We’re more than halfway through the smartphone epoch, and as components of the smartphone value chain start to permeate every device, they open up new challenges and new opportunities for media. As the internet expands to fill all the empty spaces in our lives, we’re entering a period of media abundance, and how we reach and engage customers will radically change.
In order to break through, brands will have to deliver true value to consumers – not just with their products, but with their brand message itself. The more interactive, ubiquitous, and intimate our media becomes, the more opportunities brands have to become active participants in our lives. Brand as a Service means going back to first principles, to what your brand truly stands for, and building upward, meeting your customers at a place where you can improve their lives. For some brands, this will be a natural outgrowth of their products and services; for others, it will mean aligning themselves with creators, or new kinds of sponsorship that look beyond the stadium. If you provide meaningful value, consumers will welcome your message and find ways to integrate your brand into their lives. In 2016, all brands become “lifestyle” brands.
We’ve highlighted four key trends that will shape this transformation and forever alter how brands are perceived:
Increasing numbers of devices are able to interact with us using natural language via voice or text input. These Conversational Interfaces will power the next wave of computing as it spreads to our homes, our cars, and our bodies, dramatically altering search and discovery. Along the way, brands will need to develop a brand voice – literally. The upside is that we’ll start to have personal, one-to-one relationships with our customers.
We’re watching as much television as ever, but we’re rapidly shifting from a strict programming grid to search and feed-based discovery, in the living room and across our devices. Appified TV brings us digital measurement and real attribution, empowers new kinds of content, advertising, and virality, and allows branded content to live alongside the best of Hollywood. Every brand can now be its own cable network – so what is your brand binge-watching?
As ecommerce, physical, and on-demand retail become tightly integrated, our smartphones are becoming our passports, connecting our online preferences, profiles, and activities to our offline shopping experiences, and vice versa. Boundless Retail allows consumers continuous access to sellers who build relationships through multiple touchpoints and channels.
The abundance of media – and disrespectful practices some have embraced – is causing a backlash. While mobile ad blockers capture headlines, Ad Avoidance is increasingly an option for consumers across all media types and platforms. In order to reach the most valuable consumers, brands will need to meet them where they are and provide real value to make sure their message is heard, from premium video services to new ways to find and read the news.
Taken together, we believe these trends will be the animating forces that will shape brand interactions in 2016. Let’s take an in-depth look at each of them.