Where 2015 was a year for establishing and building on the innovation of previous years, 2016 promises to be a year of huge change.
While no one can predict with perfect accuracy what lies ahead, there are certain trends you should be prepared for.
While you would expect the coming year to be championed by those larger brands that have the budgets and the desire to innovate and to lead, 2016 will see smaller brands challenging in ways never before considered possible. In part because costs have relatively speaking, come down, but also because consumers are now leading brand communication. Interestingly this will make it increasingly hard for behemoth agency groups to meet these needs. (As an aside this may well lead to even more brands using smaller, more dynamic agencies.) That’s not to say that their days are numbered, simply that their budgets will either shrink, or in an attempt to be meet the requirement for even more localized content, will grow.
Content, content, content
If the past few years have taught us anything, it is that consumers are getting increasingly lazy and want their entertainment spoon-fed. Whether you like it or not, this means now, more so than ever, brands must have a plan for ongoing video content. Content that is updated on a regular basis and meets the expectations of smaller, rather than the larger amorphous populace.
The rise of macro clusters
You may think that it is becoming increasingly easy to reach large groups of people, while this is in part true, what we’re also seeing is the rise in ‘macro clusters’. Groups of individuals who are connected by their love and their passion for specific content. Spanning demographics in age these niche groups, are well-informed and if you can connect with them and supply them with the content they crave, make for highly motivated brand ambassadors.
2016 will finally see the commonplace use of smart, wearable technology that connects consumers with the world around them. From fridges to heating, heart monitors to music, the boundaries of what was technology have finally been blurred and the brands that embrace this fundamental shift this year will have a huge leap on their competitors. For instance Firefox OS has already made the leap and has shifted to become Connected Devices – giving a clear indication of where they see the future to be.
Data comes full circle
Big data and been around and has been used by most brands for sometime now, what this year promises though is, thanks to smart wearable technology, data that is even more detailed and personal. While this will obviously be highly beneficial for brands and will afford them even greater understanding of their customers, consumers will for the first time start to realize the value of this data. Therefore they’ll start to look at ways that they can either control the flow of this personal information, or may even go a step further and will start to consider cutting off its availability completely. All of which means brands are going to have to be more transparent with the data they’re collecting and will have to start looking at ways they can reward consumers for sharing this intelligence.
However, for all of this, it will still be those brands, large or small, that listen to their customers and have the willingness and the ability to be fleet of foot that will continue to prosper.