Edenspiekermann’s 3 Insights From The Next Web

Edenspiekermann Driving brand affinity with tech

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From using AI to improve business operations to using IoT to speed up processes, advanced technologies are now actively being applied by a wide range of brands and businesses to innovate organizations. New approaches, techniques, and solutions have been developed in the last couple of years, to make companies more productive and efficient. But when used to improve human contact, it has the potential to open up a lot more opportunity.

The following 3 insights that we’ve gained based on our learnings from this year’s edition of The Next Web Conference, can help you drive brand affinity with the use of technology.

1. Technology to elevate human interaction

What it is about:
As part of Nike’s strategy to get ahead of competition, they have unveiled a new retail concept, ‘House of Innovation’. With stores in Shanghai, New York, and soon-to-be Paris, Nike are trying to implement a more customer-centric approach to the way they do retail. An example of this is at the flagship store in New York, HOI 000, whereby they offer their customers a personalized, participatory experience that does not just revolve around the idea of buying what Nike has to offer.

What we can learn from it:
Instead of using technology to eliminate human interaction (which is called automation), use technology to reconnect with your audience on a deeper and personal level. By appealing more to the humans that we are, you can start building and inspiring communities around the world to redefine the limits of what we can achieve. This way you can build a more sustainable relationship with your customer.

2. Technology to assist and not tell us how we should behave

What it is about:
When it comes to technology in today’s society, we seem to be at a crossroads, with advancements in fields like artificial intelligence creating capabilities that their creators themselves are not fully aware of. This puts us as a society in a dangerous position whereby technology has the potential to shape our lives. This is where James Bridle, author of ‘New Dark Age’, steps in, he states that the only realistic long-term strategy is to work mutually with technology as opposed to against each other. This could entail using technology to support education as well as be used as a tool for understanding and questioning. An important factor that James mentions is, for humans to be elevated by technology and not disempowered, it is crucial to offer a system where we are taught how to use these technological advancements to our advantage, which will allow us to move into a prosperous future hand-in-hand with technology.

What you can learn from it:
Instead of relying on technology, you first need to understand what you are getting into. Only then can you orient your organization’s thinking and practices towards exploiting these technological capabilities. Technology is a business today, but you can’t “just” buy it. You need to change your mindset, acquire the right technical and creative skills, empower your teams to execute, use data, and implement advanced technology solutions “bottom-up”, with speed, efficiency, and joy.

3. Technology to reactivate UX through all senses

What it is about:
We are constantly trying to enhance the user experience by incorporating all sorts of new technology. But at Red Bull Media House, they believe that there are dangers when attempting to visualize too much data on-screen. Instead of trying to endlessly visualize everything, we should bring back audio and reactivate it in the user experience. At their innovation lab, team members fitted multiple sensors, cameras, and microphones to the rider to create a more wholesome and authentic experience whereby the audience can feel immersed into the moment.

What you can learn from it:
A key takeaway from this talk was that ‘the ability to do more visualizations doesn’t always mean that giving the viewer more visual information is the right thing to do.’ So, instead of only focusing on visualizations, you should also consider all the other senses that can enhance the complete user experience in a post-screen world, for instance audio, voice etc.

To conclude, technology is only as good as the way we use it. Don’t start with the technology in front of you, but start with the problem you want to solve for your users and take technology in the equation. Also don’t end with technology in an innovation process either. It should go hand in hand. Get an understanding of the potential technology and use technology to elevate human interaction and reactivate the user experience.