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Digital is for the people

— Franziska von Lewinski, CEO of the SYZYGY Group

Digital is for the people — Franziska von Lewinski, CEO of the SYZYGY Group

Published:

12.19.2022

Photo:

Nathalie Mohadjer

Franziska von Lewinski is considered one of the most renowned digital strategists in Germany. She is the CEO of the SYZYGY Group, the consulting and implementation specialist for digital experiences and digital transformation with 600 employees, 7 locations in Germany, London, Warsaw and clients like BMW Motorrad, Mazda, Techniker Krankenkasse and PayPal.

Can you quickly describe yourself?

My name is Franziska von Lewinski and I am the CEO of the SYZYGY GROUP, a digital agency. My career actually started as a qualified engineer but a happy coincidence twenty years ago got me into the digital industry. And here I am. Two decades later I am still fascinated by the many new, innovative and exciting chances in Digital. Also I keep on being curious about all the possible developments and I am still convinced, that Digital is making a difference.And on a personal note… I am living with my husband and our two daughters in Hamburg and various sports are keeping me in balance.What are currently your favorite subjects?In my opinion, Digital should not just be about technologies or data. But about people. About real emotions that arise from digital experiences. As an example: I can now pay bills within just three clicks in my banking app. How easy and cool is that? Compared to the process necessary not so many years ago. Making life easier for users, giving them a good feeling, and creating a positive customer relationship, that's what Digital is all about in the end, isn't it? What would for you would be an emerging topic that is going to be important in our very near future? The digital possibilities are endless. That's why I think it is most important that Digital is understood as a new, separate category in marketing and not as just an extension of normal campaigns. Digital is more than tech, marketing & communication. Many companies are still on their way to understand this.Today the most valuable brands are tech brands. They offer digital experiences & services that matter to their clients. By doing that they create sustainable, long lasting relationships. In our latest study, done with behavioral psychologist Paul Marsden, we found that people love to use Digital if it saves them time and makes their lives easier. Greater user convenience is the trigger of a successful digital experience.

What are currently your favorite subjects?

In my opinion, Digital should not just be about technologies or data. But about people. About real emotions that arise from digital experiences. As an example: I can now pay bills within just three clicks in my banking app. How easy and cool is that? Compared to the process necessary not so many years ago. Making life easier for users, giving them a good feeling, and creating a positive customer relationship, that's what Digital is all about in the end, isn't it?

What would for you would be an emerging topic that is going to be important in our very near future?

The digital possibilities are endless. That's why I think it is most important that Digital is understood as a new, separate category in marketing and not as just an extension of normal campaigns. Digital is more than tech, marketing & communication. Many companies are still on their way to understand this.Today the most valuable brands are tech brands. They offer digital experiences & services that matter to their clients. By doing that they create sustainable, long lasting relationships. In our latest study, done with behavioral psychologist Paul Marsden, we found that people love to use Digital if it saves them time and makes their lives easier. Greater user convenience is the trigger of a successful digital experience.

What are its challenges?

Marketing and sales are facing major challenges as a result of digital transformation. It really does affect every company, every brand and almost all consumers. The real challenge is to think Digital across all departments, putting aside the usual boundaries. Sales, marketing and customer service at least. Digital is more than just one IT or CRM Project. Think across silos, think big while staying agile.

What changes, opportunities can it bring?

Today, we can't yet imagine the digital services that will be possible tomorrow. For sure they will make our lives more comfortable. For example… I wanted to travel to London the other day and noticed shortly beforehand that my passport had expired. Luckily I somehow made it, but with a lot of stress and frustration. Just imagine the positive feelings I could have had if I could have had sorted this out via some clicks. Not to mention the time I could have saved! My dream is to be able to renew my passport online via a few clicks instead of having to have a time consuming personal appointment at a government office.

What are the traps, the dangers?

For me it is not about traps and dangers. For me it’s also no longer a question of whether we digitalize or not. It’s needless to keep on discussing or even lamenting. Just do it! By now it is only a matter of speed.The needs and expectations of consumers have changed dramatically and permanently, and the demands for digital products and services and for digital experiences are constantly rising. If a company or brand disregards or even ignores this, it will soon be out of the game. But if they understand Digital as a new category, connect marketing and sales and think across silos, connect experts and work in diverse teams, they will be more successful and come out as stronger players. Just one click may often decide over market leader or follower.

“Digital should not just be about technologies or data. But about people”

Who are the players in this market?

It is a huge field, but to name one: Nike. The brand has unobtrusively made it into the consumers' living rooms with its workout app. Years ago. By now it's part of people’s everyday life and, because it is convenient for them and has a positive effect on their lives. The community feeling and the simplicity in itself are creating a unique customer relationship. That's more than any billboard or TV commercial could ever achieve.

How did you come into contact with this topic?

At the beginning of my career as a qualified engineer I had nothing to do with Digital. I became aware of it through a friend, back when 1999 turned into 2000. That was a huge moment in Digital. I became so excited about the concept Digital that it changed my life. I started from scratch and learned some programming and the fascination sticks to this day. For me, Digital is more than technologies or data. It's about real emotions delivered through amazing digital experiences. The possibilities of Digital for brands, businesses and people are and will be huge in the time to come. Digital is the chance in so many ways to improve people’s everyday life. There is no way of letting this passing by. The better the services of digital brands become, the better the customer relationship will be. It’s a win-win situation.

Where can we find out more?

Personally I find it rewarding to keep in contact and exchange with many different people about the digital topics. Experts and non-experts. Getting out of my usual bubble get’s me a diverse and multi-layered view of things and I always learn a lot for myself. These kinds of inspirations are really doing the trick for me. Try it if you like.