework of business model innovation as one that creates more value for customers while also increasing the amount of value available to be captured by the business.  

Building a Roadmap For the Future 

While the commercial and technological infrastructure of the Metaverse is still be developed, financial services providers need to start innovating their offerings for the future virtual community. In developing a roadmap for the future, financial institutions also need to identify the current knowledge and capability gaps and invest in the appropriate resources to fill them. The multidimensional Metaverse will also require a multidisciplinary effort across organizations.  

As the Metaverse and Web 3.0 continues to evolve, new capabilities, technologies, use cases and business opportunities will continue to emerge. To seize these opportunities, innovation needs to happen across all platforms; thus, financial services brand should be ready with short- and long-term Metaverse activation roadmaps. 


FINAL THOUGHTS

Defining the “why” and understanding the “how” is core to the way Prophet builds brands today. When designing a Metaverse strategy, it is just as essential for the process to be rooted in sharp consumer insights, a compelling value proposition, and a differentiated experience.  

Prophet combines its deep expertise in financial services with a wide breadth of capabilities across customer research, brand building, experience design, business model innovation and digital transformation. Get in touch to see how we can help your financial services brand formulate a strategic roadmap to respond, adapt and transform in this next wave of the Metaverse. 

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The Keys to Improving Patient Engagement in Pharma  

The notion of patient engagement has been taking shape for over 30 years. Here are 10 tips to accelerate and embed patient engagement systematically in your organization.

The notion of patient engagement has been taking shape for over 30 years. Going beyond patient advocacy, patient engagement is the active involvement of patients in processes and decision-making in their care experience, across the entirety of the development lifecycle and beyond.

Patient engagement works to address health disparities and inequity more systematically by including and elevating diverse patient voices across the key touchpoints of drug development, ultimately raising the standard of care all patients receive and the outcomes they experience. It’s about going beyond clinical outcomes and driving a more holistic understanding of patients and the treatment effect across their preferences, social phenotypes and circumstances – socioeconomic or otherwise. Ultimately, the goal is to create medicines, treatments and experiences with (not for) patients. 

And we’ve seen the business and clinical results at key points across the development cycle.  

So Why Haven’t Pharmaceutical Companies Cracked It? 

Pharma is the only industry that has not fully embraced the end user in its product development. The practice of understanding patients and applying that understanding systematically to treatment development is complex and difficult.  

There are several barriers to successfully engaging patients in pharma:

  • Historic Disregard of the Patient – The industry has historically been wired to disregard the perspectives and needs of patients outside of the clinical outcomes related to therapies of interest. Practitioners can often be resistant to centering on patients, with a typically paternalistic relationship with patients, coupled with a lack of time and capacity to actively involve patients in their care.
  • Regulations and Resources – The regulatory requirements, time and investment required to engage with patients mean it often doesn’t happen. Or at best, it happens sporadically.
  • Corporate Culture – Fragmented and siloed corporate structures and cultures result in ad hoc and unsustainable attempts at patient engagement. Not to mention, they are often not built into the drug development lifecycle.
  • Limited Pharma-Patient Interactions – Patients have limited capacity and agency to engage with pharma, leading to difficulties in diverse and representative patient groups.
  • Lack of Faith as a Strategic Priority – Due to the delayed ROI associated with patient engagement, pharma struggles with prioritizing patient engagement as a sustained and systematic business imperative.

The only way to initiate and scale patient engagement sustainably is to take a systematic approach across the entire organization and at key moments throughout the drug development lifecycle.   

External Pressures for Patient Engagement are Mounting 

All of that said, the lack of impetus is changing. Patient engagement is no longer a nice to have, with a range of forces driving an increased focus on patient engagement. Industry leader, Roche, is in the process of training 10,000+ employees in patient engagement. The most important medicines regulators in the world, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and EMA (European Medicines Agency) are strongly invested in expanding Patient-Focussed Drug Development (PFDD). In 2016, the FDA codified patient engagement as a key pillar of its mission, formally requiring records of Patient Perspectives in drug review under PDUFA VI. It will become increasingly difficult and slow to get new indications approved and paid for without showing patient engagement throughout the development process and treatment regime design. The global COVID-19 pandemic has also seen familiarity, scrutiny and pressure on pharma corporate brands as their reputations increased hugely, presenting a timely and important opportunity to build trust and understanding between pharma and patients.  

The Solution? Systematically Embed Patient Engagement into Your Culture and Operating Model 

Through the learnings shared by different businesses and patient engagement leaders, it has become evident that no existing business function can fully own patient engagement. An overarching function, or center of excellence, must focus on shifting mindsets of each therapeutic area and motivating change while permeating tools, training, new ways of working, processes and systems through all cross-functional aspects of the organization to deliver impact for patients and ensure patient engagement practices are adopted cohesively.  

Leaders must be bought into the need for patient engagement and must be willing to drive home the message within their teams and prioritize it as a focus across the organization. For a patient engagement function to be able to identify and navigate the appropriate channels within the organization, the correct process, governance and stakeholders must be in place. This requires organizational, operating model and cultural adaptations to bring an enterprise-wide and systematic approach to patient engagement. Getting it right brings not only better results but renewed purpose and inspiration to teams across the business. 

10 Tips to Embed Patient Engagement (PE) Systematically in Your Organization  

From our experience globally we have distilled the key areas of focus that will help you build and embed a systematic approach to Patient Engagement across your organization 

Set Up Strategically 

  1. Embed patient engagement holistically, X-FN and enterprise-wide approach
  2. Clearly articulate the value of patient engagement – and link it to the corporate and therapeutic strategies 
  3. Ensure the patient engagement function sits strategically in the organization and is clearly distinguishable from other patient-facing functions, acting as a key enabler for other functions 

Initiate Meaningful Work 

  1. Create a comprehensive patient experience blueprint that drives equitable access to care and an improved experience
  2. Start by piloting patient engagement initiatives and tactics in the “moments that matter” across the lifecycle 
  3. Develop a patient insights function to understand patient experiences and improve outcomes  

Disseminate and Scale Rapidly 

  1. Build patient engagement infrastructure quickly by codifying best practices into repeatable processes
  2. Fill gaps in understanding with bespoke learning and development programs 
  3. Maintain momentum by creating visible platforms to articulate the importance of patient engagement 
  4. Focus on the value of patient engagement to society – the “S” in ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance)   

Making Patient Engagement Happen

To become systematic in your organization, patient engagement needs to be driven by enterprise-wide momentum while being bolstered simultaneously with enterprise-wide infrastructure. Why? Proving the ROI of patient engagement is still challenging for most organizations. As a result, the patient engagement function needs to develop a strong and robust proof of concept across drug development and commercial processes. This means partnering and collaborating across the business to make sure everyone is clear on what ‘including the patient’ looks like in their role. This will reconnect employees with the organizational purpose, which in turn attracts top talent, galvanizing them to build enterprise momentum around the value of patient engagement.  

