Boost business results with creative thinking

CX Network catches up with Kevin Palmer, creative director at Oracle, who offers advice and examples on how creative thinking can transform a brand’s customer experience strategy

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Adam Jeffs

Creative thinking in customer experience

It is estimated by digital marketing experts that, on average, American adults are exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 adverts every single day. With so much ‘noise’ to compete with in the world of digital marketing it is important that brands consider ways to ensure that strategies will help them to stand out from the crowd.

Many brands look to customer experience to differentiate from their competitors. ‘Creative thinking’ is picking up some traction in the CX world as a potential solution to innovating intelligently.

What is creative thinking?

“Creative thinking is all about looking at things differently and finding ways to solve problems”, explains Kevin Palmer, creative director at enterprise cloud software provider, Oracle.

Utilizing skills such as copywriting, graphic design and UI/UX design, creative thinking plays an important part in both the process (including how a brief is interpreted) and also the end result or execution (brand look and feel, tone of voice etc).

Design thinking, while similar, does have some significant differences to creative thinking. In Palmer’s opinion design thinking generally follows a defined, five-phase process that is essentially a roadmap for designing experiences. However, creative thinking simply represents a mindset that challenges the status quo and requires approaching the design process in experimental and creative ways and the design thinking methodology can be used as a tool to facilitate this approach.

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Customer experience benefits 

Palmer maintains there are a range of ways creative thinking can enrich customer experience strategies. Some of the key benefits of creative thinking include:

  • Greater customer engagement: The more you understand the client or customer and the more you are in tune with them the greater the experience will be
  • Variety and interest for the customer: With customers today being bombarded by so many communications from brands, adding something that is exciting or different can really make a difference
  • Enhanced messaging that adds value and meaning: Building creativity into a CX campaign can dramatically improve the power of messaging, and can help to engage an audience on many levels, such as humour, emotion and style
  • Strong brand consistency and loyalty: Reviewing company brand guidelines at the early stage of creative thinking can provide some fantastic content ideas and core values – all essential when creating new campaigns
  • Clarity of information that is easy to understand and digest: In typical CX campaigns, take a good look at the content and ask some key questions – Does it capture my attention? Is it clear or confusing? Is there too much? Keep it simple, less is often more

Creative thinking in action

Oracle used creative thinking approaches to assist Reiss, the multi-million pound British fashion brand, with creating a more sophisticated email campaign to deliver an optimal customer experience straight into the hands of customers. This was particularly challenging as Reiss sent out over five million emails per month.

Through Oracle CX Creative Studio, Reiss was able to implement a responsive, mobile-first email template to boost engagement, with a focus on usability and consistent brand identity, this included an engaging first-screen with a clear message and call to action. As a result, Reiss experienced an increase of 116 per cent in global mobile revenue, with conversion rate increasing by 41 per cent.

The benefits of creative thinking are clear in this instance, however, the methodology is not without its challenges and pitfalls.

Productive creative thinking

Palmer provides several tips to help CX practitioners ensure creative thinking is productive and avoids pitfalls:

  • Know your audience from the outset and have a clear understanding of the customer base
  • Carry out user testing, especially for more radical ideas
  • Always consider the brand and guidelines – don’t go so far off brand that you risk damaging brand value and reputation.
  • Be open minded in the process and don’t dismiss ideas too quickly
  • Have fun in the process, if it becomes tedious and dull then something’s wrong!

“Being open-minded is the key thing”, concludes Palmer. “Don’t shut down creativity, because whatever you are trying to create will just end up the same as everything else.”