Microservices Expo Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Gordon Haff, John Katrick, Mehdi Daoudi

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Mobile IoT, Microservices Expo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Seven Promises of the Digital Brand By @TheEbizWizard | @CloudExpo #Cloud

What do digital brands promise – and how do those promises differ from traditional, non-digital brands?

Brands are more than the sum of their brand elements - logos, colors, shapes, and the like. Brands are promises. Promises from a company to its customers that its products will deliver the value and experience customers expect.

Today, digital is transforming enterprises across numerous industries. As companies become software-driven organizations, their brands transform into digital brands. But if brands are promises, then what do digital brands promise - and how do those promises differ from traditional, non-digital brands?

Digital Extends Branding
Before I get into the list of digital brand promises, it's important to point out that digital vs. traditional branding isn't an either-or situation. Rather, digital technologies themselves, as well as the broader context of digital as recognizing that customer preferences and behavior drive enterprise technology decisions, extend and transform tried-and-true branding principles.

Such extension and transformation, therefore, isn't a one way street. You can't simply say that you'll take some existing brand and turn it into a digital brand. In reality, digital is transforming branding itself - so even your traditional brands will undergo a digital transformation, whether you like it or not.

With those points in mind, then, here are the seven promises of digital brands.

Promise of authenticity. Digital - social media in particular - transforms the brand interaction into a conversation. But the only way a person wants to have a conversation with a company is if the conversation is truly authentic. Technology can easily get in the way of such authentic interactions.

My last Cortex newsletter, Bring the Omnichannel Purchase to the Digital Customer, went more in depth in how easily brand interactions can be disingenuous. Don't make this mistake.

Promise of respectfulness. Misuse of marketing technology can disappoint, shock, or anger customers. The more you know about a customer, the easier it is to stalk them and spy on them. Avoid the digital marketing creepiness factor and respect your audience.

Promise of coherence. Multichannel marketing recognizes that customers may favor one channel over another - for example, they may want to shop in a store one day or online another.

Omnichannel marketing extends the notion of multichannel by recognizing that from the customer perspective, all interaction touchpoints should be a single, coherent channel. If I want to use my phone to shop while I'm in a store, or if I want to interact with a brand via Twitter while I'm watching their commercial on TV, then so be it.

To keep the promise of coherence, brands should recognize customers across all touchpoints. If I get an email newsletter from a brand, I want their sales associates to know I get the newsletter and what it said when I go into the store. If I call an airline, I want the customer service rep to know I'm a premium flyer.

Promise of individualization. Traditional marketing offers personalization and segmentation. Neither one goes far enough in the digital world.

When I go to the Amazon or Netflix web sites, I see personalized recommendations based upon my past purchase history and what other people with tastes similar to mine liked. But - if I ordered a kids' movie for my grandson last week, they're likely to recommend other kids' movies today, even though my grandson isn't visiting at the moment.

Other brands focus on segmentation. I'm a professional in my fifties, so AARP mails me stuff with annoying regularity. But - they have no way of knowing if I'd be interested in joining, and among all the perks of being an AARP member, they have no idea which ones I'd like. So directly into the trash it goes.

Individualization takes personalization and segmentation one huge step further. With individualization you essentially segment your target market so finely that each segment has a single person in it. As long as you remain authentic and respectful, you can now analyze digital's copious quantities of data to offer each individual customer precisely what they want, how they want, when they want it.

Promise to stay current. Some brands promise consistency and stability. When I buy a bar of Ivory Soap or rent a room at the Hampton Inn, I expect it to be exactly like every other bar of Ivory Soap I've ever purchased or Hampton Inn room I've ever rented, respectively. Surprises with such products are almost always bad.

Digital brands, in contrast, have to keep up with the times. Customers always want the latest and greatest, whether it be current pricing on the web site or current merchandise in a store.

It's important to note that a brand can promise to be consistent as well as current. When I go to the Hampton Inn web site, it had better be current. A hotel web site with out-of-date pricing or availability data is worse than useless. But the last thing I want from the room is a surprise.

Promise of performance. Performance overlaps the final promise, quality - but digital brands have a particular promise of performance that warrants calling out. With digital branding, speed is the name of the game. Every interaction must be in real-time, or as close to real-time as is practical for the type of interaction.

Customers don't care that mobile networks are slower than their cable TV Internet at home - they want mobile apps and web sites to respond blisteringly fast regardless. When a customer emails a company, they want a personal response right away. And it goes without saying I should be able to get a real human on the line when I call the call center at 3:00 AM on a Sunday morning.

Promise of quality. Quality, of course, has always been one of the most important brand promises since, well, the invention of commerce itself. I repeat it here because digital raises the bar on quality - because of the other six promises. As a brand strives to keep its other promises, the promise of quality cannot be allowed to suffer.

In fact, the quality promise overrides each of the others. You could have the most authentic brand in the world, but if your quality sucks, it doesn't matter. You could have the most coherent brand in the world, but if your quality sucks, well, you get the point.

The Intellyx Take: The Promise of Delight
Few digital brands are able to keep all seven of the promises above, and truth be told, they are all somewhat negotiable, except for the promise of quality. Coherence and individualization, for example, are extraordinarily difficult to get right - but as a result, it's unlikely your competition is going to get them right, either.

So the reality of digital branding is that it doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be better than the other guy's.