At the same time, for this to be sustainable, we need to ensure a systematic approach so pharma can realize the full ROI of patient engagement – building the right infrastructure to make this happen. You need momentum to be able to build the infrastructure. These two things can’t be done sequentially, they need to be done in tandem.  


FINAL THOUGHTS

The good news is that it’s easy to get started. Patient engagement is inherently motivating to your people and every pharma organization has teams with an immediate need for support.   

To figure out how to accelerate the momentum of your patient engagement strategy and embed it across your organization, Prophet conducts a 2-hour workshop that helps clients define and articulate their challenges and where they need to focus efforts based on our top 10 insights outlined above. Get in touch with our Organization & Culture experts at Prophet to learn more.  

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5 Common Mistakes in Managing Healthcare Data Products

How healthcare organizations can avoid and navigate data pitfalls while building data products.

As we embark on another chapter of technology adoption, moving from the Internet of Things (IoT) to web3 and the metaverse, and as a greater degree of interoperability takes hold, data in all things healthcare is no longer a differentiator but a table stake.  As we cover in our research, “Transforming Healthcare: The Changemaker Playbook,” the ongoing healthcare data revolution opens the opportunity to deliver better clinical decisions, faster and more appropriate care delivery and ultimately more equity and context to patient treatment. Everyone by now knows that by using data and managing it the right way, organizations will see costs go down and both clinical and business processes get smarter and more efficient. However, where does data specific to your needs come from?  Who’s generating it, curating it and selling it?   

There is a massive gap emerging in organizations as it relates to managing and extracting value from their data, namely the productization of it. Yes, there are seasoned players in the healthcare data space such as Optum, Merative and IQVIA that have a high degree of maturity as it relates to data-as-a-product.  But there are also new entrants, such as growing physician groups, amassing unique and compelling data sets, as well as device and equipment manufacturers, whose smart products are also accumulating data.   

We are finding that these fringe players in healthcare data are extremely eclectic as it relates to their product management capabilities with data. These organizations are oftentimes shining examples in product development with their core products (e.g. specialty practices, vital signs monitors, claims clearing houses, etc.), but when it comes to data-as-a-product, they are often overlooking a variety of fundamentals. These mistakes are having a dramatic impact on their ability to create value with data. Generally, we are seeing three categories of data products that exist in healthcare:  

3 Categories of Healthcare Data Products

  1. DaaS: Data as a Service – When you take raw or transformed data that can be sold or licensed to additional parties
  2. Data Resulting From a Feature – By utilizing features of an existing product or service to generate data that may be productized
  3. Algorithmic and Logic Based – Where you take data, apply logic and algorithms to it to give outputs or aid in decision making 

The following highlights a set of frequent mistakes to avoid when entering the healthcare data space.  
   

1. Prioritizing “More” Data Instead of Necessary Data 

Date range or depth are often things companies will tote as a major selling point. As you peel this back, we found that customers look for the quality and completeness of the essential data that they need to solve problems they’re working on.  

Focusing on who wants or needs this data, and why, is a critical question to answer when defining the data product. Adding lots of nice-to-have data sets to your product may not create customer value. Sophisticated customers who take the time to examine your data will often try to poke holes or find gaps that will impact their decision to purchase and adopt your product.   

2. Lack of Data Accessibility  

Whether your product is a database, web platform, App or API, thinking through the end-to-end customer journey is often a gap. Data is usually part of a broader workflow that combines multiple systems, tech stacks, integrations and processes.  

As you build your product, it’s crucial to envision the data’s entire journey. Make sure your customers can pull and access the data! Rarely does a customer only use a single data source, so being able to integrate and distribute with their other solutions is essential. Often data may need to be mapped to your customers’ existing data models. A helpful tip is understanding your customer’s personas, and their level of understanding and skills, as they will be the day-to-day people interacting with the data.   

3. Loose Data Governance Practices 

As your product’s data is generated or compiled, it is critical to creating a formal taxonomy (hierarchical grouping which gives structure and standardizes terminology). This allows you to keep track of the attribution (source, rights, ownership) of where the data comes from.  some of the things included in data taxonomy are clear definitions of what data means, whether those terms are generally accepted in your industry and knowledge of how to explain the data. Another critical element to data governance is understanding your meta-data. For example, it is essential to document things like time stamping, user, source, security, segmentation and IP rights. Data in healthcare can be sensitive with regulations and policies affiliated with it so understanding what is classified as HIPAA when data can remain identified or needs to be de-identified needs to be considered.  

There will be a number of team members working around your data (engineers, data scientists, database managers, statisticians, researchers, product managers, etc.), so creating a taxonomy and decision for access rights ensures the integrity of your data is preserved. Continuously auditing change logs and benchmarking data is essential and good hygiene. Furthermore, you need to ensure that this data is protected and that your business model for monetization is secure with accessibility. Whether it be in your technology or contract terms, protect your data’s IP. From the business and legal side of governance, your MSA, EULA and contract language (whatever is applicable to your product) need to clearly spell out ownership, give the right to anonymize, create derivate or redistribute data. Knowing where you are or what you can’t do must be relayed back to the product and technology development process.   

4. Data Analytics and Tools as an Afterthought 

Along with #2, we have found that customers want to generate more insights out of their data. This is often why clients ask for periodic data dumps or direct lines of access to the data. It is an important product decision to determine if and how much you want to invest in analytics and tools that enable your customers to generate more insights on their data.  

The more you understand their needs and what they are doing with the data outside of your product, the more you should consider what would make your product stickier if you built those capabilities in. These can be simple things like filtering, searching, scheduled reports or extracts or dashboards. We often see customers still taking data and using excel or tableau to generate basic insights that can be offered inside your product.   

5. Overly Technical Products Can Deter Adoption 

Knowing your user, their technical abilities and their thresholds should be accounted for in your product development process. User retention will suffer if it takes too long to develop skills and understanding to use your product. This will manifest itself with low user activity, as well as unsatisfied business stakeholders who made an investment in selecting and implementing your product. If you are building products that are technical in nature, be sure to engage that user type/ persona early-on and understand how big that sellable market is. Don’t expect a large population of non-technical people to easily embrace your product. You will get early and stronger usage with intuitive products, short-term implementation cycles and onboarding processes, FAQ/help documents and quality customer support offerings.   


FINAL THOUGHTS

As data, product and strategy experts, we have built and worked with numerous healthcare organizations that are challenged with building products that thrive in this rapidly evolving environment. Many companies that are in the early stages of building data product(s) are working through the prioritization of a backlog through current experiences – face a set of common obstacles.  

As a growth and transformation firm, we focus on partnering with our clients to enable the building of the highest quality products possible. Our specialization in healthcare, data and product management practices is a great resource to support you on your data product journey. We cover this subject more in our new report, but please reach out if you’d like to learn more. 

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The Missing Secret to M&A Success: Organizational Culture 

5 cultural pitfalls to avoid in pursuit of maximum M&A value.

