Enhancing Our Connection With the Consumer of Tomorrow

June 21, 2018

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Cannes is alight with talk of progressive technologies that are flooding consumer news agendas, and our lives. Research shows we are at the dawn of the 4th Industrial Revolution (Samsung and Cheil, ‘Is Technology the Downfall or Saviour of Creativity?’). For those of us in the communications industry, how can this technology enhance how we reach consumers in the future?

Consumers are more fluid, contextual, self-taught and proactive than ever. They buy emotionally then justify the purchase rationally. Consumers are forcing brands and our communications structures to change. Five years ago, product innovation was the key focus, today it’s all about brand purpose. In a time of social uncertainty, where trust in political leaders is low, brands are in a position where they can change society through experiences they offer consumers.

Direct, emotive experiences are one of the most powerful ways to ensure consumers are engaged. Progressive technology has humanised companies, inspiring interactive brand experiences and infiltrating the hearts and minds of consumers.

Consumers want storytelling and cultural moments they can share with loved ones. Companies need to align their brand purpose with the target audience’s beliefs to effectively engage them. What do our customers really care about and how do we find this out?

Technology allows brands to increase their intelligence every time a consumer interacts with the product, ensuring companies are aligned with consumer needs and beliefs. For example – when we hit search on Google, it gets smarter by extracting information about preferences and who we are as consumers. Technology allows us to get to this insight faster and seeing as only 20% of the world’s data is currently searchable (IBM, Panel: ‘What’s Coming Next in Branded Consumer Experience?’), this will rapidly increase in the future.

Consumers also want to take a stand against social issues that matter – found millennials wouldn’t be ‘caught dead’ shopping from any company that harms the planet. How a brand gets involved in issues is a key driver of how they are perceived. As we look to the future, companies need to see beyond CSR and make the transition into defining a brand purpose.

Technology can be used as a force for good for brands to better inform and drive real world change. Samsung (client) is an example of this with the introduction apps such as ‘Relúmĭno.’ ‘Relúmĭno’ is a visual aid application that works in conjunction with the Gear VR to enhance the vision of visually impaired people. “Relúmĭno will be the life-changer for 240 million of the visually impaired people around the world and we promise a firm and continuing support,” said Jaiil Lee, Vice President and Head of Creativity & Innovation Center at Samsung Electronics.

Once we align to what truly matters to audiences, we can create truly compelling and industry disrupting experiences. Activations that connect with individuals on an individual and collective basis will elevate brand conversation and engagement.

“Experiences drive loyalty and business performance. If you create the right experience, you’ll draw the traffic to achieve the engagement you want.” — Donna Vieira, CMO JP Morgan Chase (client) at the ‘Blade Runner or Run of the Mill?’ panel

These relevant experiences drive tangible results: consumers are six times more likely to buy your product and 12 times more likely to recommend the company (Eight Inc., Panel: ‘What’s Coming Next in Branded Consumer Experience?’) if they have been engaged in a differentiated experience. They’re also five times more likely to forgive a brand mistake. Music festivals are a great example of this – consumers attend the likes of Glastonbury and Coachella due to the incredible experience on offer. It is this reputation, over and above any artists performing, that achieves maximum engagement and sees audiences return year on year.

So, now is the time to learn, plan and activate how as a brand we can use technology to suit the needs of our audience. Technology unleashes intelligence, innovation and creativity. Focusing on a personalised human experience aligned with consumer beliefs can transform products from being a ‘nice to have’ to a necessity that consumers can’t live without.