Mon. Aug 10th, 2020

Dumbflashgames

The travel folks

The Update: How to approach mobile experiences

7 min read

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Figuring out where to meet that user need,

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when they need it, is really important.

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And I think as technology evolves,

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it really will start to fade in the background.

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People won’t think about channels, or touch points,

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or which app or which technology we use.

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They’re just going to want to do what they want to do

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In this episode of The Update,

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we hear from Marvin Chow,

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VP of Consumer Apps Marketing at Google,

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about how brands can put their customers first

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and deliver great mobile experiences.

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What does it mean to deliver a great user experience at Google?

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Google was founded as a user-first company.

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I mean, you think about our first product was Search.

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Back in a time where portals dominated the landscape,

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what did Google come with?

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A simple white page, with a box in the middle.

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You just type whatever you want in it,

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whether you want to buy a fridge,

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whether you want to book a plane trip.

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Or you just want to know what the weather was.

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Any way you typed it,

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we strove to bring you the answer that you needed.

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And I think that’s what it really means to deliver that human,

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user-first experience.

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It’s fast, it’s simple, and it’s relevant to what you did.

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it’s become a part of our DNA

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across all our products—whether it’s

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Gmail, Maps, Photos or the Google Assistant,

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and all of it really comes back to those origins of Search

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and that mission to organize the world’s information

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and make it universally accessible and useful for everyone.

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How should marketers think about

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what it means to deliver a really great mobile experience, specifically?

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I mean the impact that mobile has had on culture, society and brands has been tremendous.

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But at the same time

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brands have to be careful in terms of how they’re

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working with the mobile ecosystem,

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because just like the last 10 years, it’s evolving tremendously.

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And brands have to be thinking

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user-first, not channel-first.

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You definitely need a mobile strategy.

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But if you start to think about

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all the places that you can be connecting

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through digital technologies,

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you have to be thinking about all of those channels.

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the mobile web, whether it’s apps, whether it’s third-party partners,

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whether it’s augmented reality apps that are identifying what people see,

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or digital voice assistants,

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the ability for us to not focus on mobile,

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but expand out from there

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to connect with consumers

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with really relevant and helpful experiences

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is the biggest opportunity we have.

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So it makes sense that this is a huge opportunity for brands.

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But what about consumers?

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How do they think about it?

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Consumers don’t think in “touch points.”

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They think in value, they think in outcomes,

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“Why, I need to book a trip, I need to

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fill a prescription for something

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or order some new lipstick.”

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And they think about,

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“I need to do that now.”

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And if I’m on the go, that’s going to happen on a mobile phone,

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or if I’m at work it may happen,

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you know at my desktop computer,

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or if I’m the new forms

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that are coming in my kitchen,

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it may happen through a voice digital assistant.

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taking a picture of something you want

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and using computer vision

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to kind of identify that product, and buy it right there.

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So everything you’re describing that’s a really frictionless experience.

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I think for a lot of brands,

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most of the friction—a lot of friction happens within their own organization.

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Can you talk about that challenge a little bit?

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Nobody wants to deliver

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a bad user experience.

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Nobody wants to disappoint a user,

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but so often, you know,

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it’s so clear—we end up with like

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homepage carousels with just like an org chart of things that are going by

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which everyone gets a say in.

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Which is really not best in class.

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And I think all of us

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need to strive to “How do we get to internal alignment?

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How do we get to a point where we are all speaking from the same page?”

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And in terms of delivering what the user needs

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and how it makes sense for a user.

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What are some of the specific hurdles

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that you see really standing in the way

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of getting rid of all that friction?

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senior C-level buy in—whoever you want to call it.

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But at the highest levels of the company,

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deciding what is the thing that we want to do?

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What is the objective?

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How do we want to approach it?

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That’s really important at the highest levels

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because they set the tone for the company.

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The next piece is really about siloed teams,

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you know, every company has

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whether their functions whether their business units,

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they have multiple people

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with multiple agendas.