Despite economic uncertainty and a slower rate of deals, organizations will continue to utilize mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to grow, diversify, penetrate new markets and develop new capabilities.   

M&A events represent a unique opportunity to transform a business, externally and internally. Externally, it can serve as an opportunity to enhance reputation, deliver on emerging or underserved needs and increase market share. Internally, it serves as an opportunity to drive lasting cultural change and inspire renewed purpose within the evolved organization.   

There’s a lot written about mergers failing because of culture. Unfortunately, most organizations are not using company culture effectively or systematically to maximize value and minimize risk in their deals. Organizations and deal team’s care. But it’s not a significant part of the integration playbook and doesn’t receive the required attention to make it accretive to the deal.  

At Prophet, we view culture as a hidden asset in determining the success of an M&A deal. Yet, culture is integral to the success of an organization. As organizations become more digitized and automated, people change businesses, which is why we have developed the Human-Centered Transformation Model™. Our Human-Centered Transformation Model™provides an easy and accessible, holistic lens for unpacking complexities and highlighting and understanding specific components to address cultural integration.  

With this framework in mind, here are five common cultural pitfalls many companies face during M&As and actionable insights on how you can turn the tide and achieve maximized return on your investment.   

1. Not Applying the Same Rigor to Cultural Analysis as to Deal Economics  

M&A teams pride themselves on meticulous due diligence. They dig into every financial, legal and operational element they can find. But they are often under-equipped for systematic analysis of the culture of the company they are acquiring. Nor do they detail the pathway to cultural integration in the same way that they would for the financial and legal elements to prove the viability and value of the deal.  

To overcome this challenge, M&A deal teams must determine cultural similarities and differences between the two organizations before finalizing the deal. To help our clients do the proper cultural due diligence, we build this critical cultural analysis and integration process into our transformation and integration playbooks. Gathering cultural data pre-deal reduces risks and speeds up integration by informing the strengths and differences between companies.   

It’s critical to find common ground to build on. Identify the bright spots that should be preserved due to intrinsic or financial value. It is also an opportunity to anticipate friction and allocate resources to support rapid integration.  

2. Lack of Transparency and Intention About Strategic Cultural Choices  

In most merger situations, leaders don’t clearly articulate the type of culture required to make the integration and future NewCo growth strategy successful.   

However, being honest and upfront about the cultural preferences that best support strategy, brand and integration strategy will begin the merger on a solid foundation and earn the trust of both sets of employees.   

Whether there is a dominant culture, a selection of specific attributes from both organizations worth merging, or a net new culture, executives must be transparent with employees. Be honest and open about the decisions, processes and rationale for every choice to preserve trust and respect across organizational lines.   

One critical choice to get right is who is selected for leadership positions. Individuals chosen for the top jobs within the NewCo signal to employees whether or not elements of their legacy organization’s culture and values will endure. The goal at this stage is not to be popular. Instead, it is to set a clear strategic frame for the people and cultural aspects of the journey ahead and a clear “why” that explains the decisions and the approach.  

3. Failure to Align Leaders From Both Parties  

M&A deals often come together in a rush. There may be multiple bidders. Or companies aware of the market anxiety that comes from a prolonged rumor phase, are anxious to make deals official. Once signed, the focus shifts rapidly to the physical and operational integration elements – there is always a lot of work to be done, and it’s very easy to overlook perceived ”softer” topics such as values and beliefs.   

That’s a mistake. As early as possible, leadership groups from both organizations need to come together to co-create purpose and values, the ambition for the desired culture and a roadmap to get there. It’s also essential to involve employees as early as possible. Regardless, if leaders from both sides don’t have the opportunity to debate and align on a shared ambition, direction and journey, the road ahead is much harder. Leaders from both sides of the NewCo must have a shared message for the organization’s purpose and values rather than deferring to their unmerged entities’ old purpose and values.   

Aligning the cultural direction and ambition during the early stages of an M&A deal is especially important when acquiring start-ups, which are often based on a radically different ethos than larger companies. Without deciding how to protect that difference from the outset, the acquirer can wind up squashing the cultural traits that are most valuable for growth.  

The nitty-gritty of cultural integration can come later. But there must be some initial high-level sense of how that might happen amongst the leadership group. Without a shared vision for what the united cultural DNA will be–the NewCo’s purpose and values–the deal is unlikely to fulfill its promise.  

4. Not Managing Cultural Messages – Everyone Is Watching Everything  

Once leaders from both parties have reached a consensus on what this new DNA will be, they must actively and consistently model those values as integration begins and beyond. Our research on Catalysts highlights leadership behavior as a fundamental lever in cultural transformation, especially during M&A events.  

In times of uncertainty and change, all eyes are on leadership. Every action and message–intentional or not–is analyzed and interpreted by employees. Never mind the top leader appointments, even decisions that may seem tactical, such as the choice of ERP platform or brand color palette, can send a cultural message. Senses are heightened in times of change. An organization failing to manage cultural messages consistently creates unnecessary fear and upset, impacting productivity and value.  

Intentional signaling early on and careful consideration of decisions, timing and positioning –with specific details about this new, merged culture–will be critical to building trust and engagement for the journey ahead. Being thoughtful about language, decisions, symbols, and rituals in the moments that matter will enable the integration to proceed at a quicker pace. Understanding employees’ experiences, perceptions and needs are essential.   

Put yourself in the shoes of employees. Use tools rooted in neuroscience, such as “SCARF,” to establish a standard toolkit and language, invite dialogue, track trends and equip your leaders to make good decisions and deliver consistent messages in line with your chosen culture strategy.   

5. Stopping Too Early 

It takes longer than most teams expect to holistically embed the “new” culture–to make it the culture. Leaders involved in the deal are like the elite athletes in a marathon. They are off and running before the employee base has even reached the start line and can quickly move on without thinking about those behind them. Once leaders have passed the initial messaging phase, they are often surprised at the depth and time commitment required to make cultural changes stick.  

This work requires detailed roadmaps to be clear on the destination and the steps to get there. These need to be measured and managed, even beyond the early integration phases, to help leaders stay the course and bring people with them.  

 Prophet’s Human-Centered Transformation Model ™️ (HCTM) provides leaders with an accessible lens for unpacking complexities and highlighting specific components that require focus–such as required skillsets and capabilities, important behaviors and symbols and the central structures, processes and governance mechanisms. The priorities can then be easily explored and understood to support rapid integration and drive sustainable value.   

Throughout the journey, leaders can promote the foundational DNA elements of the organization’s mission, purpose and values to act as the north star as they track tangible outcomes and signs of progress against the roadmap.  


FINAL THOUGHTS

The effort is worth it – your people and shareholders will thank you. M&A events offer a unique opportunity to transform an organization’s business strategy and customer perceptions and to drive lasting cultural change. Building a human-centered approach into your M&A playbook is essential (or adopting Prophet’s playbook!) –people are the way to unlock the deal’s success. Co-create and share the “new” organization’s cultural ambitions as early as possible. It will build trust, create transparency and help realize the deal’s value.   

