deconstructing brands

What We Learned after Deconstructing Three Industry Leading Brands

It’s been almost a month since we started our Customer Engagement Deconstruction Series (Telling better digital stories). So far we have covered three industry leading giants, Spotify, Harvard Business Review and Etsy. During the deconstruction we learned a lot about how one can induce stellar customer experience in their brand to grow. All of these brands showed us that to run a successful and popular brand, customer first approach is mandatory.

So here’s our takeaway from the all the three stories. 

Spotify and Etsy have incorporated AI and Machine Learning into their product, HBR not so much

  • Spotify heavily depends on their AI and machine learning prowess to harness growth and customer retention. Since the launch of Apple Music in late 2015, the music streaming industry has become highly competitive. Since then, Spotify paid a lot of attention at their user behavior as well as what feedback users had for them. By using AI and machine learning to gathered data and continuous data analysis. Based on their learning from the data analysis they made continuous changes to their desktop and mobile apps throughout the last 2 years. Over the last year, I personally saw Spotify making huge design and algorithmic changes to their product which resulted in a smoother and seamless customer experience. One of the leading outcome was its machine learning tech becoming pretty accurate when it came to monitoring user listening preference and recommending new songs, artist and genres to a user.
  • Etsy too, takes AI and machine learning seriously when it comes to user experience and pushing the conversion cycle. As soon as you sign up with Etsy, the very first window is a recommendation section based on your browsing habits. Even their email newsletter and push notifications are personalized based on products that you have bought through Etsy or products that you have favored. All these implementations meant that user would always find products that catches their attention, which leads to an improve to their conversion rates. 
  • HBR was the only brand that did not adopt AI and ML into their product. They are still targeting users by implement manual rules and customer journey flows. They personalize content for a user by implementing an extensive sign up process (which infact is pretty intuitive, kudos). You are greeted with a selection form, where you can pick your poison, what topics you like. The form will than generate an email campaign where HBR fetches you the top articles based on what you selected while signing up with them. The email in general are well laid out and puts across genuine content. But with a reader base of over 500,000 online subscriber, HBR could do a lot more if AI and ML is incorporated into their product.

Omnichannel marketing is the next big thing

Of the 3 brands, Spotify and Etsy takes omnichannel approach very seriously.  Harvard Business Review has a different business model and concentrates majorly on a single channel model, that is email marketing and email based user-communication.

Spotify and Etsy smartly communicates with their customers based on their most active devices. You’d receive communication based on which devices you use the most. If you tend to react to push notifications rather than emails, then both these brands would actively reach out to you via push. And the same goes for emails or in-app notifications. Spotify’s new artist release alerts and Etsy’s cart abandonment alerts are one of the finest examples here.

Harvard Business Review’s goal on the other hand makes it a little different from the other two. Their end goal is to convert a prospect into their offline magazine subscriber with unlimited access online content. Therefore they concentrate heavily on email marketing to get the job done. They are yet to release a perfect app for their publication, which is a little worrying. Why you ask? It’s because HBR’s offering is very unique and they are known as a thought-provoking media outlet in the business world. An omnichannel approach would highly court the ball in their favor if adopted. This means that to deploy an omnichannel approach, Harvard business review has to distribute their offerings on all kinds of media consumption devices. A lot of work would go into such an approach, but we have strong feeling that this will massively benefit the media giant.


So that’s about it for now, but by no means are we done with series. So hold tight to your seats cause in the coming weeks you’ll be seeing more brands’ customer engagement models being deconstructed. Join the discussion with us on Twitter, using the tag #BTDeconstruction.

Until next time  smiling face with open mouth 


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