David G. Natal – Global Director of Consumer Engagement at LLORENTE & CUENCA
With a citizen that evolves with increasing speed and some organisations that find change difficult, the gap between brands and consumers is growing every day.
In a context of post-demographic and post-transactional consumerism, in which we are restricted by the economy of attention, we have developed a taste for personalisation and the ephemeral. We call for transparency in organisations and both entertainment and information, and the global and the local, or offline and theonline tend to converge. In the meantime, brands are still engaged in the search for the Holy Grail of engagement, and sometimes forget that to achieve this, it is necessary to have a (r)evolution of communication and marketing, which involves responding to various challenges.
- PHYGITAL or how to create an experience in which the digital and the physical are only one.
Phenomena such as the Amazon Go beta put us in front of a future retail model in which the physical and digital converge. As consumers, we demand an integral experience in which the physical needs to take on aspects of the digital, such as immediacy and disintermediation, while digital will need to adapt to our spatial requirements through the use of virtual, augmented or mixed reality.
- Storydoing or are we able to create stories with the communities that will provide value?
Beyond telling stories, the advantage is increasingly on the side of brands that are able to create them in order to contribute value to their communities. Historical examples such as Creators Project by Intel and Vice, Red Bull Music Academy by Red Bull or the scholarships We are dying to live in Aquarius, are proof that when brands are committed to generating value for their communities, almost always it is a win-win situation.
- Smart Data or how do we structure the data to pre-empt needs or solve problems?
Over and above the buzzword Big Data, brands will have to understand that the data is well structured and is an inexhaustible source of knowledge about the consumer. This will mean that we will not be able to delegate management exclusively to figures such as the Data Analyst, but others, such as the Director of Marketing, will be increasingly involved in the structuring of data that aimsto improve the customer experience.
- Artificial Intelligence, or how do we integrate the emotional dimension of our company in a context of efficiency?
Kevin Kelly, editor of Wired, says that whenever machines can replace humans, they will do so if the focus of the activity is to seek efficiency. This renders us as limited human resources in activities where efficiency is not the most decisive factor, such as creativity or innovation. In this context, brands that are already using artificial intelligence in matters ranging from home automation to algorithms, including chatbots, will have to find a way not to lose their emotional dimension along the way.
- Immersive content or what brand experience do we want our consumer to have?
Faced with a virtual reality focusing on the world of entertainment that blocked our vision and limited our movements, the past year marked the beginning of the era of integration. The successful development of HoloLens or Pokemon Go are just a few signs of immersive technologies that add value by converging the experience of reality with the potential of the digital.
- Advocacy,or how can we get communities to be involved and recommend us?
Over and above tangential topics such as the depletion of the paid influencers model, the real challenge for brands is to be able to mobilise brand ambassadors that share their values and promote conversation. In this regard, employees are still the great asset of credibility to be developed in many companies.
- Innovation for ecosystems and not for devices, or how do we move ahead to deliver real value to the user experience?
Faced with the tide of apps and developments for devices of the past few years, innovation focuses more each day on improving the ecosystems of consumption. Brands such as Netflix, where innovation flows horizontally, are an example of a model searching for a constant upgrade of user experience, over the device on which it take place.
- Branded Entertainment or how was entertainment the window of attention that we wanted and had not seen?
Having overcome the hype of branded content and the fallacy of “content is king”, the discussion is focusing more and more on entertainment, not only as a customer service network, but even, in the case of brands like Lego, Amazon or Red Bull, as a business model.
- Instant micro-content, or is the future of companies to promote content or frameworks of meaning?
With millions of users generating fleeting content every day on platforms such as Instagram Stories, the question we have to ask ourselves is whether in fact brands will become the major platforms of content of the future or whether they will be generating frameworks of meaning, in other words, grouping conversation.
- Purpose, or why we do what we do and how it can improve the world?
The tenth challenge is in fact the first and foremost. The necessary definition of the WHY of brands is essential, as has been demonstrated in cases such as the recent success of Lego, to be able to articulate a purpose built ‘with’ their consumers and not ‘for’ them.
The capacity for brands to become the brands of tomorrow will depend on their ability to respond to some or all of these challenges.