Ready to unlock the value of an M&A event through culture? Connect with our experts today. 

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Winning Web 3.0: Creating Immersive Metaverse Experiences

Understanding the web 3.0 metaverse and its key characteristics is essential to creating immersive and engaging metaverse experiences for your customers.

Rewind 10 years: Smartphones have already hit the market, but their potential is just beginning to be recognized. Now, whenever we need to purchase something on the go, run an errand at the bank, or share an update with our friends and family, we intuitively pick up our phone and complete the task in a matter of minutes or even seconds.  

In the same vein, we will see the Metaverse gradually blend into our lives, providing added convenience, multi-layered connectivity and unprecedented experiences in ways we have yet to discover. Brands need to pave the way for this future. In Web 2.0, brands serve as identities, externalizing purpose, values and personality, while engaging with customers and consumers. In Web 3.0, brands have evolved into entities. The Metaverse enables brands to come alive and interact with consumers in novel, innovative ways.  

To prepare for this uniquely immersive future, brands must start thinking of how to create unique experiences in the infancy of the Metaverse. What test and learn experiments can be launched in the near-term future? First, we must understand what differentiates the Web 3.0 Metaverse from the Web 2.0 we know. 

5 Characteristics of the Web 3.0-Enabled Metaverse

1. User-Owned  

Enabled by blockchain technology, the true Metaverse will be a decentralized platform, where users are given ownership over their data, assets and experiences. Unlike in Web 2.0, where consumer information is constantly being tracked, stored and sold, users will be able to decide how they want to collect and even monetize their own data in the Metaverse.  

In the Sandbox’s Metaverse, for example, players who hold SAND tokens make up the platform’s governance through a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) where decisions are made by voting. 

2. Anonymous 

 The Metaverse allows users to have the freedom to shape their identities without being limited by their age, race, gender, appearance, citizenship and more – constraints that are unavoidable in the physical world. Instead, users rely on avatars – and can shape them to be any persona they want, choosing physical traits and a pseudonym they desire.  

3. Infinite 

 In the Metaverse, there can be an unlimited number of users as well as interoperable virtual worlds. And these users can move freely, unrestricted by constraints of the physical world such as distance, time and borders.  

For instance, rapper Travis Scott performed a larger-than-life concert in the video game Fortnite. The surreal spectacle was watched by over 12 million players, earning the artist $20 million according to reports. 

4. Boundlessly Immersive 

 With the continued advancement of 3D, VR and AR technologies, the Metaverse will continue to offer more interactivity and a more immersive digital presence for users. It will increasingly become a parallel reality of people’s everyday lives, with virtual and physical experiences reinforcing one another.  

Farzi Café, in India, has partnered with OneRare, a Metaverse built for the food and beverage industry. Users can play games at the Metaverse version of Farzi Café, minting tokens that can be exchanged for actual food items at the restaurant’s physical location. 

5. Persistent 

 The Metaverse is a permanent virtual space (which can be continuously built upon and is constantly evolving) that is independent of whether an individual user is online or offline. The persistence of the Metaverse allows users to share experiences synchronously or asynchronously. 

How Brands Are Building Metaverse Experiences Today and Tomorrow 

When foraying into the Metaverse, brands must take into account these characteristics that are unique to Web 3.0 and build accordingly. Brands that are pushing into the Metaverse understand that reimagining their brand experience and their business model will be key to finding early success. 

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The 2020 pandemic posed a major challenge for countries that rely heavily on tourism revenue. To create a virtual alternative, Singapore’s Sentosa Island partnered with Nintendo Switch’s popular game, Animal Crossing, to offer a unique experience – to explore the island of Sentosa in the Metaverse. Visitors from all parts of the world were also able to purchase unique merchandise and take part in social events and experiences, creating a new revenue source for the island in the absence of traditional tourism spend.  

(Image source

Fashion house Ralph Lauren announced that its Q3 2022 revenue increased by 27% to $1.8 billion as it tapped into an all-new market in the Metaverse and a new Gen Z customer base. The brand partnered with gaming platform Roblox to launch the Ralph Lauren Winter Escape experience, which includes winter-themed activities, a Ralph’s Coffee Truck and exclusive digital apparel. On South –Korea-based Zepeto, Ralph Lauren similarly offers clothing to users to dress their avatars, selling more than one hundred thousand units in the first few weeks post-launch. It’s become clear to Ralph Lauren that virtual product sales will grow to become a significant revenue stream for the brand. 

3 Considerations for Business Innovation in the Metaverse 

However, creating one-off brand campaigns on the Metaverse is not enough. Brands must think deeply about their customer journeys of the future. In our conversations with tech leaders and brand owners alike, this recognition is shared by many: “Consumer behavior and the battlefield of brand marketing have changed. Digital natives are the early adopters in the Metaverse. Brands must build their brand, create new experiences and reimagine their products in the virtual world,” said Grace Huang, head of B2B marketing at Yahoo Taiwan. 

In the Metaverse, users can explore virtual worlds that exist in parallel with their lives in the physical world. As technology advances, the lines between these worlds will become increasingly blurred and the transition between them nearly seamless. Brands must consider how the above characteristics will shape the future of brand experiences. We anticipate three major shifts: 

1. Persona 

 The current standards by which our social value system is defined may change. “Metazens” may have professions that don’t yet exist today, possess far more virtual assets than physical ones and restructure the entire social hierarchy. As a start, brands can rethink how they design their products. For instance, apparel in the Metaverse can span a much broader range of sizes, shapes, colors and designs than in the physical world, but items that can be recreated offline as well might have additional appeal.  

2: Behavior 

 A significant amount of time will be spent online, from work to hobbies and from shopping to personal banking. Most activities can and will be completed in the Metaverse in the not-so-faraway future. Brands can consider which interactions with their consumers can be replicated in the Metaverse. Which will disappear entirely? What will emerge that does not yet exist in the physical world? 

3. Business 

 Gaming and entertainment are the initial sectors to have entered the Metaverse, but eventually, every industry will be reimagined and reinvented. Similar to e-commerce’s evolution over the past few decades, the Metaverse has the potential to become a major contributor to the world’s economy. What are near-in and far-out revenue streams that brands may be able to create? 

With this future full of untapped opportunities, what can brands get started on today? 

  • Start to get immersed in the Metaverse, as a brand builder but also as a user. Designate Metaverse experts within your team and organization. 
  • Ideate on how your industry and intersecting industries will be reshaped by the Metaverse. Look to both in and out of category examples to find opportunities for innovation. 
  • Choose one or two ideas to build out, implement and test, leveraging an agile approach to gather immediate feedback from partners and customers. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Designing Metaverse experiences is the next frontier of creating relevant and engaging brand experiences for your customers. Companies across industries are testing out bold ways to launch into the Metaverse, through partnerships, business model innovation and test and learn approaches. 

