SAS exec recommends brands ask themselves one question to guide their CX strategy

The analytics company offers examples from the world of sports and retail at the AMA's Experience Design virtual conference

Wilson Raj can’t help it: no matter what he cooks — and he’s been cooking a lot while working at home lately — he says it always winds up tasting like curry.

The global director of customer intelligence at analytics software vendor SAS joked that the flavour of his cuisine may come as little surprise given his ethnic background. In a presentation with the American Marketing Association’s Experience Design virtual conference on Wednesday, he talked about an unusual way to play with those flavours.

SAS Wilson RajRaj has become a fan of FlavorPrint, a tool that combines predictive analysis based on data from spice company McCormick’s and which became the basis for a spin-off called Vivanda. 

After answering a few questions, Raj said the tool “gives me a flavour profile — sort of like a flavour fingerprint,” he said. “Based on that data, I’m now getting content around cooking tips (and) different ingredients at opportune moments.”

This is more complex than it may sound, he added — the tool can analyze 16,000 aromatic chemicals or more and organize dozens of flavour profiles.

Raj said this was a customer experience (CX) that might never have been considered in the early days of a brand like McCormick. Today, however, competitive pressures — and the impact of issues like COVID-19 — require all brands to look for similar opportunities to innovate.

“There’s a move towards reconstructing customer experiences that don’t sell overtly but solve problems,” he said.

Some of these — like Miller Light’s “digital tip jar” for out-of-work bartenders, are based on technology, but others simply capture the emotion of an experience, like the Taco Bell ads based on user-generated content of customers ordering from its drive-thru window.

“You don’t think of it as customer experience design necessarily, but this is the new reality,” he said.

Raj’s session, which is called ‘CX Strategies that will endure’ is available on demand via the AMA event site, but if you’d don’t have time to watch it subscribe or log in and learn:

  • The key question that he says should drive all experience design strategies
  • How to map technologies like AI to key moments in the CX journey
  • What he learned about CX by watching the film Any Given Sunday

Two ways to think about attention

Raj admitted that the agenda facing CX leaders at the moment is daunting. For example, he said brands must

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