It’s Christmas time, which means it’s time for the obligatory 2010 prediction post. I’ve never done one before, but I’m actually really excited about these trends, and what they could bring in the new year for brands and communications. A glimpse of what’s to come…
Consumers will continue to become more and more channel blind. They experience brands at multiple touch-points and seamlessly switch between channels and devices. Brands that offer multiple consumer touch points will see benefits; though the brand experience must be in harmony across all channels. This year we saw Asda generate online shopping lists from receipts, and Kraft successfully launched the iFood assistant for the iPhone. More of this please.
Real-time ramp up
This term represents the growing demand for immediacy in our interactions. It’s a combination of factors – from the always-connected nature of smart phones, the immediacy of Twitter, to the instant gratification provided by a Google search. On-demand will be the norm. The speed at which things happen is going to get even faster, and only those brands who can keep pace will stay relevant.
People don’t experience the world in silos, when experiences spread across platforms, there is no longer a distinct between online and offline activities. Digital is now engrained into people’s everyday lives (not only where but how we live our lives). The browser is not enough anymore. The web will become more and more connected to the real world. For brands this means they should no longer develop digital strategies and communications in isolation. Brands need to look at the bigger picture where virtual and real co-exist in one world.
Embedded Sociality (not just social media)
Gareth Kay argues that we should stop obsessing over social media and what it can do for a business and instead spend our time trying to deliver social ideas that delight consumers. While social media channels fade in and out of social significance, social ideas are timeless in their power. Doritos iD3 mystery flavour was a social idea not a social media campaign. Of course this won’t stop the flurry of social media conferences in 2010…
Virtual is Reality
With the rise of Augmented Reality, and virtual worlds, virtual is finally becoming reality. Habbo Hotel is a virtual 2D world insanely popular with kids (13 – 16 year olds) – they are growing up accustomed to virtual friendships and immersive environments. Brands will need to be multi-dimensional to survive the participatory culture of today’s multi-dimensional universe.
Consumers continually want to play an active role in marketing activities (and beyond), brands need to sell with consumers not at them. Remember that consumers like to customize and create stuff. With Walkers ‘Do us a Flavour’, we invited consumers into the product development process. And yes crowdsourcing is just one approach, but I’m not going to over-hype it as there are plenty of other blogs doing that already.
Experiences over Advertising
According to Garrick Schmitt, traditional media’s grip on consumers continues to slip as they increasingly turn to the internet and their peers for entertainment and purchasing recommendations. With an abundance of technology, information and choice, consumers’ attention spans are as fragmented as today’s media. We’ve proven time and time again with Doritos that digital brand experiences can have a dramatic effect on consumer purchasing habits and brand affinity. This Ad Age article looks at a range of experience-driven communications (worth a read).
Coherence over Consistency
Consistency was the marketing mantra of the ‘90s. Dr. Plummer argues that coherence is now the key because audiences are no longer congregated by media so that the same group of people are drawn together at the same time and place to witness the same content on the same platform. Brands should be less bothered about executional consistency, so long as the brand’s point of view is coherent across media, between campaigns and around the world. No more matching luggage please.