Prophet has both the digital expertise and the experience innovation to be your partner in the Metaverse. Connect with us today to discuss a Metaverse experience strategy for your brand. 

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Brand and Demand: A New Love Language 

Amid economic uncertainties, successful CMOs say they are developing three new types of marketing fluency.

Whether the economy is heading toward a recession (or already in one), chief marketing officers know their budgets are under intense scrutiny. Our work with CMOs around the world reveals that the most successful marketing execs aren’t just defending budgets. They’re also meeting this moment with new ways of making marketing more effective, translating their efforts into terms and metrics better understood throughout the organization. They’re integrating marketing into more functions. And they’re adapting new languages to drive uncommon growth and business impact through the economic fog. 

In recent conversations with CMOs, we found some common threads on how they are having conversations with their executive teams and driving impact for their organizations. Here are three trends we expect to see more of, especially as the prospect of economic uncertainty means more scrutiny on every marketing investment.  

CMO’s Are Learning One Another’s Love Language 

Okay, it’s not the love languages from those internet quizzes. There are no acts of service, quality time or physical touch. But marketers are finding ways to balance their demand and brand marketing efforts while applying it to business outcomes. The most successful marketing organizations have turned brand and demand, often an antagonistic relationship, into the ultimate power couple.  

Prophet’s recent report shows how they’ve overcome residual antagonism. They are building novel bridges between brand, to drive awareness and build equity and demand or performance marketing, to drive immediate conversion. And in doing so, they’re tapping new growth opportunities. 

Our research finds that the most successful marketers map their brand and demand marketing objectives against shared business outcomes. They integrate planning cycles and share capabilities across brand and demand to maximize marketing budgets over the entire customer journey. They don’t pick between brand or demand. They ensure the two approaches work in concert to deliver shared outcomes. 

Integrating brand campaigns more tightly into the demand function is a good way for marketers to have their cake and eat it too. Aligning brand with demand allows marketers to demonstrate ROI to the C-Suite while also delivering against both functions. 

For those from the brand side, a different vocabulary is required, as marketing is increasingly seen as a revenue driver–not a cost center. Successful marketers are learning the language of the boardroom. They’ve got to replace words like funnels, impressions or brand value with the language of ROI. And it means using proof of impact that meets the C-suite acid test for business impact: Did it increase revenue or not? 

Saying “No” Will Become More Powerful in the Next Planning Cycle 

The current inflationary pressure means marketers have to say “no” more often.  

But rather than feeling discouraged by having to do so, many say they are learning to enjoy that little word more than they expected. It’s empowering them to mothball tactics without proven ROI. And it’s giving them more authority to demand results from their teams and channel partners. By turning thumbs down on the many small investments brands typically make just to “have a presence” or “keep an oar in,” they tell us they’re focusing on the most proven channels. They’re not abandoning the small strategic bets needed to keep their test-and-learn culture thriving, but they are becoming more disciplined about how they are funded. 

CMO’s Are Becoming Integrators Across Many Functional Areas 

Just as they are coming together to integrate their brand and demand functions to unite around a unified business objective, CMOs are emerging as integrators across different functions. That could mean working closely with human resources and developing an employee value proposition for recruiting or it means recognizing that marketing can–and should–take a leadership role in integrations to build organizational culture. 

Breaking down silos is hard work and requires an integrated marketer to lead the charge. The individual filling this role should be a more seasoned marketing professional with the ability to work cross-functionally. And they must be willing to roll up their sleeves and get into the nooks and crannies of the business, immersing themselves in the customer journey in new and different ways. Marketing leaders should be looking to build proactive connections with their colleagues across human resources, product, sales and IT to deliver cross-functional business impact. This integrator mindset will allow them to not only work in lockstep with other business units but if done well, help to uncover untapped pockets of demand.  

Integrating multiple brands and teams requires a cross-functional marketing technology stack, of course. But genuine integration requires a deeper commitment. Many companies have charged people throughout the marketing organization with specific responsibilities to make sure plans are holistic and well-integrated. Others rely on integrative processes, constantly organizing new pods and tiger teams to solve challenges. 

Putting Your New Love Language Into Practice 

For many, the annual planning season is either underway or right around the corner. This is a great reminder to be mindful and refine the language you are using as a marketing leader.  In a recent blog, we wrote about how to modernize the marketing planning cycle. Some questions to consider as you reimagine your approach to your annual marketing plans:   

  • What are the business objectives for your next planning cycle?  
  • Is it clear how marketing directly contributes to those objectives?  
  • Does your organization have an aligned taxonomy around objectives and activities?  
  • How are you measuring success for brand and marketing initiatives investments?  
  • Are those metrics understood across brand and demand teams? Or are those metrics creating siloes between them?  
  • Are those metrics enabling marketing to have a “seat at the table”? Or are those metrics creating distance with other executives/board? 

Download this worksheet to begin mapping your plan to business outcomes. 


FINAL THOUGHTS

To navigate economic challenges, CMOs are using their voices differently. They’re learning to speak a common marketing language. They are saying `no’ more often, with profound growth implications. And they are focusing on a new kind of organizational fluency, integrating marketing throughout multiple functions. Doing so allows them to play a proactive role in figuring out new audiences, leading to rich areas of growth. 

Ready to put your new love language into practice? Contact our team today.

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Why Companies Need to Act on ESG Issues with Authenticity 

Learn how your organization can work better together in service of the greater good.

In an era marked by the convergence of business and activism, many believe that “silence speaks louder than words.” While silence on environmental, social and governance issues may draw the attention of stakeholders looking for statements, empty words and promises may pose greater risks.  

The pandemic, wildfires, controversial Supreme Court rulings, water shortages, mass shootings and global conflict have shone a bright light on the role of business in society, underscoring the need to integrate ESG into business strategy as stakeholders gravitate towards companies that align with their values.  

As a result, business leaders are dedicating more time to responding to these environmental and social issues – both internally and externally. In fact, 66% of American consumers say their social values shape their shopping choices and 86% of employees prefer to work or support companies that care about the same issues they do. 

See Something, Say Something or Say Nothing? 

Taking a stand (or not taking a stand) will invite attention — both negative and positive. In this piece, we will share our framework on when and how businesses should act on ESG issues with authenticity to avoid risks of being perceived as opportunistic or greenwashing.  

Purpose-led companies with ironclad ESG response strategies have the necessary foundation for success. Those that are investing in environmental issues or social issues as part of their core strategy will have more credibility in proactively engaging in topics in addition to responding to events. For example, Patagonia’s self-imposed Earth tax gives credibility to its proactive and reactive environmental activism, and Ben & Jerry’s ongoing commitment to racial justice supports public stances on social movements. While there is no perfect strategy that will please all stakeholders, keep these principles in mind when thinking about how to engage on issues. 

