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Ritual-tainment in a digital revolution: human factor rules!
Posted by Riet Delsin

Last week at the BOPE18 event by VIGC in Brussels, one word stayed in my mind: ‘Ritual-tainment’. Cis Scherpereel called it ‘The people factor in ecommerce, how people make the difference in doing business online’. It refers to the human/people factor. He was not talking about B2C or B2B, but about H2H = Human to Human. Ritual-Tainment refers to stories and not to products.  Cis interviewed the Ritual-Tainment Guru Ibrahim Ibrahim, an easy name that I’m sure to remember.

 

Ritualise your brand
We live in an on-demand economy. Customers want their products & services faster. The solution to their need should be smooth and easy. Future customers will shop on social media, whereby chatting with brands will be a normal thing. Mobile, Artificial Intelligence and ‘Internet of Things’ are trending. Most entrepreneurs are afraid of the digital transformations that affect them. The powerful position in their market they had in the past is of no real significance anymore today.

According to Ibrahim, managing director at Portland Design, companies not only need to invent or design a new product branding but need to implement a series of rituals.  The focus is on the connected customer and their experience. A ritual is not a copy paste. It’s a set of fixed actions and sometimes words performed regularly, especially as part of a ceremony. If you can define a few rituals that are typical for your company then it’s difficult for other brands to copy paste that. A ritual is more than a logo, a baseline, a promotion, etc.

 

A computer can’t smile, but people can!
How do you do this? Online or offline? If you think it needs to be online because this is where the innovation, the future will take place. You are wrong! Don’t drive your business through your channels but through your customers. Technology is important but it’s only a facilitator. Computers can’t smile, but people can! Steven Van Belleghem also endorses this theory and wrote a book about it ‘When digital becomes human’.

Today digital first means customer first. Today we can offer a better service to customers and they also expect that. Customers want Mobile, augmented reality, Artificial intelligence and Internet of Things. Lionel Soccal from Google Belgium proved this in his presentation about digital revolution, its challenges and its impacts, but forgot the human aspect in this whole story. It’s wrong to focus only on that service. Brands need to revalue the human factor. It’s not because we work with people that we fully exploit this, says Steven.

 

Customers can become your best friends
How people are going to engage with each other and with companies, either internally or externally, is not just about predicting what the customer will do, but to listen and respond to what they want. Otherwise you’ll become a reactive business. You need to figure out how to deliver sentiment, what people feel, leverage that and design around that. Predict what customers may want. Try to surprise them. Create serendipity in customer experience! If you can contribute to their lives, not just by selling stuff, they will allow you on their mobile device every second of their lives. Customers will become loyal in the real sense of the word. Customer loyalty is decreasing due to the way companies are treating their clients nowadays. The focus is on sales and new business.

 

But what if your best friend becomes a customer asks Steven Van Belleghem? We would try harder and do whatever we can to please that client. Friendship is about surprising one another, sharing secrets and having fun together. It’s about great memories and doing something for your friends without expecting anything in return.

 

Steven and Ibrahim advice to do both: do business with a heart and less with a brain. By doing that you will have the most loyal customers: they will never forget and will tell the world. Because if you make them happy, they will give you money. Isn’t that the same with you? Think about it and create your ritual today!

 

Riet Delsin
Sr. Account Manager

 

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