“Top 10 trends” that will inspire brands to “help consumers discover ways to express themselves” | by: Linda Tan | ET Retail

Against the backdrop of a volatile economy and growing inflation, consumers have come to terms with the fact that “Change is the New Normal”.

Acknowledging they cannot have it all, they value experiences and relationships over material things in an attempt to define their identity, find fulfillment and happiness. A desire for a ‘real’ human touch, especially in challenging times often leads people to retreat to local community and like-minded social groups for support. They equip themselves with mobile devices and embrace latest technology to fuel both work and play.

Marketers will need to establish an authentic relationship, find ways to collaborate with consumers to deliver better products, services and champion causes that benefit all.

In 2014 we predict that the ” Top 10 trends will inspire brands” to help consumers discover ways to express themselves and re-establish their identity in their community.

1. Experience Quest — Journey to self discovery : Instead of indulging in material things, consumers choose to hunt for new experiences to explore the unknown, discover possibilities and face surprising encounters. The amalgamation of these experiences is what makes the individual unique and form building blocks of a highly personal story to be shared.

2. The Goal Wrist — Measuring personal success : People are constantly challenging themselves and setting goals to stay ahead in a challenging environment. 2014 is predicted to be ‘the year of wearable devices’. They will be used in a big way to track performance for example health and fitness levels.

3. Community Consumption – Rooted in self interest : The experience of sharing with peers has become a new way to live well for less, whilst enriching it with a personal human connection. The tendency to prefer access over ownership (and all its resulting obligations, costs and responsibilities) exemplifies a generally fun and flexible mode of living and also becomes a key component of self-expression for consumers’ identities.

4. Photographic Timeline — Smart showcase of self : The emergence of a variety of user-friendly photography apps in recent years help unleash our creativity to tell interesting stories. We can expect a more mindful, selective smart sharer and photographer where attention goes to who to share with, what to eternalise and the focus on meaningful value exchange.

5. Creative Collaborators — Unleash unique talents : There is a significant increase in the number of individuals who have created content that stand should to shoulder with professionally produced news and entertainment. In 2014, we anticipate more of these ‘everyday producers’ to collaborate with mainstream publishers, distributors and brands.

6. Death of Piracy — Streaming away the torrents : Many consumers expect digital content should be free. This is changing as the demand for better, relevant and exclusive entertainment or information are key considerations encouraging consumers to pay. With the possibility of cutting out advertising especially in online streaming channels, brands will need to find new and engaging ways to provide content experiences that people value and trust.

7. The Immersive Theatre — Multi-faceted screens : Although we may migrate to different devices, the TV screen in our living room is taking helm once again. The converged living room is converted into a powerful entertainment hub where all play and social life come together – thanks to new forms of gaming, new forms of audience participation and rich social experiences.

8. Biometric Pursuit — Making sense of emotions : Biometric technology, for instance, facial recognition, emotion recognition and voice activation is predicted to be a big hit in 2014. The ability to quantify real-time emotions marks a great leap in how we engage with consumers as emotions act as the gatekeeper and driver of decision making.

9. Intimate Ads — Opting in to shop : We will see an increasing number of brands move into intimate advertising, offering subtle value-rich content that the consumer desires. Powered by the wealth of personal data, content can be curated in accordance with shopper’s needs and interest and at the same time respecting their privacy.

10. High Street To I-street — Reinventing the in store experience : In 2014 and beyond, the high street will become the I-street. Digital technology will step into the ‘real’ retail space to provide personalised and unique experiences. We can expect the retail space becoming a hub of exploration, interactivity and creativity.

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