We understand this is difficult work because we are still figuring it out ourselves. Developing these guidelines has encouraged us to shine a brighter light on our own ESG response strategy. While we are far from perfect and still have a long way to go in our own ESG journey, we have identified five essentials for how to respond and engage authentically.  

1. Know Your Company’s Purpose and Build the ESG Response Strategy 

The foundation of a successful ESG response strategy is dependent on an unwavering brand purpose. Purpose acts as a North Star, guiding a business as it makes difficult decisions. If issue engagement is treated as a temporary initiative rolled out for the sake of promoting goodwill, stakeholders will perceive a company as opportunistic. 

Brand purpose does not have to be one and the same with ESG strategy. However, connecting your ESG response strategy to your purpose and values demonstrates genuine commitment and gives the company credibility to play in the ESG arena.    

For example, Patagonia is a “purpose native” company that has an ESG strategy entwined with its purpose. As a company that sells apparel for exploring the outdoors, it has spearheaded several initiatives to protect and preserve the environment.  

2. Identify Issues Your Stakeholders Care About and That You Can Authentically Engage on 

“The goal is to reinforce existing brand identities on issues that matter to customers and employees. If they’re authentic in what they stand for and they reinforce it consistently, then it’s credible.”

Marisa Mulvihill, partner at Prophet, in the ‘Wall Street Journal’ 

With a new set of issues dominating the news cycle every week, businesses may feel pressure to react to every topic, which could potentially result in missteps if there isn’t a concrete ESG response plan in place. By demonstrating authentic action through a robust ESG response strategy, businesses can build their credibility to make their voices heard on a multitude of issues. 

Conducting a materiality assessment will determine what issues are the most important to your stakeholders, ensuring that your company can focus efforts on the most relevant and authentic ESG issues. To stay attuned to evolving customer behaviors, consistently undertaking market research on customer attitudes can propel companies forward by allowing them to proactively strategize where they can meet the needs of their customers. 

Nike has already successfully leaned into contentious conversations. With its bold advertisement featuring Colin Kaepernick, the company fueled the fire of a subset of customers uncomfortable with the company’s embrace of the athlete. However, its younger, diverse consumers immediately rallied behind the cause, showing that the company had done its research on its core customer group by making a strategic, calculated move to solidify its relationship with them. 

In 2020, Prophet was overwhelmed, in the best way possible, with the discussions within the firm to do more and better in the face of systemic racism, particularly as it impacts the Black community in the U.S. As part of our commitments to promote racial and social equity both within our firm and broader communities, we pledged $4M of pro-bono hours to organizations supporting racial justice. As we continue to work towards achieving this commitment, Prophet’s pro-bono program enables teams to connect their passions and share their expertise to support organizations and movements on the ground. We know that racial justice and equity will never be achieved by one leader or one group alone, but we are using our core competencies and influence to do our part in advancing the cause. 

3. Execute With Commitment to Action and Transparency 

Authenticity is key. How your company executes can make or break a response, even if the issue it is addressing is material to stakeholders. While purpose provides the foundation, concrete action on a promise is crucial for an ESG response strategy that leaves an impact.  

Before taking a stand, ask yourself: Is your company contributing value by engaging? Are you shining a light on the core issue and supporting a solution, or are you detracting from the issue or potentially causing harm? 

There are times in which showing up might be perceived as performative, especially if a company’s past actions paint a conflicting picture, or if the response is perceived as reactionary and disingenuous. Purpose washing — touting shallow commitments for marketing purposes without driving tangible change — is a real risk that can discredit a company’s ESG response strategy. While 73% of consumers say companies must act now for the good of society and the planet, 71% don’t believe companies will deliver on their promises. 

For example, financial services firm State Street was behind the infamous “Fearless Girl” statue on Wall Street, highlighting the need to combat gender inequality. However, further digging unveiled that the company’s gender diversity fund did not always vote in favor of gender diversity or pay equity proposals for the companies it invests in. 

Engaging in issues will pose a risk if there is a gap between what a company says and what it does. However, if a company is ready to show up on issues it hasn’t performed well on, it will need to do so with transparency and commitment to action. 

4. Thoughtfully Balance the Needs of Multiple Stakeholders 

The actions of a company ripple across the full system of stakeholders. When developing a response strategy, it’s crucial to understand the diverse needs of customers, employees, local communities, suppliers and more. If companies decide to act, they will need to evaluate whether to act internally to address the topic with their employees, or also externally to engage with customers and the community.   

Thorny issues often pull in multiple stakeholders at once, with each group having different levels of impact and involvement. When companies were deciding on how their responses to the invasion of Ukraine might impact customers in Russia and across the world, they also needed to consider how to support their employees, especially those who had to leave Ukraine and care for their families. Suspending business in Russia may put pressure on the country, but it also affects civilians trapped in the conflict. 

5. Continually Monitor and Evolve 

Taking a stand doesn’t stop after making an announcement. Action must be continually monitored to understand the impact of your ESG response strategy on stakeholders. Metrics can help you understand how to improve and iterate on your strategy: Did your company’s response support the issue in a way that resonated with the stakeholders who were the most impacted in the issue? How did stakeholders view your company’s response to the issue? Did the response address your stakeholders’ needs? 

Additionally, a company’s response strategy shouldn’t be set in stone. With a relentless influx of issues pulling companies in, the strategy should be dynamic and leverage the expertise of multiple departments within a company to adapt to whatever new challenges arise. In a multi-stakeholder environment, determine who within your company should own the response strategy, whether that be HR, consumer marketing, internal communications or another expertise group. 

Lastly, continue to revisit the approach and assess where you can evolve to meet the changing needs of stakeholders. 


FINAL THOUGHTS

Taking a stand isn’t a fad. As the role of business in society continues to evolve, companies need a robust ESG response strategy and processes that evaluate when and where they have the credibility to drive change. 

Ready to get started? 

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How to Use Storytelling to Bring Your ESG Strategy to Life 

Here, we offer five essentials for organizations to consider in order to tell a more compelling ESG story.

Let’s face it: In the past year, “ESG” has started to feel like a corporate buzzword. 

Pressure from external stakeholders to show measurable progress on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives has spurred brands to make bold commitments and activate ESG strategies. Likewise, ESG reporting (a report of ESG activities and data required for financial disclosures) gained traction with 92% of the S&P 500 publishing Sustainability Reports in 2020 and the EU introducing the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), a policy requiring companies to “disclose information on the way they manage social and environmental challenges.” 

So, yes, given this collective shift to outline ambitions, draft agendas and share the latest company data, it’s easy for a concept like ESG to feel overused, overwhelming or even inconsequential. But at its core, brands acting for the causes they believe in are anything but.  

A solid ESG strategy is comprised of an ESG ambition (where we want to go) and an ESG agenda (how we will get there). Together they inform the ESG narrative. The ESG narrative is a powerful story or series of stories, that should drive understanding and inspire action, ultimately making your ESG journey real, relevant and resonant to your stakeholders.  

