The Rise and Rise of the Augmented Signature Experience

By Francesco Pagano, Senior Partner, Jakala

Welcome to the mid-1950s. Songs like ‘Hoochie Coochie Man’ and ‘Mannish Boy’ are the birth certificate of rock & roll, according to all experts. It’s a mix, never heard before, of the first electronic sounds with suburban slang. It is the genius of Leonard Cohen and Chess Record that bring together young composers, musicians, and singers, like the great Muddy Waters, to create a new genre, with its own code, language, and sound, all of that amplified by the advent of electronic instruments, which accelerate the ‘blues’ and celebrate the culture of people at the margin of postwar American society, namely blacks and minorities. The guitar chords of Muddy Waters will become iconic. His language will become true heritage of all humanity: words like mojo, rolling stone, and even the word ‘rock & roll’ itself.

What is the relevance of doing the exercise of a proprietary codification of a new music style? Or, in a less academic language, why should do we care, as business leaders?

It does matter, a lot. This new music style and philosophy, imbued with technology, and brought to market in an entirely new way, from the suburbs to the center, changes our society, reveals a new way of having fun and interacting with others, and culturally and sexually debunks and emancipates the entire American public. We would not be here today talking so casually about everything and anything, without rock and roll. There wouldn’t have been the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, the costumes’ revolution of the 1970s, a more open dialogue about AIDS and diversity in the 1990s and the decades to follow, without rock & roll, and without this initial signature experience, which dates back to the 1950s, and which makes music itself sound so new, infectious, irresistible, sexy, powerful.

This is for you, people who run and manage world-class brands. What is your signature experience? Are you ready to change your market, and then your industry, and finally the whole society? We are at the heart of the branding work. We are au fond de la marque, as the French say. This is the only thing we must do in life, as brand lovers.

The output of everything that we do, as companies and as brands, depends exactly on the design of the experience itself, especially when it is predominantly digital. Again, what consumers return to us is largely determined by how we design a signature customer experience.

There is a model that can help us. All models are false, as the wise statistician George Box said, because they don’t capture the complexity of reality, but some are useful. Six years of research from Bocconi University and Jakala gave us a new model, where technology allows all marketers out there to make any customer journey smooth, seamless and ‘augmented’, which means three things: simplified, inspiring, and delightful. Technology allows any brand to understand their fans better, as data collection becomes easier and easier, and to serve them with an excellent service, which is ultra-personalized, thanks to data crunching and the ability to craft ad hoc propositions, immediately and anywhere. Welcome to an augmented world, where technology plays the role of the simplifier and amplifier.

The key question remains always the same: once you have all the tools in the world, dear brand manager, what’s your signature message to the world? Do you have something to say?

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