“Cohesion, if done right, is completely unforgettable,” said Ben Jones, chief technology officer at the London-based digital agency AKQA, adding that brands should be moving into a world where they can “truly add to people’s lives” rather than simply flog them merchandise they don’t necessarily need.

This story first appeared in the July 21, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“If you can give something back to a consumer, something of value, they will love you forever and they will become not a consumer, but a champion,” he said.

When it comes to Web sites in particular, Jones said brands have only five seconds before 33 percent of customers leave “if you don’t get it right.” To get it right, he suggested simplification and service.

Speaking of the paralysis of choice, he said that his job in the world of digital and data is to take the overwhelming choice away from consumers. “It’s the investment in algorithms and the people that can create those kind of insights from the data…which is important today.”

He added that marketing today is about returning to levels of service seen in the past, when storekeepers would know customers’ names and bartenders would know their regulars’ drinks. Jones recalled his own visit to a renowned golf club, where — within a few minutes — a locker room attendant had already learned his name, shoe size and the location of his clubs, making Jones feel like the most important player in the room.

“In this world of elitism, he democratized the whole space for me and made me feel so comfortable that I would like to go back again,” he said.

Jones also stressed the importance of naïveté in the creative process: “It’s about being a deliberate beginner,” he said, adding that the collaboration between colleagues with different skill sets was also crucial.

Addiction to failure is another key to success: “What are you going to do to be unforgettable? When will you have the balls to experiment? What can you do to be truly cohesive in your organization to create the things that other brands will do, and start-ups will create? Are you honestly addicted to failure?”

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