Cognitive consumer products: “Cool” won’t cut it

Posted by Ben Stiller on November 04, 2016

Many consumer products (CP) companies are looking to cognitive technologies—from natural language processing to robotics to machine learning—as a way to engage and capture today’s value-conscious, tech-savvy consumers. However, those who simply embed cognitive technologies in their products, hoping that the “cool” factor will win consumers over, are likely to be disappointed. Many consumers are indifferent—even skeptical—when a traditionally low-tech company touts high-tech advantages.

Think about it from the consumer’s perspective. Are we truly delighted by a refrigerator that tells us when we’re low on milk?  Or do we ask how much extra that feature will cost?  Do we trust the smartphone app that lets us try on virtual eye shadow?  Or do we wonder if the color will be off?  What about a robotic vacuum cleaner that follows voice commands—who will fix it when it breaks?

Sure, cognitive technologies can be a vehicle for consumer product differentiation. But even in the cognitive era, human nature hasn’t changed. Winners focus on core benefits that are universal and timeless—convenience, simplicity, confidence, and engagement.  What’s new is that cognitive technologies can help you deliver these benefits in innovative ways.

Look for opportunities where cognitive technologies can be used to provide consumers with greater value and superior experiences. Make sure your design teams understand how technologies such as voice recognition and natural language processing can be used to improve customer service. Equip product developers to create simple user experiences by hiding complexity with technologies such as machine learning. And collaborate with data scientists to combine, analyze, and learn from data to automate, enhance, and guide consumers to confident decisions.

Join the growing number of CP companies that are effectively using cognitive to attract and retain customers.

Click here for an in-depth look at how CP companies can use cognitive technologies more effectively.

Ben Stiller is a Principal in Deloitte’s Strategy practice and leads Deloitte’s US Consumer Products Analytics practice. For more than past 12 years, he has worked exclusively in the Consumer Products sector focused on capability and analytics transformations to drive both growth and efficiency. He has led eight end-to-end transformations across subsectors (Food & Beverage, Personal Care, Alcohol, Home Care, and White Goods), spanning commercial, supply chain, and enabling functions.


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