Which is why after establishing a sound strategy, brands must ask themselves: What’s the narrative? How can we contribute to a larger conversation? How can our efforts connect with and inspire people?  

Here, we offer five essentials for organizations to consider in order to tell a more compelling ESG story.  

Go Deeper and Get Specific 

Your organization’s ESG strategy will likely cover a broad spectrum of topics, and consequently, the narrative will speak to a variety of initiatives. But just because the broader story encompasses so much, doesn’t mean you have to hit on it all in every single communication. Tetris-ing mentions of all your ESG initiatives at random and throughout every written piece can confuse your audiences and may even minimize the perceived gravity of what you’re working towards. Instead, use individual storytelling touchpoints as opportunities to go deeper on one or two intersecting topics at a time to uncover the human element. You can reference your ESG materiality assessment to help you identify and prioritize the relevant topics your business has committed to. 

Giving a specific topic or initiative adequate space and airtime will help you be more intentional with storytelling around key components of your ESG strategy — elevating your ambitions into something tangible rather than just scratching the surface of all your efforts at once.  

With that in mind, look for the moments where your ESG initiatives and the issues they address naturally intersect with each other. Those may be the most compelling storytelling opportunities. Take HydroFlask, the brand puts ESG storytelling front and center on its website via its Parks For All program. It spotlights grant recipients across the country, sharing details about what the nonprofits are doing to ensure nature is accessible to all and contextualizes why the company believes everyone should have access to the benefits of nature: “the benefits of nature are mental, physical and social.” 

Sincere, emotive messaging helps bring its grant initiative to life by getting to the heart of why what it’s doing matters on a human level — potentially inspiring audiences to get support or apply for a grant themselves. 

Know What Your Audiences Want and Expect 

Just like any other form of communication, you should modulate your storytelling approach to meet the needs — or expectations — of different audiences. But to do so, you need to understand them. For instance, regulators and investors may be more stimulated by facts and figures, whereas employees, consumers and the broader market will likely connect with stories that demonstrate how your initiatives may show up in their routines, communities, experiences and relationships. Understanding the emotional drivers of these audiences allows you to ground your stories in accessible, human experiences, making your ESG efforts feel real and relatable. 

Direct-to-consumer brand Humankind’s messaging consistently emphasizes how people can easily reduce single-use plastic waste simply by using its products in their daily routines. It claims that “you can fight this flow of plastic waste, just by getting ready in the morning,” helping consumers envision its product within the context of their lives. The brand even extends this notion into its nomenclature, naming some of its product offerings the “Dental Routine Bundle” and the “Shower Routine Bundle.”  

Oat beverage company Oatly already broke the mold of the milk-alternative (and milk) industry by embodying a challenging, self-aware and even playful voice, but that’s not the only way it stands out among competitors and remains relevant to its audiences. Oatly Stories provides a series of updates about “the work [it’s] doing and the issues [the brand] cares about.” Stories range from deep-dive investigations about whether oat milk truly does taste horrible in tea to interviews with various company founders whose visions for a sustainable and more equitable future align with Oatly’s.  

Make it Measurable 

Your ESG story is only as powerful as the hard facts that underpin it — audiences crave real, tangible measures to go hand-in-hand with a strong narrative. What steps are you taking toward the causes you believe in? How has that journey progressed over time? And how can you strive to be better?  

Here, transparency and humility play surprisingly important roles. Rather than overstate the scope and impact of your ESG efforts, it pays to be candid about the work that has yet to be done and the problems that remain to be solved. Doing so can manage against your brand being charged with “greenwashing” and “virtue signaling.” 

People are drawn to authenticity — and they relate to companies that can deliver on their promises, no matter how far out that delivery may appear. As Gen Z consumers enter the market, they are actively seeking out more opportunities for meaningful brand stories. A vulnerable nod to what remains to be done adds a compelling layer to the stories you tell. And it leaves room for a dynamic journey that they can follow along with. 

Consider Walmart’s approach to ESG reporting, which strives to create an accessible, transparent way to measure impact and stay accountable. Communications accompanying the report share the findings for any stakeholder to consult, in a way that’s easily digestible. And, on top of that, it clearly lays out the spaces that remain open to improvement in candid terms.   

“Substantial improvements in outcomes may be years in the making,” Kathleen McLaughlin, Walmart’s chief sustainability officer, admitted in a July blog post in regard to equity initiatives at the company. “Yet we are encouraged by signs of progress.”  

Use Bold Language to Express Your Bold Moves 

If you’re making measurable, authentic operational changes or business decisions to deliver your ESG strategy, don’t shy away from language that will excite, inspire and rally people around those efforts. 

While it may be easy to lean towards a safer territory with storytelling that doesn’t risk polarizing your audiences, the greatest test of sincerity often lies in how we address personally and emotionally charged issues. Don’t mask your progress or stance in equivocal language that can be interpreted anyway — this is an especially important point for Gen Z employees, who seek out employers who are willing to clearly and confidently advocate for causes they believe in and actively support. 

The risk that some of your intended audience won’t agree with your delivery will always be there. But the most powerful brands acknowledge the risk inherent in their activism, and their subsequent storytelling. Even if they know sharing their stance and efforts may not always be a profitable decision, they do so with assurance and aspiration, and then keep on charging ahead.  

Patagonia took this to the extreme when it confidently declared: “Earth is now our only shareholder.” Since this courageous business decision, the company will now use the wealth it creates and invest it into fighting the environmental crisis. The action itself is honorable, but the word choice and storytelling are what helped amplify the impact and make it feel real to stakeholders. As Yvon Chouinard, the company’s founder powerfully put it in the announcement: “Instead of ‘going public,’ you could say we’re ‘going purpose.’” 

Brands don’t have to communicate their stance blindly. They can and should refer to their materiality assessments to get a sense of the causes that resonate saliently to them and to their stakeholders to make informed choices around how they share their progress tactfully.  

Keep it Going 

A powerful ESG story doesn’t stop with a single campaign, blog post or annual report. It’s not a forced divergence from your brand’s more important objectives. Instead, it’s a living, breathing element of your core identity as a brand. It’s consistent with everything you are and every cause you stand for. And it needs to remain that way over time.  

Your story must evolve with the world around it. As new current events and social causes come to light, brands need to look for opportunities to authentically tie them back to their story and keep their narratives relevant.    

Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign has been supporting diverse representations of beauty since 2004 — and it has served as an example of how staying true to your core values will never fall out of trend.  
 
Over the years, the campaign has found many different iterations of two key themes: female empowerment and the fight against stereotypes. And this past June, Dove took a powerful stance opposing the overturning of Roe V. Wade, publicly taking to social media to declare: “It’s her body. It should be her choice.”  

It’s a powerful message from Dove, precisely because of the messages Dove has put forth over the years around women’s empowerment. With this stand, the brand has shown consistent loyalty to its principles, even in the face of a potentially polarizing topic.  


