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We live in a constant paradox: as technological disruption brings us closer to computer and machine evolution, our humanity clings ever so dearly to what is left of our relationship with the environment and society.
Premium brands often say that “luxury is in the details.” No matter how advanced our technology is, the basics of customer service are the keys to success.
A CISCO report on “Customer Experience in 2020” reveals that 70% of purchasing decisions will be based on consumer experience, and according to VentureBeet, in 2020 the average person will have more conversations with bots than with his or her partner.
The question of how to apply and capitalize technology and digital strategies to marketing is relatively simple. However, regardless of the complexities that a strategy may have, brands that wish to maintain healthy relationships with their customers must ensure a pleasant pre- and post-buying experience.
“Today, consumers are eager to share their experiences on social media. Only brands that are aggressive in their way of communication and know how to integrate different areas of knowledge to marketing strategies such as design, psychology, content production, sales and public relations, are the ones that will retain consumer preference.”
Melissa Uribe, Marketing Director of Bacardi México
We are faced with consumers who strongly claim their individual identities through the consumption of products and services based on originality. This trend stems from the loss of individuality generated by the rapid effects of globalization and by the rather slow emergence of the diversity concept.
The year 2019 will be the year of diversity and activism. For example, we will see more photographs of women, races and ethnicities and the use of portraits with docile postures—but full of meaning—will increase.
Mestizo consumers openly share their desire to exalt their own identity through consumer experimentation. Brands must face the challenge by satisfying their identity concerns.
The ultra-observed millennials are the “new adults” of this generation and face challenges with very different perspectives from previous generations. These new adults are immersed in various consumption models that affect (and resolve) their daily lives, such as remote work, services that respond to the collaborative economy, the development of e-commerce.
New consumers are constantly seeking to convert their pressures and responsibilities into something easier to manage. Brands and companies can serve as a resource to “facilitate” the day-to-day life of these generations through new tools, products, services, experiences and consumption models.
An example of this type of flexibility can be seen in coworking spaces (a working model that has become popular in recent years), which allows professionals to share the same workspace with others.
“Coworking spaces give you the possibility of connecting with other professionals and entrepreneurs. This model seeks to create a sense of ‘community’ and foster constant exchange between professionals, enriching work, performance, and work wellbeing.”
Pablo Cardozo, Community and alliances manager of AreaTres Work Place
The Reign of the Voice
Voice recognition has started to modify the way in which the consumer relates to the environment in his/her day-to-day life to such an extent that it’s been capturing the attention of different sectors and causing brands to incorporate this new method of interaction. Using the voice has become more than a product; it has become an experience.
Amazon announced that it intends to sell 113 million Echo devices in the coming years, and although they currently lead this sector, competition in the device market is expected to be fierce: Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant are just a few of its main competitors. This voice trend is permeating and being implemented in other consumer moments, changing the ways of relating to products and brands in all sectors.
Ultimately, it’s not just about making existing content fit a device’s considerations. The voice recognition trend suggests that brands and businesses need to reconsider their product design, their relationships with partners and consumers and even their organizational structure.
It’s hard to imagine what our lives would be like nowadays without tech devices. New generations are constantly surrounded by screens that intuitively provide them with information in different formats. However, dependence on technology is becoming alarming—the question is: should we be blaming brands for it?
To keep up with generational trends, brands are integrating technology in their buying and selling processes and interfering with socialization modes. This provides us the tools, but they must be used responsibly to guarantee the psychological well-being of generations to come.
In 2030, it is estimated that 80% of all customer contact will be made through artificial intelligence. That is too much. Fortunately, we still have time to think of new reforms and initiatives alongside brands to help consumers invest in the troublesome area of social (dis)connection.
“The issue of social isolation, or mass consumption of technology instead of personal contact, is of particular importance in the relationship between brands and their customers. There is no doubt that contact through digital platforms is very effective from a coverage point of view but it’s also ultimately up to brands to distance their target audiences from technological isolation, and provide them with emotional experiences only available through human contact.”
