3 -min. read

With a background in both consumer psychology and business innovation, Dan Clay is uniquely placed to understand what brands and their customers need. A driving force at creative consultancy Lippincott, this philosopher-turned-business consultant advises the world’s biggest companies on how the world is changing, creating new platforms to help them connect emotionally with consumers and continually reimagining a world where customer experience is king.

Ministry of Ideas meets Dan Clay

What big shift do you anticipate to have an impact on brands in 2018 and beyond?

TL; DR: How can brands reassure customers that their data is safe? By forming emotional connections.

It’s a pivotal moment for transparent existence. So much of the potential in these shifts rests on knowing customers really well and applying their data in intelligent ways, but recently we’ve seen very public privacy breaches that are causing customers to retreat and grab their data back. Will the customer of the future take control of and safeguard her personal data, or will she continue to trade it with companies in exchange for value, convenience and customisation?

Today’s leading brands are performing very well on functional excellence – they use tech to make our lives faster and connect us with people – but they haven’t focused as much on developing the emotional connections and trust to reassure the customer of the future that her data is safe. It will be very important for companies to watch this closely and work to build that trust – it’s an opportunity for them to put a stake in the ground.

Brand vs. AI – via Lippincott

How do you expect this to filter into the contemporary travel industry, and how do you think it can prepare for this change?

TL; DR: Travel brands need to build a relationship with AI for it to work effectively for them.

We’re seeing the rise of travel intermediaries fuelled by AI (Alexa and Google Trips, for example) that make purchasing decisions on behalf of customers. It will be very important for brands within that decision set firstly to form a relationship with the decision-maker – the machine – so that they don’t get lost in an algorithm of prices and benefits; and secondly, actively create an essential tribe with its customer, forging emotional connections so that she insists on her favourite brands (e.g. “I want to go to Miami, and make sure I’m staying at a W”, or “Book a Delta flight to San Francisco”).

W Miami – via W Miami Hotel

What does ‘innovation’ mean to you?

Innovation means intelligently applying deep customer insight to solve problems in people’s lives.


Henry Wickham
In addition to his day job as a Content Executive for This is Beyond Ltd, Henry spends his time between gigs, music festivals and chronicling the adventures of his endearingly unprofessional cricket team, the Hendrick’s XI.

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