3. THE TRENDS
AGE OF SHALLOW KNOWLEDGE4
MARKETING IS A GAME5
RISE OF GOOD INTENTIONS7
THE NEW CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION9
LONG TAIL OF COMMERCE10
5. Many of us know that controlling our impulses is key to our success in life - from
navigating the side of fries to shutting off Facebook to get some work done. The
digital age has made self-control even harder – with the likes of Facebook,
Twitter and Youtube giving us more ways to while away the hours when we
could be doing something more productive. And with smartphones, we can be
distracted anytime, anywhere.
But technology isn’t just the problem, it’s also increasingly the solution. Apps
like Moments and Offtime help consumers measure and manage distracting
smartphone usage. The Acorns app helps consumers save money by rounding
every purchase up to the nearest dollar, and invests the difference in low-cost ETFs.
The iBag is a programmable handbag that prevents you from accessing your wallet
at certain times of the day, and in certain locations. And products like Sproutling,
Kuduso, and Pawtrack all help outsource management of family members (from
babies, to kids, to pets).
Kuduso Paw Track
Consumers are looking to brands to help them outsource control. The percent
of Americans who agree that “I would like a trusted company to help simplify my daily
life” has increased from 31% in 2012 to 42% today.
% AGREE “I WOULD LIKE A TRUSTED COMPANY TO
HELP SIMPLIFY MY DAILY LIFE”
SOURCE: MINDSHARE’S MINDREADER
9. With fragmented audiences and increased multi-tasking, consumer attention is
harder to come by. One solution is to create more multi-sensorial experiences -
psychologists have found that using more of our senses increases engagement
and memory of content.
Technology is providing new canvases for such multi-sensorial experiences. The
most obvious recent examples are virtual reality and 4D. Both Nissan and Dos
Equis have both recently used Oculus Rift to create new experiences with their
products and advertising. Volvo recently created a virtual reality experience with
Google Cardboard (which turns smartphones into virtual reality machines) for
the launch of its new SUV. And both Marriot and Ralph Lauren have recently
created 4D experiences to engage consumers.
Marriott “Teleporter” Ralph Lauren “4D Catwalk”
Nissan “Chase the Thrill” Dos Equis
“Most Interesting Man”
Volvo Google Cardboard
“Station to Station” Project
Homeland vibrating mobile ads
Drone Painting, Ars
In the same way Andy Warhol combined art and commercialism to create a new
movement in modern art, technology is combining with the senses to give new
palettes for creative media. The opportunity for brands is to use these palettes
to create new ways to stimulate consumer senses.
In addition, technology is creating new ways to stimulate the senses individually. These
include Levis placing video installations on trains, drones that paint light
pictures in the sky, British Airways pairing their food menu with music (to
help improve the taste experience at 35,000 feet), and Homeland launching the
fourth season with vibrating in-app ads.
13. A combination of consumers feeling safer in the world, Millennial trust, and
more digitally connection has helped technology fuel more intimacy between
strangers and friends alike.
The rise of the sharing economy continues. In a similar vein to AirBnB, the
startup Eatwith brings strangers together for dining experiences. EatWith
provides a marketplace that connects diners and hosts, creating a unique social
experience where guests get to know one another while also eating an authentic,
Technology itself is opening up new routes to intimacy. Apple’s new iWatch
will enable users to share their heartbeats, the artist Daniel Sher has created a
number of technologies that enable people to physically share their feelings at
a distant (e.g. blowing a kiss), and the T.Jacket is a jacket that hugs its wearer
and can be controlled remotely – designed specifically for mothers of autistic
children in mind.
Brands should look to how they facilitate or create consumer intimacy with technology
in creative ways.
Apple iWatch “Heartbeat” Daniel Sher, “Saying Things That
Can’t Be Said”
16. As the amount of daily content increases, our ability to read, watch and listen
to everything we want to gets harder. At the same time the pressure to know
what’s going on is increasing. A third of Americans agree ‘I feel a pressure to
stay up to date, but I don’t have time to read all the articles I want’.
To cope we skim the surface. For example we’ll read a headline and the first
couple of paragraphs of a story, then move on. 47% of Americans ‘prefer to
browse the headlines rather than read detailed information’. We’ll pick relevant
pieces of information from Facebook, Twitter or emailed news alerts and then
regurgitate them. And new tools like The Skimm are helping us do this. As the
New York Times points out, ‘it’s never been so easy to pretend to know so much
without actually knowing anything’.
“I PREFER TO BROWSE HEAD-
LINES RATHER THAN READ
We’re living in an age of shallow knowledge where brands need to keep
things to the point, and where there’s an opportunity to give consumers the
toplines they need to navigate the world of content and information.
20. Many consumers have always understood how marketing works. However, with
the explosion of new marketing tactics and the pressure to grab consumer
attention in a fragmented media environment, marketing feels more like a game
now than ever.
Consumers generally feel less interested in ads. The percent of consumers who
agree “advertising helps me learn about the products companies have to offer”
has decreased from 52% in 2005 to 41% today. And 66% of consumers agree
that they “feel like I’m always being marketed to”.
Tactics like retargeting and native advertising, though effective, only highlight
the new ways the game is played, with savvy consumers on the lookout for ways
in which to play the game to their advantage. For example, knowing that there
may be patterns in travel companies’ dynamic pricing, 47% of consumers have
tried to “purchase travel tickets on days when I believe prices are lower”. And
31% of consumers say “when shopping online, I’ll intentionally leave items in a
“shopping basket” in hopes of receiving a discount from the store (e.g. via email,
or in an online ad)”.
