CHICAGO — It’s time to disrupt the disrupters. It’s time to take customers seriously. It’s time to offer customers a real, fully developed brand experience.

During a keynote address yesterday at CMSWire's DX Summit here, Jahia CMO Kevin Cochrane told an audience of digital leaders to capitalize on technology to build fuller, more robust relationships with their customers.

The Digital Challenge

Cochrane cautioned that most businesses are still in the early stages of digital transformation — and have long ways to go before they can be considered truly digital.

“I would argue that no one has a real brand experience today that is connected with the digital consumer. It’s time to take that next step and make sure that as we use [available consumer] data, we put people back into the heart of what we do each and every day,” he said.

In those few lines, Cochrane summed up what he sees as the challenges facing C-Suite executives confronted with an increasingly digitized consumer base.

Those challenges include building trust and enhancing customer experience while protecting the privacy of consumer data used for such things as personalization and contextualization.

“What consumers realize now is that they are not in control of their digital life. They realize in this year of cyber-attacks that there is so much data collected by so many people and that they have no idea who has access to it, how long they have access to it, what they are doing with it and why it benefits them.”

Jahia's Solution

Anyone who has been following Jahia over the past year will understand Cochrane’s concerns about data security and privacy.

Jahia has made much in recent months of the steps it takes to ensure the integrity of consumer data.

In April, Jahia announced its intention to contribute a reference implementation for a standard protocol for the exchange of customer data between web servers, to the Apache Foundation as an incubator project.

Jahia’s aim is to advance the development of a system that enables a CMS or a user experience platform to exchange customer data such as purchasing history and preferences in an environment that also gives customers control over what gets shared and what does not.

As Cochrane explained, this drive to protect data is now a core element of Jahia's business strategy.

Learning Opportunities

Understanding Disruption

His comments on digital disruption centered on a process that started in the mid-1990s, notable for milestones such as:

  • 1996: The release of the Apache Web Server and the arrival of the Internet
  • 1997: Consumer email with Hotmail, which Microsoft bought for $400 million
  • 1998: The dawn of e-commerce with
  • 2006: Facebook expanded from college campuses
  • 2007: The first iPhone marked the beginning or the mobile revolution
  • 2008: The financial crisis, which cost US families $11 trillion
  • 2013: Big data and associated analytics for customer insights
  • 2014: The Internet of Things and the release of products like Nest thermostats and smoke detectors

The Customer Mantra

If you look at it globally, the entire history of the online world has been a history of disruption. Digital experience with its associated technologies are the next step in that disruptive process, he explained.

Cochrane cited the mantra of Walt Disney in describing what will be the next steps: “Do what you do so well, that they will want to do it again and bring their friends.”

Digital experience and digital business should be built on that.

“What Walt Disney understood is that magic happens and magic is in the moment. The magic here is in a connected group of people, connecting their hopes, connecting their dreams, treating them as treasured people.[They] are something you evangelize and monetize. They are your wealth, you earn their business every time you connect with them,” he said.

He pointed out that the customer is king, and stressed the need to break down organizational silos. Businesses, he said, need to focus on the lifetime value of their customers and understand how those customers will interact with brands.

“The mantra going forward in 2016 is that we really do need to establish trust, we need to be certain that as consumers go fully digital, as they demand immediacy, as they demand that personal touch, that personal experience, you treat them as real people,” he said. “You earn their trust, because if you do not earn their trust you will have no brand.”

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