How Brands Can Create Step-Change CX Results: A Conversation with Martin Lindstrom


Find your purpose—and live it. For any organization today, everything has to surround a purpose.

Martin-Lindstrom-On-Stage 2At our Bond.Forums, business transformation expert Martin Lindstrom stressed the importance of purpose and having a different perspective.

The past 2 years have radically reshaped life and business forever. While this unprecedented time has brought its share of challenges, business leaders and marketers also recognize that this is an optimum opportunity to rethink how they operate and how they serve their customers and employees—and that work begins with purpose.

This was the jumping off point for our Bond.Forums event featuring business transformation expert Martin Lindstrom. The Danish thought leader is ranked among the world’s top 20 business thinkers and is the author of several best-selling books, including his most recent book, The Ministry of Common Sense. At our live event, hosted by Bond’s Morana Bakula, EVP, Experience & Design Management, Lindstrom spoke passionately about the topic: “Looking for Step-Change CX Results? Tear Down the Walls, Break Down the Silos.”

Here are some highlights from Lindstrom’s engaging and inspiring talk:

Think H2H, not B2B or B2C: In a now-famous speech from 1997, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said: “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology. You can’t start with the technology and try to figure out where you’re going to try to sell it.”

While that still rings true today, Lindstrom said what has changed profoundly is the blurring boundaries between our work and our private lives. “That means if you have an amazing experience as a private consumer, you’re actually much more likely to deduce that in a work context,” said Lindstrom.

For example, people love the simplicity of Amazon and are now using it at work: the e-commerce giant has a massive B2B arm. “In the good old days, we had terms like B2B and B2C, but I would claim that those terms actually have become the same thing,” said Lindstrom. “In fact, I would replace that with a term called H2H: human to human.”

different perpective

See things from a different perspective: How do brands become more H2H? Lindstrom said the key is to look at the world from a different perspective. “Increasingly, we are seeing the world from one point of view,” he said. “We look at data, spreadsheets and algorithms, but what we don’t look at is everything written between the lines. The way you do that is very simple. As I tend to say, if you want to study animals, don’t go to the zoo; go to the Amazon. We need to spend time with customers in their real environment and not sell to them but actually feel what they’re feeling.”

It’s critical to not only see the world from your customer’s perspective but to also have empathy. Lindstrom shared the example of a pharmaceutical company he worked with that hadn’t spent any time listening to the people who used their products. A young woman with asthma shared with Lindstrom how she’d get people she met to breathe through a straw so they could understand what she’s going through. Lindstrom then tried the exercise with the senior management team. “It was almost like a Eureka moment at this pharma company,” he recalled. “They suddenly felt what the patient was feeling.”

Find your purpose—and live it. For any organization today, everything has to surround a purpose. “We cannot attract and retain staff if there is no purpose because why should you care? We’re just sitting in front of a screen!” Lindstrom enthused. “I can just click on another link and then I have another job. So, we need to have a bigger purpose driving us.”

The issue is many organizations are tackling the employee and customer experience through disconnected, siloed approaches. To illustrate this point, Lindstrom shared a story from many years ago when he spoke to the son of the founder of LEGO, Godtfred Christiansen. “Back in the day, he would call people randomly at any time of the day and ask them ‘what is the purpose of LEGO?’ And people were able to answer it because it was woven into the DNA and the fabric of the organization.”

Today, Lindstrom said a lot of people think of purpose as a clichéd slogan hanging on the wall. “But how many people truly live it and why is it so important? Because if you as an organization start to live it, then suddenly it shows through every touch point.” For example, an airline might have amazing seats but if the service is horrible, that’s what people will remember. “You have to be extremely unique in your purpose... and you really have to live it,” said Lindstrom. “And if you can’t live it, just don’t it. It’s a waste of time.”

At the same time organizations need a bigger purpose, the role of the Chief Marketing Officer is changing. “In the future, we will have communication, marketing, culture and sustainability coming together and defining a new role in organizations,” said Lindstrom. “This is really the future of the Chief Marketing Officer.”