Mike Friedin, Chief Digital Officer at Peppercomm, talks strategy, digital innovation and ‘liquid expectation’

21st September 2017 by Tom Jenkin

Digital is at the heart of everything people do. In an age of complete connectivity, how can companies beat the competition to stand out and attract their target audiences? Mike Freidin was a digital transformation consultant with Accenture. Now at Peppercomm, Mike ensures our clients have digital at the heart of their strategy and are using new technological innovations to the best of their capabilities.

 

Give us a bit of background and tell us how and why you ended up with Peppercomm?

I started out at a large global network. I’ve always been more entrepreneurial though and I started my own business which was an integrated marketing communications firm. Since then I’ve been focused on the landscape around digital enablement.

I worked with a lot of start-ups and as I was doing that it became evident to me that there was an opportunity to take the skill that I have and apply it in a different way. I took a role at Accenture as a senior executive in the digital transformation unit.

I always loved the agency services model and I love the creativity that’s driven through them. I’d done some consulting for Peppercomm and I knew Ed pretty well so he asked me to come in and take a look at the business. They started to implement my changes and I eventually joined them to help move them along. And now it’s been just under two years since I joined.

My job is to ensure strategy and digital are at the heart of everything we do, and to help deliver against that strategy to support the foundations of the business to become effective partners to our clients.

 

How easy do you find it to convince clients that digital strategy needs to be at the forefront of their mind-set?

By and large every business is crying out for better digital capabilities. How people use technology in their day to day lives, whether it’s a phone or a tablet or a laptop or desktop, everything that they’re doing, has a connection – and every business has to set themselves up to perform in that way.

In many cases, people aren’t aware of the capabilities that exist within their business. Sometimes you come into businesses that are completely naïve and have no understanding of how to better utilise technology to better suit their needs. Usually they’re either trying to solve top line growth or bottom line efficiency.

 

So explain the concept of liquid expectation and why it’s so important for clients to think about.

It exists around customer experience. There’s a fluid component in how a business presents itself to a consumer and how to manage their expectations. This changes so rapidly.

There are three layers to this. Competitive layers would be your inner category: who businesses directly compare themselves to.

Then the layer above that is experiential category. The day to day experiences a consumer has with other brands raise their expectations. For instance Apple, PayPal, Google, all have a lot of connectivity to consumers and this heightens the expectations that you as a business have to meet.

Then there’s the third layer which is perceptual experience. Those are game changers and paradigm shifters, like Uber, Air BnB, Netflix, Amazon – who have really created a different way for people to live their lives.

Where liquid expectation sits is in between experiential competition and perceptual competition. That space is what customers want and where you deliver to meet their demand, and that’s where an individual business has to create its customer experience.

There’s so much businesses have to do today but also so much they can utilise to meet these expectations. At Peppercomm what we’re working on is how to become better partners to the clients that we have and prospects that come to work with us to help them along that journey.

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