Today consumers are no longer just looking for social networks to broadcast their ideas, connect with people and share their experiences but also want a deeper online and offline experience for satisfaction. In light of the recent economic upheaval, there has been a shift in the average consumer and they prefer those experiences over products. Marketers have to focus on these trends which drive consumers from a socially based consumption model to one of experience.
The following are the top five trends which help to shape such experiences:
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It began as a trend in the education industry to help improve learning and retention. In recent times it has evolved and is being used as a strategy tool by marketers and management firms to help clients find solution to complex problems and map them out via large scale visuals. It’s the use and exploration of images as tools for communication and can be applied to any subject matter so as to augment a change in any demographic or audience. The London based firm Group Partners has constructed the most comprehensive visual thinking experience which allows solutions to be co-created and applied to important conversations “which transforms the way people think and act, and quickly”, says Founder, John Caswell. This technique was applied by the company to more than 2,500 businesses including Coca-Cola, Estee Lauder and The BBC. With a move towards thinking in terms of pictures and graphics, use of visual thinking framework is becoming more compelling.
The New Aesthetic
The term coined by ‘technologist’ and London-based writer James Bridle refers to blurring of the digital and real. This was experienced in retail industry in September 2011 via Sweet Shoppe by The Future Laboratory and Campaign during the London Design Festival. It allowed people to see, smell, touch and taste the retail experience through a hyper-real, personalized and technology – enabled production. The Sweet Shoppe is intended for future consumers who will not know life without internet and there won’t be any distinction between the digital and real due to which people will seek experiences that seamlessly integrate their online and offline life. Another example of such technology is the Louis Vuitton Kusama Studio iPhone application. However, this concept still remains extremely fragmented and incoherent to explain so as to allow a marketer to grasp its full potential.
It refers to applications which cut-down digital noise so that the user gets only information that helps him/her to focus on a task. Founder Mark Weiser is considered the father of ‘ubiquitous computing’, another name for the technology. According to him the digital technology should make our life easier and help to reduce distractions in workflow and make it calmer without disruptions thus blurring the life between digital and real life. One example is the Facebook Ticker, which moves the real time update to the periphery without which it would move to quickly for the average user. It’s also gaining popularity with curation and social product discovery sites such as Buyosphere, Svpply and Discovered. The whole idea is to reduce the flow of information and streamline it.
It is a research aspect of marketing wherein studies are conducted to understand the consumers’ cognitive response to marketing stimuli. Companies are now using science and a better understanding of the human brain to help make websites more memorable so that the consumers are manipulated into purchasing the products. The concept is that the consumers make their buying decisions in an impulse and in the emotional part of their brain so the goal of Neuromarketing is to blow the consumers’ minds with products that they desire thus driving their purchases. it came out as a study of participants in the ‘Pepsi Challenge’.
According to this concept technology is becoming smarter than humans and once that happens we will enter an era which we cannot fathom as our human brain is incapable of doing so. Game Theory is a key component in this theory encompassing singularity. The argument put forward by marketers is that having multiple people make the same action at once in ways that re deemed safe by them so as to drive massive change. According to Gartner’s 2011 study of Gamification, “the opportunities for businesses range from having more engaged customers, to creating more brand narratives”. Thus and overlay of game theory with current trends marketers can see that singularity is a bridge between real-life and fantasy.