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And how those teams communicate with each other,

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how they use different data to make decisions,

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that kind of needs to be harmonized in some way

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so all those teams are not just working together,

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but partnering to reach that same goal or same outcome together.

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Which leads to kind of the third point, which is inconsistent KPIs.

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If you have one group that has one goal,

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and another group that has another goal,

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and they’re at odds with each other the odds of delivering

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the best user experience

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is really really hard. So,

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sub-goals are really important.

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Formalizing those north star KPIs of “Where do we ultimately want to go?

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What do we ultimately as a company

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want to deliver to a user?”

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I think is really really important.

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Do you have any examples of some of those organizational challenges that you’ve navigated

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we can deliver a really great user experience?

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I think a couple that come to mind in terms of

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that went well—I think most recently

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Google Maps, which is really one of the most beloved products that we make,

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celebrated its 15-year anniversary.

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So this February with the 15 year anniversary, we made one of the biggest changes

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to Maps that we’ve made in a number of years—and that is really

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thinking about Maps as more than just navigation,

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but really thinking about it

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in something that we call discovery.

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restaurants or things to do

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once they get to a location,

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and once they’re in a neighborhood.

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And users have kept telling us that they want this

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—they want to know “What do I do when I get there?”

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Bringing those insights together, understanding

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how to build that new product,

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what the right UX would be,

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what the right narrative would be, involved a ton of people over a number of years

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to kind of make it come together in a moment

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where we were really taking a step forward

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that was really not incremental—but was really kind of revolutionary

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for how we want people to start

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thinking about navigating the world around them.

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Tell me a little bit about the role that marketing plays there

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when it comes to creating that great user experience?

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Our job is to champion the consumer,

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you know, whatever their needs are, whatever their insights are.

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Our job is to bring that,

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share it with other people so that they can do their job better.

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At Google, product marketing is this function that sits kind of in the middle.

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They help translate user insights and narratives, but they really translate the technology

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and the engineering side of the business to how does it come to market

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in terms of narrative and storytelling.

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And their job is to really make

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products and stories relevant to consumers

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based on the strategic objectives that we have.

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So what do you think marketers can do

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to help develop a culture that’s really centered

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and focused on creating better user experiences?

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We test everything, you know, it’s almost

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nauseating how much we test.

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I think for Search last year,

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we ran over 460,000 experiments

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for Search which created about 3,600 improvements.

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Which is great if you’re a user,

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because you want those 3,600 improvements.

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of test and iterate we think is really important.

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Having a culture where

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you can bring data to table and it doesn’t necessarily

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drive the exact decision,

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but it creates a shared data point

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for people to make decisions.

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And I think that’s a really important thing

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Having that data creates a common language

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around “OK, comparing X over Y, or

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What role do you think COVID-19 plays,

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just in regards to consumer expectations

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and the role of marketing?

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More than ever it’s really important that we understand

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what a consumer’s expectations are,

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and kind of take our hat off in terms of what’s important

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for our company, our strategy

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and really focus on the user.

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When we look back at this time,

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I think the brands that fare well

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coming out of the pandemic

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will have really done three things:

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they’ll be human, they’ll be resourceful

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and they’ll be in it for the long run.

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Now what does that mean?

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Being human is about understanding

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the people and what they’re going through,

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and how you can uniquely help them.

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Being resourceful—that’s about understanding

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how things are changing in human behavior,

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but also how technology is changing

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to meet the needs of those people.

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And what does that mean for your brand

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and how you shape your user experience moving forward?

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And the last thing is about

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being in it for the long run.

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This pandemic is far from over,

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and I think to be successful,

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you have to think of what do you uniquely

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Because that’s where people are really going to value you.

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So it’s not going to be easy.

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But I think if we step up to the challenge,

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I think that there’s a lot of value

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marketers can be adding to how brands and companies think about their strategy,

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and how they’re going to approach things over the next 6, 12 and 18 months.

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