AdWeek Europe: Which Emerging Trends Should You Persuade Your Board To Worry About?
Consumers will choose four or five brands as lifestyle partners that they trust to help them run their lives.
Conversational commerce, the future of value, and pressured lives are three of the key trends for business identified recently by the Future Foundation. But how do you get their importance across to your board?
That was the question posed by Future Foundation MD Meabh Quorin in the Advertising Week Europe session “Boots + Barclays: Predictions for the Boardroom.” What should you pitch to the CEO?
Quorin introduced the topic of conversational commerce with the statistic that 42% of people who follow brands on social media think that brands should follow them back. And she also revealed that the percentage of the population open to sharing their data with brands is increasing—from 69% in 2012 to 76% last year, and predicted to reach 80% by 2018.
Paul Bosher, global head of research at Walgreens Boots Alliance, argued that as consumers move along a continuum that runs from exchanging their email address for free wifi at an airport to sharing hair, urine, and blood samples in order to get personalised skincare products, the crucial element in their relationships will be trust.
“Consumers will choose four or five brands as lifestyle partners that they trust to help them run their lives.”
Chris Pearce, CEO of marketing agency TMW Unlimited, highlighted the suggestion from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg that no one actually likes talking to brands, so the future of conversational commerce lies with bots.
“This is coming,” Pearce argued, “it’s only the timing that’s debatable. Brands are going to have to think about how consumers want to communicate with them.”
Discussing the future of value, Tim Hulbert, MD, group head insight & research at Barclays, highlighted the two different paths emerging: what he called the “ultimate bespoking of everything” for the “haves” and the reliance of the “have-nots” on simple comparative data.
But Bosher saw things as less clear-cut. The key element for him was customer engagement.
“Personalisation is only the means,” he said. “The end is the value you generate. Some people may not want the hyper-personal, they may not engage with it.”
The panellists discussed the impact of VR in the final section of the session, which looked at the effect of our pressured lives. Pearce suggested that VR is only going to raise customer expectations of brand experiences. But Bosher argued that VR will become humdrum, and the real challenge it will pose for brands will be to create real experiences that consumers value beyond VR.
And Hulbert’s view was that brand owners need to use brand purpose as their yardstick for involvement with technology.
“Companies should play with the different technologies to see if they create better experience for customers,” he said, “but they shouldn’t be afraid to walk away if it doesn’t add to the offer.”