Nick Westergaard

By Nick Westergaard on June 1, 2015

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The Human Side of Digital Branding with Steven Van Belleghem

steven van belleghem

“Instead of focusing on big data, we should be focusing on big relevance.” Steven Van Belleghem is a thought leader known for his mind stretching books and keynotes. His latest book, When Digital Becomes Human, explores the sometimes conflicting poles of businesses communication — the digital and human side. Van Belleghem shares with us why these aspects are really complementary this week on the On Brand podcast.

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About Steven Van Belleghem

Steven is a thought leader on the transformation of customer relations and the future of marketing. He is an expert in inspiring companies to become true customer-centric organizations in this high speed digital world. His talks inspire companies about the smart usage of technology in the customer relationship without forgetting the human side of business. His keynotes are mind stretchers for business leaders. A very energetic and pragmatic keynote speaker, Steven shares his vision in speeches and workshops around the world.

Steven is a bestselling author of business books. His latest book is called When Digital Becomes Human. The books describes the need to digitize the customer relationship without forgetting the human aspect. Today’s world not only needs a digital transformation; the human side of business is also in need of a makeover. His two previous books (The Conversation Manager & The Conversation Company) are award-winning bestsellers with more than 50,000 copies sold.

Episode Highlights

It’s easy to lose sight of the human side of digital. Both Steven and I shared stories about how marketers at all levels can benefit from more direct contact with customers. Steven told a story of a B2B services company that instituted a simple program with surprisingly powerful results.

The deep end of the digital pool. “We’re still in the kids’ side of the pool. It’s about to get a lot deeper in the next few years. We used to have active customer service. This has been replaced by real-time service today. Will this be enough in the future?” Steven thinks we’ll probably be looking at more pro-active customer service down the road.

What about all of that big data? “We need to focus on big relevance. On using that data to better understand our customers and create big wisdom, big help, and big personalization.” As an example, Steven directs us to Disneyworld’s My Magic Plus program which uses big data and wearables to create an amazing customer experience.

How long will we still use the label ‘digital’ marketing? Isn’t it all ‘marketing’? “Everything that’s not perfected is called technology. We’ll drop the digital once it’s perfected.”

What has Steven learned about leaders today as part of his inspirational programming? “In my book I talk about ‘heart-keting’ as opposed to marketing. We need to create a culture where people excel at human skills such as empathy, compassion, and creativity.” And that’s not always easy!

What brand has made Steven smile lately? “Cool Blue — a large private e-commerce company in Holland. Their slogan is ‘We do everything for a smile.’” Steven shares a few examples of how this brand walks the talk on the show.

To learn more, visit Steven’s website stevenvanbelleghem.com.

As We Wrap …

Recently our friend Melanie Deardorff gave us a shout on Twitter about our recent episode featuring Mark W. Schaefer. She called it great “drive-time edutainment.” That’s exactly what we try to be! Thanks for listening Melanie!

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

Last but not least …

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!




Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, where he helps build better brands online. He also teaches at the University of Iowa and is host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.


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