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Creative and Differentiated: the next generation of technology for brands

11/02/2020

Creative and Differentiated: the next generation of technology for brands

As we approach a new decade, the world is primed for change. Shifting consumer expectations mean that more than ever, creativity and experience has become a brand’s greatest differentiator. No longer content with simply a great product, consumers expect evolution towards a whole ecosystem that works with their life. 

Where businesses were once closed off, serving the customer, customers are now actively invited to input, co-create and shape brands, through communities, social media and reviews. There has been a shift in the concept of value in the age of the empowered consumer, and companies are competing to monetise attention. The strongest brands are embracing new technologies that wouldn’t look out of place in a sci-fi movie in order to compete. 

In this blog, we look at the new creative technologies coming to shake up how companies can interact with consumers, from AI to voice, data to affective computing, and how they can be harnessed in a world where experience is everything. 

Augmented Experiences

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”- Arthur C. Clarke

Internet-of-Things (IoT) connectivity, augmented reality and geo-specific content are already layering across our physical lives to create unexpected and joyful experiences. Take Volkswagen, who in partnership with Isobar Netherlands, created a location-based audiobook to ‘bring imagination back to the backseat’. Learning that more and more children are watching content on tablet devices while on car journeys, the car company decided to trace the Dutch highway system and create a dynamic story that changed based on location, to include the water tower ‘alien’ or the tunnel ‘rocket’. 

This creative strategy to combine the digital and physical worlds generates interaction with the brand, enabling Volkswagen to compete. Putting the audience at the centre of everything can be replicated in the retail environment to drive store footfall, audience attention and brand loyalty. 

Clarins, the makeup brand, recently partnered with Isobar UK to sprint-brainstorm how they can leverage motion sense and voice, coming away with actionable insight to implement. Diageo, the drinks manufacturer, partnered to create a cocktail experience via Amazon Alexa, creating content to delight. In a world where 52% of customers say they would spend more with a brand where the experience is great, IKEA and Velux have used augmented reality to superimpose furniture and brands into customer’s homes, rehearsing realities. Innovation is critical, as is customer centricity, in this new wave of content-powered commerce. 

Data

There’s no getting around it: data is complex and it’s getting increasingly complicated. Not only are companies inundated with more and more data, but marketers are challenged with consumer’s increasing concerns over how it is acquired and utilised. 

Affective computing is emerging as a trend- adaptive products that sense our moods and adjust the content or environment to match. Samsung’s ‘Calm Case of Galaxy’ by Emilios Farrington-Arnas is a responsive phone cover that changes the screen wallpaper to suit the stress levels of the holder and sends push notifications to complete breathing exercises. Affective computing is coinciding with a healthcare revolution, using technology to fill gaps in our NHS and empower the user to take more responsibility for their preventative healthcare. 

Isobar’s ‘Mindsight’ product is making waves in retail for the ability to understand why consumers choose some products over another, which combined with the human touch of how to interpret the data is allowing brands to make decisions to get them closer to the customer experience. 

Data is being used not only for innovation and creativity around the consumer but to gain great insight into that consumer in the first place. Many brands struggle with data silos, and increased connectivity, such as Commerce, Marketing and Service data provides a single view of the customer. A recent survey by Salesforce found that 73% of customers now expect companies to understand their needs and expectations, so delivering personalised, integrated experiences are becoming much more critical. 

Socialised Commerce

In 2020, retail models will continue to transform around the consumer. Where inspiration once happened on social platforms and transactions happened on websites, we are going to see more and more centralisation between the two. Content-rich social media is a natural fit for brands, and the rise of influencers can provide great conversion rates for marketers. 

Salesforce’s Shopper First Research, of 6,000 consumers and 1.4 Billion eCommerce visits found that shoppers expect brands to ‘be where I am’- developing a frictionless experience that’s accessible to shoppers, wherever they need you to be- in-store, online, or on social media. 87% of shoppers begin their journeys on digital channels, and although we’re yet to see the fruition of ‘buy from social’, it’s becoming increasingly important.

The strongest brands are leaning on the power of cloud-based platforms for real-time insight. New trends revealed in our report include social storefronts, social as a place for experimentation, render only retail and storytelling. Communities are springing up, and digital kinship means brands are seeing consumers more and more as consultants. However, this is all based on having the foundations in place: fast load time, mobile-first design. Asda recently saw success with Isobar building a progressive web app- a fast-loading landing page that sits on top of the eCommerce site. They reported a subsequent 14% decrease in bounce rate and a 56% increase in page views. 

CX Experiences

In our report Creative Experience: the Evolution of CX, we reviewed the importance of road mapping your customer experience for increased creative capability. Customer experience is becoming increasingly commoditised, and advancements in technology are relentless. Because of the speed of change, many brands are missing the CX bar. To be successful in this new era, businesses need to design meaningful customer experiences and a distinctive brand purpose. At Isobar, we believe emerging technology can underpin creativity, and our approach is to understand your level of digital maturity, define the future state and create a technology, organisational and data roadmap to help you get there. 

Conclusion

Whether retail or media, entertainment or finance, all businesses are now in the business of experience. With the consumer rapidly shaping where and how commerce is happening and in a time where any business can compete on desirable product, experience and creativity will set brands apart, create memorable interactions and drive loyalty. Brands need to take advantage of working with visionary partners to roadmap how they can put the customer at the centre of everything they do and transform for the future. At the end of the day, the average consumer is looking for a streamlined purchase journey; one that makes it easy to buy and that begins where the customer is most active and engaged. A straightforward purchase journey often makes a great brand experience. Brands need to understand and seize this opportunity and have a clear e-commerce strategy between brand.com, social commerce and marketplaces

Our report, ‘Augmented Humanity: 2020 trends report is a stimulating, informative and thought-provoking toolkit for brands. Download it now to not only learn more about the trends shaping the industry, but also contextualise them for your roadmap for 2020- and beyond. 

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