How to get your ‘why’ to live in omnichannel

Rasmus Houlind Agillic Ltd. Borsen Marketingkonference 2017 YouTube

This interview with CSO of Agillic, Rasmus Houlind was recorded at Børsen Marketing Conference 2017.

To watch the Danish video interview with Rasmus Houlind, click here.

What was the main takeaway today?

”I’m probably most known for talking about omnichannel, which is viewed by some as a bit of a mechanical discipline where it’s all about using some data. It’s a lot about data and how you use it to create more relevant and attentive customer experiences for the individual customer. And if you judge it a bit critically you could say that it’s very distant from branding and from ‘the why’, but it actually isn’t. Because some of what I attempted to shed a light on today, is how the initial brand encounter, the why, the promise, how that in actuality ends up seeming a bit hollow in today’s world, if you don’t remember to back it up by remembering, acknowledging and showing that you appreciate existing customers and the history you have with them.”


“So in reality, my main message was that you have to combine those two things. I mean, of course you should be attractive and hot and have a beautiful brand and a brand that offers the world the best, but in addition, you must ‘walk the talk’. You also have to deliver the product, and you have to acknowledge and remember the individual customer and person and communicate accordingly. I tried to translate it into people, and I told the attendees a little fairy-tale. And that was to illustrate that if you try to imagine a relationship with an individual who is extremely attractive, beautiful and hot and who has all the best intentions on the surface, but who doesn’t back it up in the long run, then it becomes false and creepy. Then it isn’t someone you wish to have a long relationship with, and the same goes for the opposite. If you meet a person who isn’t necessarily that hot and attractive, but who remembers everything about you and who always has ideas for what you should do and who repeatedly reminds you what you said last time, that becomes super creepy as well. So, in my opinion, a harmonious brand is one that masters both halves. Both having that likeability, sympathetic, attractive and welcoming feeling, backing it up by being able to remember, acknowledge, reward and help your customers”

Why should you support your ‘why’ via omnichannel?

Because it may end up really hollow if you don’t. I think most of us are familiar with headless retargeting where you have been looking at a pair of shoes and perhaps even purchased a pair, and regardless of that, those shoes follow you around on the internet forever. And that’s of course because you aren’t executing that part correctly, you could say. However, very often the brand and the ‘why’ is something that only exists in the moment of acquisition, in the beautiful emotional commercials, and not something that we let live in the following customer dialogue. And the reason you should bring it to life there is, because firstly, that is ‘walking the talk’, that is delivering what you say you will deliver. And secondly, because it’s a great differential factor. In today’s world, there are very few companies that are able to do it – to promise to deliver something great, to keep that promise and to be attentive and relevant afterwards. So if you can combine those two things in the communication with your customers, both during the acquisition, but also in the relationship-building customer development, then you have an incredible competitive advantage.”

Where do you see omnichannel in the future?

“There has been this evolution: Single channel, multichannel, crosschannel, omnichannel. And as a term, it’s really difficult to create something that is more than omni, you could say. On the other hand, I think it will be a truism. That yes, communication messages and the ‘why’ should be coordinated across all channels. So I don’t think it’s something that will go out of fashion, this thing of getting to know the customer, gathering customer data, acting accordingly and giving the customer a coherent experience across channels. That’s not something that will go out of fashion. Whether we will continue to call it omnichannel or not, I am not sure.”


“What might be the future for omnichannel, I believe, will be to tie these emotional and intimate experiences into the more automated dialogue. On the simple reasoning that if you want to be extremely relevant and timely towards more than a million customers at once, then you have to think in terms of automation. Then it’s up to the creativity to identify the data points that tell you where the customer is right here, right now.”


“From there, we apply automation technology in order to compose the suitable creative and beautiful message, but at the right time, just at the time that suits the individual customer. I think that’s something we will see more and more of in the future. So we’re going to see it much more in the physical world too, that we will be recognized in the physical stores. We had the example of Nespresso, who spoke here today, where you are identified by your Nespresso customer card and you’re addressed by your first name and your preferred cup of coffee is set to brew as you enter the store because they know what type of coffee you normally buy. In this regard, I think omnichannel is going to go from being something very mechanical to being more branding, more warm and attentive. In that way, it’s going to become truer omnichannel, in the sense that it’s going to branch out from the more traditional digital channels.”