Brand Insights

3 Real Examples of Digital Transformation and What We Can Learn from Them


The digital imperative is proving to be the differentiator in business. Some companies have been brilliant at using digital transformation frameworks to innovate. Others have enjoyed mixed success. Many who have delayed transformation are now developing new processes and models that embrace digital technology and respond to consumer behaviour.


This article will look at real-world examples of digital transformation for insight. It will discuss digital marketing, digital innovation, uses of AI and other technologies. It will consider where approaches have led to digital transformation failure and success.

With so many organisations looking to begin digital transformation journeys of their own, looking to examples of brands that have introduced digital technologies alongside new business models can help to make sure that digital transformation efforts are channelled into the right areas, implementing best practice and avoiding the mistakes others have made.

Exploring the digital transformation initiatives of other businesses, along with the revenue growth and cost savings they have experienced can help you to create a digital transformation strategy that will improve business processes and give you the competitive edge in a digital world.

The Digital Imperative

The Digital Imperative is pushing businesses forward. It means doing more with less by embracing new technology and all the opportunities it can bring for traditional business. Business leaders are looking for ways to differentiate and streamline and using successful digital transformation initiatives to do this. The digital imperative pushes businesses to commit to finding digital solutions to meet the needs and wants of their customers.

Some businesses have soared toward the digital imperative, using technology for a more resilient and effective business, and exceeding customer expectations. Others have embraced innovation, pushing their business forward with hiccups along the way. And, of course, plenty have left the challenge until the last possible moment, choosing to monitor behaviours and engagement to better understand customer needs. Let's look at three real digital transformation examples and what you can learn from them.

3 Digital Transformation Examples

Primark’s Digital Business Model

When Primark's competitors built e-commerce empires it focused on bricks and mortar. Its digital strategy has been very much watch and wait.

During the pandemic, Primark was at a distinct disadvantage. Though it bounced back impressively once shops reopened. But Primark has visibly been working on a new business model, fit for the digital age.

  • The new website launched in spring 2022. It included an availability checker and customer account signup. This gave the brand increased online visibility. Plus the ability to capture data for personalised marketing

  • Investment in new digital talent and functions such as automated warehouses

  • In Autumn 2022, Primark started trialling click-and-collect sales in 25 locations (North of England)

At the time of the website launch, Primark's Chief Information Officer Andrew Brothers said:

"We know our new website is something that our customers have wanted to see from us for some time, and we recognise we've moved later than most in this space."

“However, that brings with it an opportunity as we’ve been able to spend time understanding the role digital can play to enhance our business.”

What we can learn from Primark: Not every brand will or should have the same tactics or timeline. When it comes to transformation, know when to leap and when to test.


Nestle’s Global Innovation

In the report Accelerating data-driven digital transformation, Nestle outlines its approach. It also details actions driven by digital imperative to give an overview of one of the largest-scale digital innovation examples.

“Consumers want access to goods and services, regardless of channel. They expect brands to connect with them directly and get new products to market quickly. Plus, they want full transparency about how their products were made. To meet these demands and drive growth, we are accelerating our data-driven digital transformation.”

Nestle has:

  • Upskilled the workforce by sharing best practices, using webinars and online training.

  • Automated or outsourced routine tasks to scale work.

  • Used extensive analytics data in combination with AI. Optimising sales, promotions and supply chains.

  • Extended applications of AI within digital marketing. Its enhanced digital assets, simplified processes and reduced the cost of asset production.

  • Used operational planning technology at scale. From demand sensing to production scheduling. This has improved agility and ability to react to the market and build resilience.

  • Used brand-building digital recipe platforms as content marketing. This has increased engagement and customer insight. This helped drive a 30% increase in frequency of consumption of Nestle products in Brazil.

What we can learn from Nestle: Yes, it's harder for more prominent, global brands to transform. But they typically have more significant resources to do so. And they can get it right with an effective approach to scaling.


Nike’s Three Goals

Nike is a brand that's had its share of digital transformation failure and success. Nike's Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system upgrade a few years back reportedly didn't go as planned.

In the face of challenges like increased transport and logistic costs. Nike worked hard to engage its customers and improve customer experience. In 2017, Nike set three goals to help guide strategy and keep the brand at the front of the sportswear market:

  • Double the innovation

  • Double speed to market

  • Double direct connection with customers.

Since then, Nike worked on a digital transformation framework that's incorporated the following:

  • Use of analytics and digital consumer data

  • Improving e-commerce and digital marketing with improved user experience and membership options

  • Linking online and offline activity for a better customer journey and offering

  • Pursuing a direct-to-customer sales strategy with tailored apps. These provide data,  fuel hyper-local design and marketing content

  • The launch of metaverse marketplace, blockchain-powered Swoosh. It allows users to 'co-create' with Nike, wear Nike products in video games. Users can also gain access to unique products/pre-orders

  • Acquisition of fitness apps Zodiac and Celect, providing valuable customer behaviour information

  • Strategic marketing partnerships, plus internal investment in data science and digital design talent

At the end of 2022 Nike posted a digital sales increase of 25 per cent. Nike direct sales rose 16 per cent.


Nike’s Digital Marketing Examples

Sometimes Nike's digital marketing has struck just the right note.  The 2022 50th anniversary Spike Lee film and viral TikTok campaign was well received. The 2023 partnership with influencer Dylan Mulvaney was met with some controversy.

What we can learn from Nike: No business can stand still if they want to remain relevant, no matter how big. A customer centric approach is fundamental.


Real digital transformation examples are food for thought for businesses eyeing change. They can help you create a digital transformation framework. But one of the biggest success drivers is acknowledging the internal challenges stopping your growth. When you're ready to get started, we're here.