FINAL THOUGHTS

While ESG rightfully continues to gain momentum, it takes more than broad strokes and light touches to make your ESG intentions feel serious and bold.  

By investing in the right storytelling strategies, you will not only connect to your audiences’ hearts and minds — you’ll make your important ESG efforts feel committed, real and lasting.    

Contact us to learn more about building and communicating an authentic ESG strategy for your organization.

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Marrying Brand and Demand Marketing to Drive Sustainable Growth in China 

To break through the crowded and cutthroat landscape of consumer brands in China, marketers must not only drive brand growth but also build lasting brand love.

According to an alarming statistic from market research firm Kantar, 74% of consumer goods startups in China were eliminated after their first three years of operation. Brands are struggling with how to sustain growth in the face of increasingly sophisticated yet “disloyal” consumers while growing competition is being exacerbated by an expansion of channels and consumer data. Meanwhile, a higher level of accountability is expected of marketers. Therefore, marketers today are under intense pressure to make every dollar count, prove returns and drive impact.  

In Prophet’s latest report, “Brand and Demand Marketing: A Love Story,” we examined how marketers can use both brand and demand marketing to achieve their short and long-term objectives and maximize marketing ROI. Below, we share our learnings from across the globe as well as important nuances for Chinese marketers, unveiling the key to building sustainable brands through balancing brand and demand marketing efforts. 

Brand and Demand Opportunities Throughout the Customer Journey 

Brand marketing typically describes efforts to drive awareness of and preference for a company, product or service, while demand marketing seeks to compel audiences to act immediately (e.g., purchase, click on an offer, sign up for a newsletter). Many marketing organizations experience significant tension between brand building and demand generation – a tension we believe undercuts growth and harms performance.  

Prophet introduces the brand and demand maturity model. It lays out an actionable roadmap for how different stages of a customer journey may lean more on brand or demand. But the opportunity is to always show collective value for each moment. 

Hungry for Growth but Missing Out on CLV 

When asked about their prioritized business objectives, Chinese marketers demonstrate remarkably expansionary mindsets, especially when compared with other regions. They pursue new segments, new business, increased shares and are full of ambitions to expand their reach. However, they tend to focus less on levers that drive CLV (Customer Lifetime Value), such as increasing sizes of orders and repurchase rates. 

Top Priorities in the Past 12 Months

Q: Which of the following business objectives, if any, were the top three priorities for your company in the past 12 months? (Rank 1 results) 

This mentality is likely driven by the fact that marketing teams in Chinese companies tend to shoulder more growth-driven accountability than the average global marketers, with twice the amount of involvement in near-term P&L management, revenue growth and operations. 

This propensity is also evident in the top KPIs Chinese marketers focus on when measuring the success of their marketing campaigns. They are significantly more likely than their global peers to track return on advertising spend (ROAS) and revenue generated, while less likely to consider brand awareness, brand preference and CLV among their top three metrics.  

Top Performance Metrics for Marketing Campaigns 

Q: Which of the following are the top five metrics your company tracks performance of marketing campaigns against? (Rank 1, 2 and 3 results) 

In keeping with the whole customer decision journey, we believe that they place a narrow focus on the left side of the model – persuading customers to choose and buy – while ignoring the enormous potential of the entire CLV contained on the right side of the model – the ownership journey.  

For many of China’s fastest-growing new consumer brands, for example, repurchases, referrals and brand communities are largely being driven by transactional benefits (e.g., free gifts, cash back or steep discounts), instead of brand understanding and advocacy. This is fundamentally still a demand-led approach that is unsustainable in the long term.  

As a next step, in addition to the buying experience and short-term conversion, Chinese marketers should extend CX excellence to the ownership journey to maximize CLV. Meanwhile, a more holistic set of metrics should be used to assess impact and success across all activities and tactics.  

Taking Brand Marketing to the Next Level 

Chinese marketers are particularly skilled at demand generation and have created a variety of effective tactics (private traffic activation, KOL/KOC matrix, etc.) to attract customers. Most new consumer brands succeed by leveraging short-term demand generation tools (e.g., low prices, viral products).  

On the other hand, the explore and advocacy stages, where brand marketing initiatives should take the lead, tend to be undervalued. Brands rarely give consumers the opportunity to actively engage and resonate with the brand’s point of view, story and value proposition. Thus, the customer retention rate fueled by recognition and loyalty is unable to increase due to a lack of brand pull.  

Despite the difficult nature of balancing brand and demand efforts, we’ve highlighted a few examples below of consumer brands in China that are standing out in a highly competitive market by excelling in explore and advocacy. 

PMPM: Attracting New Customers Through an Inspirational Brand Story

(Image source)  

While the beauty industry has long relied on hero products, startup skincare brand PMPM is built on a distinct emotional foundation that speaks to consumer truths. Through a clearly defined value proposition, “spirit of exploration,” PMPM focuses on creating high-quality products with natural ingredients sourced from around the world. The brand’s latest promotional video spotlights its founding team of accredited skincare researchers and beauty experts, telling an inspirational story of the brand’s determination to create a Chinese-born, world-class skincare brand in the next decade. 

Manner: Engaging a Loyal Customer Base Through Shared Values 

(Image source: social media) 

Manner initially won over customers by offering inexpensive but quality coffee to increasingly caffeine-addicted Chinese urbanites and office workers. As the first Chinese coffee brand to introduce the idea of “BYO reusable cup for a 5 RMB discount,” Manner solidified its economic and eco-conscious positioning. Through quality products and a seamless CX that includes mobile order-ahead, repurchase rates increased steadily, and a strong base of loyal customers followed.  

Manner’s additional sustainability and customer engagement efforts, such as giving away branded reusable canvas bags for its 6-year anniversary, have turned customers into eager brand advocates. Compared with other brands in the category that are still trapped in creating complicated pricing schemes to acquire new customers, Manner has moved away from reaping price advantages by connecting with consumers’ values and lifestyles, thus creating a higher and more sustainable CLV. 

Key Takeaways for Marketers in China 

With customer journeys becoming increasingly complex, non-linear and hyper-personalized, the real challenge today is not acquiring new customers, but keeping them.

To wrap up, these are our takeaways for building an evergreen Chinese brand by balancing brand and demand: 

  • Think beyond short-term growth to adopt a broadened and balanced lens for execution and measurement. 
  • CX is not limited to the buying journey. Carefully consider how to optimize the ownership journey as well to fully activate CLV. 
  • Dynamically balance demand and brand across the entire customer decision journey while further increasing branding efforts – particularly in brand exploration and advocacy – to cultivate lasting brand love.

FINAL THOUGHTS

To break through the crowded and cutthroat landscape of consumer brands in China, marketers must not only drive brand growth but also build lasting brand love. Brand and demand marketing have distinct roles throughout the customer journey, but combined, their effect is amplified.

For more insights on how to unleash their power, check out Prophet’s latest report, Brand and Demand Marketing: A Love Story.

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