If the idea is right, only a piece of paper is needed – Coversation with Hendrick Wijmans

Hendrick Wijmans
Creative Director - Retex
14 Apr 2019
Since last January Nuvicom, one of the best digital content producers in Italy, became part of the Retex group. Hendrik Wijmans, one of Nuvicom’s founders, became our Chief Creative Officer.

Retex, Hendrick, the theme of a new customer experience is now a given, so much that it becomes hard to talk about it. The confluence of Nuvicom in Retex seems to manifest this.

Hendrick Wijmans. It is true. Only a few years ago it would have been hard to think of a bridge between the two banks of the river. Powerful vertical competitions on one side and a vast quantity of communication and publicity on the other. Yet, without that bridge the two banks would become increasingly less crowded.

Retex. It needs adapting, or something more?

Hendrick Wijmans. Something more, definately. We come from a history where communication is focused on a single scope, to one product or to one channel. Today, instead, brand communication needs to be a single, strong idea communicated on various channels with different tools. That idea is greater than the sum of the various parts by which it is expressed.

Let it be a surprise

Retex. Regarding omnichannel, Italian retail need to catch up on delays and win resistance. If we think about e-commerce, the war of estimates varies around 3% to 6% of the total, considerably lower compared to advanced European countries. Looking at it from the eye of the communicator, what is the situation?

Hendrick Wijmans. The level is increasing, but courage is needed. It seems paradoxical, but the best support to distribution strategies is in one question: “at which point of the customer journey does purchase happen?”. If I think about our project with Samsung, for example, I ask myself, for how many was the choice to buy the new Galaxy not influenced by the video mapping done on the building in Corso Como.

Retex. Hold on, you are telling me “I look at the building and I buy the smartphone”

Hendrick Wijmans. I’m saying that technical information and product comparisons, on any product, there are in abundance; and for a segment of consumers these are definitely important. Yet the decisive difference for purchasing something can different routes, and surprise is one of these. The battle is for brand perception; hence it is also emotive. What we have done for Kitchen Aid at the Salone del Mobile goes along the same road.

What is the target?

Retex. Try to think as a retailer. What is the mother of all questions?

HW. I have no doubt: “how to identify my target and how do I surprise them?”. Few things have surprised me in the past years, such as "Small data”, the book from Martin Lindstrom. Big data do not always grant accurate customer profiling, due to the propensity or purchase renunciation reasons which are incredibly difficult to intercept. Consumer trends given by behaviours impossible to classify to one statistical category.

Retex. Just a small issue…

Hendrick Wijmans. It is a hard bet. Locating the way and moment in which a person decides to become a buyer: possible or impossible, the diffusion of a strong and homogenous identity in every phase of the relationship with an individual is the only route to follow.

The perceived idea

Retex. This reminds me a lot of how much we would write on our site regarding the complexity and inefficiency of loyalty programs.

Hendrick Wijmans. It is like this. At that point though, the client becomes tied to a vision higher than the offered discount, and this depends by how much and how often the brand talks about itself. To quote Bezos, “brand is what people think about you when you are not in the room”. Perceived identity is more important and complex than any other thing: it goes from staff behaviour in store to the availability of the desired product, from the customer service operator’s response to how friendly the site is.

Retex. How much doe technology count?

Hendrick Wijmans. In my work it is fundamental to know and dominate it, from this aspect we are very well set. Yet for this reason it is always decisive. Allow me to explain as a communicator: if the idea is right, it will be a success even on a piece of paper. Find it first, then then most suitable technology will come.