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What do we need to do to become a truly adaptive organisation?

Highlights from Merkle's CX Imperatives 2021

As a part of our Customer Experience Imperatives series, we focussed on what organisations need to do to become adaptive in order to achieve their customer experience transformation goals.

The three CX Imperatives – the foundational pieces in customer experience transformation – are data transformation, digital transformation and organisational adaptivity. Throughout the series and in the ebook itself, Merkle emphasises that customer experience today now hinges on this three-pronged key imperative approach.

Ultimately, to be successful in a world of ever-changing and increasing customer expectations, we need to engage with data transformation, achieve digital transformation — and, at the heart of it all, adapt our organisation to adjust to dynamic customer needs.

Featuring Blair Cooke (Merkle’s Australian Managing Director), Lucy Acheson (Customer Experience Director of Merkle Australia) and Roger Slater, Head of Segments and Digital for CitiBank APAC, the Building the Adaptive Organisation session is a must-watch for anyone looking at what’s required to enable your organisation to become adaptable and agile to deliver for your customers.

Here’s a summary of my key takeaways from the session – and I encourage you to watch the session on demand.


In essence, changing how your people work requires enterprise flexibility. 

Instead of tying your processes to traditional structures, systems and core capabilities, your team needs to adapt to customer needs whenever required to produce responsive outputs quickly and collaboratively. To build a truly adaptive organisation you must start by focusing on your organisation structure, having a model that empowers your people to make decisions in a timely fashion in the interests of your customers, supporting the right balance of autonomy and adaptability. This must flow through the culture and internal behaviours of your organisation to become your natural way of working.



Pay attention to your data. Pay attention to your customers.

Learn about your customers, observe their patterns and behaviours. Pivot when you learn something that requires a different approach, continue to observe, adapt and react, but remain consistent.

As Roger says, “Your competitive advantage comes from your ability to be able to react to data and pivot.”


Change starts from the top.

True organisational adaptability calls for a real cultural shift that needs to start from the top. Having total clarity of vision supports organisations to flex and pivot as required to achieve their customer outcomes.


The voice of your customer is critical.

We need to really understand our customers, physically listening to them and understanding their behaviour, understanding their needs through data patterns and then reacting to them. The old build it and they will come approach isn’t an option.

Lucy said, quoting Jeff Bezos, “Your most unhappy customer is your greatest source of learning.”


Where to start? Focus on the fundamentals.

Don’t try to do it all at once, look at your data, pick where you are hearing that the greatest change is required and focus your energies there.

Roger says, “If we look at everything in its entirety it can almost be daunting and intimidating. Don’t try to do it all at the same time; focus on the fundamentals and introduce a culture and a vision around that that will help the organisation build adaptivity. It’s going to be an evolving journey.”

If you’d like to talk to us about anything covered in the webinar – or anything at all to do with how your organisation can achieve total experience transformation – get in touch at [email protected]

Part of dentsu International, dentsu Aotearoa is a network designed for what’s next, helping clients predict and plan for disruptive future opportunities and create new paths to growth in the sustainable economy. Dentsu delivers people-focused solutions and services to drive better business and societal outcomes. This is delivered through the capabilities of Dentsu Creative, Dentsu Media, and Merkle Aotearoa a Merkle Company, each with deep specialisms.

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