Hundreds of the world’s leading brands, from UNICEF to Coca Cola to Twitter, have created an environment in which consumers can compete to get what they want. With the advent of hybrid media intertwining mobile technology with social media and cloud-based content, four growing consumer trends have emerged that change how brands, in turn, compete:
Recession has forced billions to retreat to home, causing an increase in time spent with brands–think entertainment and food, for example. This builds consumer participation beyond just TV viewing. Appointment dynamics remain awesomely powerful – interactions can be organized to inspire collaboration and challenge viewers to work toward a common objective. Marketers have new anticipation engines at their disposal and more power to build the conversation prior to an event, from hash tags and trending through t0 New York Magazine’s Anticipation Index, which mines Twitter to present movies, music, and TV releases that people are looking forward to. Nike’s site for “Unlock the Black Mamba” would serve new content only when a certain rate of TPS (Twitter per second) was reached.
Back to Basics
From farm to truck to fork, consumers are demanding greater accountability and transparency. From the meteoric rise of organic to the recent spat over ingredients via Prop 37, consumers are used to overpaying to get those things – see mail, milk, money and medicine–but we just want to be included. It’s not just food, but all product materials, country of origin, labor conditions, philanthropy and leadership that’s forcing the trend. The world over believes in beneficence, justice and prudence. That’s a triple for hybrid media that can simultaneously enable the experience of millions of consumers to participate. Such a new dynamic enhances the communal experience with TV, and real-time information converges to reinforce the experience.
While TV remains the most powerful window to an event, these handheld interfaces enable multiple pathways to share narrative and interaction with content. Today’s affordable and reliable technology means we can see, hear, taste, touch and smell all sorts of tools for pre-event anticipation, preparation and experience. The actual shopping, interactions and flow, as well as rewards and post-purchase recall, all are supported with orchestrated media, providing the stories that people can gather around.
Changes in consumption patterns hasten the trend for dosing and personalized medicine and will impact the entire marketing process from insight, education and the purchase pathway. Gaming dynamics will play a greater role in “Product Me” in health (health and gaming are mobile’s top five drivers) as complimentary gaming aims to work simultaneously with the content being viewed.
By harnessing the energy of people and creating innovative partnerships like JNJs recent initiative finding innovators, orchestrated media can “include” consumers and immerse them with interaction, synchronizing collaboration programs and companion content across screens. Whether it’s a sponsored show, YouTube or a live event, the second screen adds a layer over the content. This adds a new dimension to learning where inclusion is king and it works across drama, education and non-fiction. This creates opportunities for “conversational choreography” with ideas that, for instance, acknowledge a cause as an attitude, not just a health need, that previously could not have been leveraged.
Today’s consumer is hardwired to participate from anywhere at any time. As Black Friday’s thumping sales demonstrated, everything’s going mobile. This includes people able to move to different places creating many opportunities for localization of brand messaging. With mobile technology and hybrid media there is plenty of upside, but the genie needs to be quantified. If you’re counting on tired, advertising-led strategies and expecting target consumers to “lean back,” you’ll be playing left back.
Pervasive connectivity with social networks like Twitter and Pheed has created lightning fast word-of-mouth and emergent behavior. To tap increased connectivity, major brands are looking to spur the water-cooler effect, creating universal back channels similar to Nike’s World Cup
“Write The Future” campaign. Evidence that brands can become a social object in time that people can swarm around.
Designers are the world’s R&D departments and entrepreneurs the world’s business revolutionaries; the brands created are the connective tissue of societies and social networks. With the amplified role of connected consumers, there are implications for competing to get what we want, negotiating, collaborating and understanding others’ needs, caring for the common good and getting involved – all from our handhelds. Orchestrated media can enable brands to be different and heroic, sharing principles that can make them known for being remarkable and fresh and followed by millions.