This guest advertorial from Dassault Systèmes explores the importance of brands socializing with their markets in order to get ahead of the competition, ahead of consumer demand, and to forge new ideas through collaboration. Dassault Systèmes explains just how to do this by leveraging their technology suite.
In the Age of Experience, as consumers, we do not only expect our products to be of good quality, we expect them to stimulate our emotions, make us feel good, and provide us with great experiences. Brands that want to provide consumers with that “wow” moment must find out what makes them tick, learn how they live and play. When brands connect all product stakeholders – including consumers – early in the idea generation stage and engage in a digital dialogue to zero in on the best ideas, they have every chance of creating winning products. Ever more connected and tech-savvy, consumers can influence trends at the click of a ‘like’. To get to know them, brands need to connect with them before, during and after a product is released to market to hear what they have to say. In short, brands must keep those channels of communication open. They need to socialize with their market.
OK, there are some interesting notions here: experience and socialize, which the consumer goods and retail industry is just starting to come to terms with. There is another concept to take into account as well: speed. This is a fast-moving industry. Demand is volatile. Items are released to market at record speed because consumer tastes evolve rapidly. The competition, too, is moving at high speed. Keeping up is good, but leading is better.
All this means that the consumer goods and retail industries need to embrace the notion of social ideation, or the process of forging new ideas by collaboratively exchanging with one another socially using a web-based platform. With social ideation many ideas that normally do not stand out find their rightful place in the creative process. But to do this, companies first need to undergo a digital transformation. They need to collect the wealth of consumer data out there, and make sense of patterns and relationships in order to make the right decisions about where their products should be headed. The key is having the right tools to access and analyze this information. Otherwise there is cacophony and dispersion with the risk of wasting time sorting through, and misinterpreting, reams of data that can only lead to products nobody wants.
Companies, however, need to go one step further; they need to eliminate the silos that are so often erected between R&D, designers, manufacturers, marketers, and consumers. Even though everyone does their job, combing through their own data, these different disciplines basically work separately. They use disparate solutions, which prevents all data from being compiled and consolidated. As a result, valuable information does not get to all those involved in the creative process because they are not all using the same data source. Consequently, their actions lack unity, force, and relevance. As the French say, “L’union fait la force,” translating to “strength through unity”. The creative process is resolutely a collective effort. Brands that engage in open innovation to empower and involve diverse talents from both within their organization and throughout their extended ecosystem, based on a unified platform, undoubtedly create products people want.
Digitization is, therefore, a key enabler of the creative process. Technologies such as 3D design, PLM, 3D visual merchandising, and analytics are increasingly resonating with brands, and easier to use because they are more intuitive and communicative. Leading companies that digitally transform their operations and use technology to leverage consumer insights earlier in the creative process, by forming a social ecosystem where there is constant exchange between brand and consumer, provide the most pertinent, consumer-focused products. They, hence, need to:
- Create a virtual space where stakeholders can form a community to exchange pictures, ideas, and inspiration using both structured and unstructured data;
- Capture the voice of the consumer and consolidate information from multiple sources (news feeds, blogs, websites) into logical and intelligent dashboards to detect new trends;
- Share ideas with merchandising, product development, purchasing, sales, marketing and even consumers. This way, everyone has a clear and joint vision for the product line. Everyone can “like” good ideas and voice their opinions;
- Make sure the information transits in a secure manner so that IP is protected and good ideas do not fall into the hands of the competition. This requires marrying the freeform nature of social networking with the structured nature of a PLM system with automatic role-based workflow management to ensure teams focus on ideas that have a genuine chance of becoming an asset to the brand.
Game-changing solutions from Dassault Systèmes
Consumer goods and retail industry solution experiences based on Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE® platform provide an open innovation management solution that accelerates design workflows by providing a collaborative platform to connect product stakeholders with consumers, thereby facilitating inspiration and encouraging social ideation.
New ears to hear your market, new ways to engage your ecosystem
In a fast-moving market in which consumer preferences are constantly evolving, real-time understanding of consumer sentiment is crucial. Based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, social market intelligence applications integrate intuitive and easy to use capabilities for social media listening and social collaboration on one platform. Brands rapidly create more-appealing, new products by sampling, quantifying and curating both structured and unstructured consumer sentiment into “voice of the customer” dashboards aimed at global design and development teams. Collaboration on trends and design options are social, simple, and fast – giving teams time back to focus on inspiration and innovation.
Improve efficiency and accelerate decision-making
Accelerating innovation requires optimal communication on both product and project characteristics. Commercializing winning fashion and consumer products against retail calendars means orchestrating global design and development with the sourcing and supply chain. It means translating the open and potentially unstructured innovation flow into actionable requirements. Social project and requirements applications synchronize and help automate the development process. The voice of the consumer and design intent are transformed into formal requirements that define new products.
Design for the first moment of truth
With consumer goods and retail applications from Dassault Systèmes, brands and retailers can bring the consumer directly into the validation process with social ‘test marketing’ at any time during the ideation and development process using 3D models or other images. Online visual collaboration can replace old-style focus groups with real-time feedback to increase affinity, demand, and ultimately product revenue.
Software-as-a-service lowers total cost of ownership and accelerates deployment
The 3DEXPERIENCE platform provides an intuitive, compass-like interface for easy-to-use navigation, search, and collaboration. Cloud-based solution deployment reduces the total cost of ownership by minimizing human and IT resource investments. Users can be up and running in minutes after license acquisition.
Social Ideation Process
Here is what a typical social ideation process can be using consumer goods and retail applications by Dassault Systèmes:
Teams can begin by monitoring and analyzing big data on the Internet and create intelligent dashboards to monitor market trends, emerging technologies and consumer expectations. Analytics for the competitive landscape like brand reputation and competitive activity are some examples. Information can be quickly shared by creating automatic newsletters and alerts or blogposts for further discussion, polling and collaboration.
Next, teams can formalize a project in a dashboard, schedule and assign paths and make metrics available so that stakeholders can make informed decisions.
Once the project is official, they can start gathering ideas for the new product for further investigation, which can then be sorted, discussed and evaluated online to determine a short list of preferred product candidates. From the best ideas, initial product requirements can be drawn up.
Once they are validated they are capitalized, ensuring full traceability throughout the product lifecycle. The product then advances to the sketching phase and choice of materials to explore design alternatives that are represented as photo-realistic rendered images.
When it is time for concept validation, teams use a simple collaboration environment to connect engineering, marketing and sales teams with external suppliers, design agencies and focus groups allowing them to iterate on the proposal that will then proceed to the detail engineering phase, all on the same platform.
In summary, through social ideation, brands can increase innovation potential and deliver a more enriching product experience for consumers.
Social ideation in action
An example of a company that has successfully leveraged social ideation is Topshop. During London’s Fashion Week in 2015, the retailer analyzed real time data on Twitter. Using hashtags on a billboard, Topshop connected with consumers to identify dominant trends as they occurred. As a result, Topshop knew exactly which products consumers wanted to buy.
Another example is Macy’s department store. With personalization becoming increasingly important to consumers, retailers are focusing more on how to cater to individual preferences. Macy’s uses customer data to personalize the consumer buying experience. They gather data ranging from sales, to understand frequency and style choices, and offer incentives at the point of sale with loyalty rewards and promotions. The data is also used to directly target customers in emailing campaigns to boost conversions.
Consumer goods and retail leaders are increasingly leveraging technology and engaging in social ideation to gain insights into market preferences by connecting and dialoging with their ecosystems, including potential consumers. Only then will new products generate that “wow” moment that rewards brands with business success.
Want to learn more? Visit Dassault Systèmes website.