Ricardo Tomaz, Strategic Marketing and External Relations for SIVA
The eSports “boom” gained prominence in 2018, and most likely will continue to do so in the upcoming years. By 2020, more than 300 million people USD $1.5 trillion in annual revenue.
This sudden growth is a golden opportunity for brands and companies looking to connect with an audience beyond their reach. The boom is a direct consequence of changes in consumer habits consumers who increasingly choose to move away from traditional TV to streaming.
Companies of all sizes are eager to join the eSports movement. Facebook, for example, has bought exclusive rights to four popular tournaments. But the key question is: what is the correct way of providing something of value to the eSports universe and entering it credibly? Brands must follow consumer habits and take the fundamental leap towards streaming platforms, social networks and live events – then, they must prepare for the fierce competition that exists in the digital world.
The Streaming War
Consumers are becoming more and more demanding with the content they want to receive. They are willing to make changes in order to obtain a more personalized service tailored to their tastes, seeking quality rather than quantity. The changes in content consumption in recent years are determined by the on-demand generation (Generation Z), affecting the business model of various sectors, from telecommunications to entertainment.
Traditional Hollywood talents are now seeking a greater streaming presence to reposition themselves as brands, as YouTube stars are outperforming them in terms of audience recognition.
¨The 2019 trend for content platforms is that they will continue to grow at an accelerated rate. Large platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video are investing more and more of their budgets in original content, forcing paid-TV to change and causing brands to seek more authentic and transparent ways of reaching consumers”.
Julio De Los Santos, Digital Marketing and Trademarketing Manager, Banco BHD León
According to an Ericsson study, 30% of participants recognized that the speed at which technology is developing makes it impossible for them to keep up to date with its capabilities and abilities. Efforts to learn and relearn are increasingly becoming an endless race.
Brands must adapt and prepare for this whirlwind of data to not lose opportunities with respect to consumer behavior (and therefore perceptions). Many see it as a great opportunity that will further accelerate learning and thereby increase the new needs of the labor market.
As Kevin Kelly points out in his book “The Inevitable,” one of the great trends which will guide us in the coming years has to do with “flowing:” letting ourselves be carried along by a stream of change in which our own capabilities will have to adapt to learning and forgetting at an ever-increasing speed in order to navigate in a constantly changing environment.
Open Source Sustainability
Consumers are increasingly inclined to prefer brands that can go beyond standard sustainability platforms to achieve relevant impact. Brands are transcending their own limits, adding value and freely sharing their knowledge and technologies to offer effective solutions to numerous problems in today’s world.
Various studies and success stories presented throughout 2018 have shown how the average consumer tends to pay more attention to companies that make their initiatives cause a positive impact on the general aspects of human life.
It is true that the consumer values aspects such as price or offer. However, the true notoriety of a brand is achieved through the generation of emotional experiences, which contribute to the loyalty and purchase decisions of consumers.
“The progress of initiatives that impact the future development of society, in relation to its needs and expectations, is vital to strengthen our role as an actor that leads the sustainable growth of our communities”.
Martha Arbelaez, Marketing and Communications Director of Nestlé Colombia
Citizen brands are characterized by having a clear purpose of improving the world in a way that is relevant to their business. Many of these companies have active internal functioning policies and social responsibility activities with which they contribute to these purposes.
In the December 2018 study “From Me to Us: The Emergence of Purpose-Based Brands,” involving more than 30,000 consumers worldwide, 62% of respondents wanted companies to have ties to social, cultural, environmental and political issues close to them. It doesn’t seem like a good time to remain neutral. And in today’s world of hypertransparency, it’s no good hiding behind a low profile either.
So, what should companies do to avoid losing competitiveness in this new scenario? Put who they are into words, what their soul is, what they do and why they are here in a sense that transcends mere business activity. Companies must truly describe their purpose in the world.
Juan José Tirado
Hugo Valdez Padilla