On the other hand, today's world is full of brands who suck at digital in one way or another, with some industries worse than others. Sure, cable companies, telcos, and auto dealerships have mostly gone digital. But everybody hates their cable company, mobile phone provider, and the dealership where they bought their car nevertheless (with only rare exceptions). There's clearly room for improvement.

As brands figure this stuff out, in contrast, something magical happens. Customers actually end up liking the brands they interact with. Customer delight, in fact, is the overarching brand promise that all the other promises roll up into.

Sure, you can point to the fact that none of your competition is doing this any better than you are, but that's just an excuse. Instead, focus on what it will take to get this digital branding thing right. Not only will you run circles around your competition, but you'll delight your customers - and you can take delighted customers all the way to the bank.

Intellyx advises companies on their digital transformation initiatives and helps vendors communicate their agility stories. At the time of writing, none of the organizations mentioned in this article are Intellyx customers. Image credit: wackystuff.

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting), and several software and web development positions.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
"We started a Master of Science in business analytics - that's the hot topic. We serve the business community around San Francisco so we educate the working professionals and this is where they all want to be," explained Judy Lee, Associate Professor and Department Chair at Golden Gate University, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
There is a huge demand for responsive, real-time mobile and web experiences, but current architectural patterns do not easily accommodate applications that respond to events in real time. Common solutions using message queues or HTTP long-polling quickly lead to resiliency, scalability and development velocity challenges. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ryland Degnan, a Senior Software Engineer on the Netflix Edge Platform team, will discuss how by leveraging a reactive stream-based protocol,...
We call it DevOps but much of the time there’s a lot more discussion about the needs and concerns of developers than there is about other groups. There’s a focus on improved and less isolated developer workflows. There are many discussions around collaboration, continuous integration and delivery, issue tracking, source code control, code review, IDEs, and xPaaS – and all the tools that enable those things. Changes in developer practices may come up – such as developers taking ownership of code ...
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
Cloud Governance means many things to many people. Heck, just the word cloud means different things depending on who you are talking to. While definitions can vary, controlling access to cloud resources is invariably a central piece of any governance program. Enterprise cloud computing has transformed IT. Cloud computing decreases time-to-market, improves agility by allowing businesses to adapt quickly to changing market demands, and, ultimately, drives down costs.
For over a decade, Application Programming Interface or APIs have been used to exchange data between multiple platforms. From social media to news and media sites, most websites depend on APIs to provide a dynamic and real-time digital experience. APIs have made its way into almost every device and service available today and it continues to spur innovations in every field of technology. There are multiple programming languages used to build and run applications in the online world. And just li...
The general concepts of DevOps have played a central role advancing the modern software delivery industry. With the library of DevOps best practices, tips and guides expanding quickly, it can be difficult to track down the best and most accurate resources and information. In order to help the software development community, and to further our own learning, we reached out to leading industry analysts and asked them about an increasingly popular tenet of a DevOps transformation: collaboration.
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
How is DevOps going within your organization? If you need some help measuring just how well it is going, we have prepared a list of some key DevOps metrics to track. These metrics can help you understand how your team is doing over time. The word DevOps means different things to different people. Some say it a culture and every vendor in the industry claims that their tools help with DevOps. Depending on how you define DevOps, some of these metrics may matter more or less to you and your team.
"CA has been doing a lot of things in the area of DevOps. Now we have a complete set of tool sets in order to enable customers to go all the way from planning to development to testing down to release into the operations," explained Aruna Ravichandran, Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy at CA Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"We are an integrator of carrier ethernet and bandwidth to get people to connect to the cloud, to the SaaS providers, and the IaaS providers all on ethernet," explained Paul Mako, CEO & CTO of Massive Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Grape Up leverages Cloud Native technologies and helps companies build software using microservices, and work the DevOps agile way. We've been doing digital innovation for the last 12 years," explained Daniel Heckman, of Grape Up in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"NetApp's vision is how we help organizations manage data - delivering the right data in the right place, in the right time, to the people who need it, and doing it agnostic to what the platform is," explained Josh Atwell, Developer Advocate for NetApp, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"Outscale was founded in 2010, is based in France, is a strategic partner to Dassault Systémes and has done quite a bit of work with divisions of Dassault," explained Jackie Funk, Digital Marketing exec at Outscale, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
The enterprise data storage marketplace is poised to become a battlefield. No longer the quiet backwater of cloud computing services, the focus of this global transition is now going from compute to storage. An overview of recent storage market history is needed to understand why this transition is important. Before 2007 and the birth of the cloud computing market we are witnessing today, the on-premise model hosted in large local data centers dominated enterprise storage. Key marketplace play...
Cavirin Systems has just announced C2, a SaaS offering designed to bring continuous security assessment and remediation to hybrid environments, containers, and data centers. Cavirin C2 is deployed within Amazon Web Services (AWS) and features a flexible licensing model for easy scalability and clear pay-as-you-go pricing. Although native to AWS, it also supports assessment and remediation of virtual or container instances within Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or on-premise. By dr...
With continuous delivery (CD) almost always in the spotlight, continuous integration (CI) is often left out in the cold. Indeed, it's been in use for so long and so widely, we often take the model for granted. So what is CI and how can you make the most of it? This blog is intended to answer those questions. Before we step into examining CI, we need to look back. Software developers often work in small teams and modularity, and need to integrate their changes with the rest of the project code b...
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...