Forge 2020

Forge 2020 Recap: The Beauty of Suite Symphony

Sunny Manivannan By Sunny Manivannan Oct 15, 2020

“To create a symphony is, for me, to create a world,” Austro-Bohemian Romantic composer Gustav Mahler once said.

When I think of the word ‘symphony’, the first thing that comes to my mind is a simple, beautiful sound. Complex behind the scenes, sure, but elegant and poised in its delivery. The intense vibrations. The perfect yet effortless timing. Solemn. Joyful. Alive. Moving. But behind the scenes, symphonies require a complex collaboration between an enormous number of moving parts, all of them coming together to produce one rich, multidimensional experience.

When bringing together multiple instruments—or engagement channels—it's possible to build a symphony, but only if everyone is playing from the same music sheet. And in marketing, that means extreme coordination across the marketing ecosystem, data sources, and team structures. Only then can brands successfully engage, retain, and build long-term customer relationships.

An orchestration layer that brings together the right data, journey management tools, cross-channel composers, and message delivery options, like Braze Canvas, is what makes the suite symphony of customer engagement possible. Without this orchestration layer, all you have, effectively, is a bunch of talented musicians driving people away with dissonant sounds.

What Orchestrating Suite Symphony Looks Like in Action

What happens when brands bring together the powerful forces of customer journey management, multivariate testing and optimization, and cross-channel messaging support? A look back at the evolution of Rakuten Rewards's marketing strategy reveals the impact of orchestration.

In its early days, this leading cash-back shopping company was sending millions of push notifications via the organization's legacy platform on a daily basis to a massive member network, only to see sub-par results—below-industry open rates and simply unremarkable engagement. The issue? They lacked the right data and insights needed to fully understand who their customers were and what happened after they received notifications.

After teaming up with Braze, named a leader in mobile engagement automation by Forrester, and tapping into our customer engagement platform to deliver messages across channels—turning out of touch messaging into authentic conversations with customers—the company was able to get a clear picture of its audience, as well as a better understanding of key segments and their unique personas, experiences, and touchpoints across the customer journey.

Rakuten Rewards went from sending messages in the dark to deploying campaigns that matter, at critical lifecycle moments at the individual level, delivering effective messaging at the right time, cadence, and via the right channels. It should come as no surprise that Rakuten saw engagement soar—with a 10X in open rates, a 20–30% lift in app retention, and more.

When the right messaging gets sent to the right customers at the right time and keeps the conversation going between brands and customers, that's the suite symphony of orchestration in action.

If brands rely on disconnected and ad hoc campaigns, it feels like each member of a symphony orchestra playing a different tune. In the end, it’s just noise and chaos. As the uncertain forces of the global pandemic exacerbate previous problems, now is the time to focus on building out a suite symphony for your business.

With consumer behavior changing by the minute as life as we've known it evolves, more than 77% of American shoppers have reported switching up their shopping habits due to the crisis—trying out new methods, brands, and places, according to a recent McKinsey survey. The COVID-19 crisis has shaken the very "foundations of customer loyalty, trust and confidence" in the words of Deloitte. And all of this is happening at a time when global brands have been pushed to freeze their advertising budgets. When both growth and loyalty are at stake, it is time for brands to prioritize serving existing customers in the most efficient (and authentic) ways possible. And that all boils down to working together—across systems, channels, and teams—toward a greater goal.

From IBM and MINDBODY to Fiverr and Ibotta, there are countless other brands who have perfected the art of orchestration to drive engagement and profitability.

How Major Brands Across Industries Are Building a Suite Symphony

At this year’s Forge 2020, Delivery Hero, HappyFresh, HBO Max, IBM,, and other leading companies shared how they brought together their systems, data, testing capabilities, and customer profiles together to create their own suite symphonies. To discover what they learned along the way, visit between now and October 20 and watch the entire event—or a few choice sessions—on demand.

Sunny Manivannan

Sunny Manivannan

Sunny Manivannan is the VP and GM of Global SMB at Braze, and thoroughly enjoys being a Boston sports fan in New York City. Previously, Sunny served in various marketing and general management roles at Coupa Software (NASDAQ:COUP), and was formerly a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and an aerospace engineer at General Electric.

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