As a reaction, going forward we may see more examples of companies looking
to help consumers step out of the game. Recent examples include the anti-Face-
book service Ello, and the data privacy company Disconnect.
As a brand be aware that some consumers will understand how the marketing
game works, and will either be put off by it, or play it to their advantage.
24. As consumers continue to expect more tools, products and services tailored to
their needs, industries continue to follow suit.
Content is unbundling in the media space. Following Netflix’s success, the cable
networks HBO and CBS are both setting up digital streaming services available
to non-cable customers – a potential start in the unbundling of cable content.
And Amazon has been unbundling TV show production, allowing consumers to
vote on pilots they want to see turned into full series.
In the technology space, Google’s modular phone prototype that consumers can
swap out pieces of (like the camera) is moving forwards, and Tesla is opening up
its patents to companies who want to use them in good faith – a move to encourage
a step change in the electric car space.
Google’s Modular Phone
HBO GO CBS All Access
Finally, we see the effect unbundling has had in the QSR space. McDonalds’
recent sales decline has been attributed in part to the customizable options
offered by companies like Chipotle, and the new Taco Bell ordering app
that enables customers to customize the ingredients in their orders.
As a brand consider how unbundling affects your industry, and how you can be
an early mover if appropriate.
Taco Bell Mobile Ordering App
28. We know from psychological research that as humans we are notoriously
obsessed with the intentions of others. Gossip (which takes up around 60% of
our day-to-day conversations) is all about helping us understand the reputations
and intentions of others – so we know who to befriend and who to avoid.
In a social media age where our ability to build and maintain friendships is on
full display, showing our intentions is even more important. Things like the ice
bucket challenge, #givingtuesday, and Movember all help to raise money and
awareness for important causes, but also give consumers a way to communicate
to the world that they care and that their intentions are noble.
Brands themselves are often chosen on their intentions – especially among highly
social and socially connected Millennials. Toms Shoes, Whole Foods, Chipotle
and Starbucks are all examples of these types of brands. If you want to show
that you have good intentions as a brand, showing you support your employees
is the number one thing you can do as a brand to show you care, followed by
following through on promises, and putting people over profits.
Ice Bucket Challenge #givingtuesday Movember
Starbucks offering up free college courses to employees
via Arizona State University
Toms – helps people
31. Digital media and a changing consumer mindset have given rise to new ways to
tell stories with content.
A smarter more educated consumer means that a market for shows and content
with substance has grown. For example, Short of The Week, a site dedicated to
showing a new, smart short movie every week. Game of Thrones has spurred a
number of mash ups – from “Simpsons” artist Adrien Noterdaem visualizing
the entire cast in the famous yellow, Simpsons form, to The Bleacher Report
creating The Game of Zones - a blending Game of Thrones characters and themes
with the context of the NBA Playoffs.
Short of the Week The Game of Zones
Different narrative approaches have been trending too – from the shifting
character perspectives in the movie Gone Girl and the TV show The Affair, to the
recent ‘choose your own adventure’ executions by Honda and Philips.
Finally there have been interesting creative uses of existing media inventory.
Virgin America produced its 6 hour pre-roll ‘ad’ called Blah Airlines which
followed minute-by-minute the apparently tedious experience of flying from
the east to west coast on a competitor airline. And the comedy short Too Many
Cooks became a viral hit after appearing in the ‘dead’ infomercial timeslot at
4am ET in October.
Virgin America “Blah Airlines”: 6 hour preroll Adult Swim “Too Many Cooks”: 4 AM
35. Consumers are changing how and what they say about themselves with the
products and brands they buy. As Tommy Hilfiger and Abercrombie and Fitch
have found out in recent years, the appetite for wearing big logos is waning.
36% of US consumers say they dislike wearing brand logos of any kind.
The logo-less movement relies more on other cues about the product consumers
are using. For example, in the fashion space Lily Pulitzer and Salvator Ferragamo
are recognizable from the patterns they use – and you have to be in-the-know to
To this end, we see a trend towards being conspicuous about how smart you are.
For example, interest in brands like Tesla and products like craft beer have been
increasing, and many of the new wearables play to consumers’ desire to show
their tech savviness.
If you’re a brand that consumers buy to display their identity, then you may need
to consider whether you’re part of the new conspicuous consumption trends.
Athos fitness Intel and 50 Cent Smartwatches
38. Over the past few years there’s been an explosion in mobile payment products
and services. Though still not the dominant transaction method for many
purchases, there have been pockets of success. For example, the Starbucks
app continues to rise in popularity as does the money transaction service
Venmo. Instagram and Twitter both allow consumers to purchase off the
service, and though Apple Pay hasn’t taken off yet, many expect an upsurge in
usage this year or next.
Outside of payments, commerce is changing in other ways. Google recently
announced ‘Project Wing’ – a drone delivery service that competes with the
potential Amazon drone service – as well as expanding their shopping delivery
service, Google Express, to more cities and merchants. Amazon themselves have
announced a 3D printing store for consumers to customize a set catalogue of
Finally, in the new world of digital commerce consumers seem unaffected by the
recent spate of data hacks among the likes of Target, eBay and Home Depot.
The assumption may be that their banks and credit card companies have got
Commerce is changing, slowly but surely. As a brand, ensure you’re keeping up
with the next step change in this space.
Google ‘Project Wing’ Google Express