We are on a mission to help our clients accelerate the future of brand experience forward, faster. To this end, we commissioned research from MBA students at Northeastern University D’Amore McKim School of Business. One of their findings was that clients would value more insight to help them navigate the constantly evolving brand experience landscape. This led us to the creation of our four Genuine X innovation platforms, and to the belief that in the future, effective experiences will be Immersive, Responsive, Curated and Connected.
In this article we’ll be giving you an overview of each of these four innovation platforms, along with some of the landscape shifts that sit within them. Look out in the coming months for new articles in this series where we will be exploring these in more depth with our clients and partners.
- Immersive: Recasting the physical and virtual environment to create brave new worlds
- Responsive: Anticipating user needs through experiences that sense, measure and react
- Curated: Responsibly harnessing data to create hyper-personalised, ultra-relevant experiences
- Connected: Creating compelling, consistent and continuous experiences across brand ecosystems
Innovation platform 01: Immersive
We all know that people are wired for stories. Stories are the currency of our experience, captivating our attention in a loud and saturated world. But whilst the art of storytelling is as old as humanity itself, the technologies we use to tell these stories are constantly evolving. We’re here to guide you through a new era of technological storytelling that will delight audiences around the world. Here are some of the landscape shifts we’re exploring.
Shift 1 / The immersive economy is set to boom
Developments in AR, VR, MR and XR (extended reality) are creating an ‘immersive economy’ that blends the physical and digital worlds. According to Digi-Capital, VR experiences will be worth $15Bn by 2022. This is dwarfed by ‘ubiquitous’ augmented reality, with a potential audience of billions and a projected worth of $90Bn by the same year.
Shift 2 / Content anywhere, anytime
Here’s a fact for you: 5% of content gets 90% of attention. To some this might seem intimidating, but we take it as confirmation that only well-crafted content that understands its audience and tells a compelling brand story will cut through the clutter in a world competing for people’s attention. The upcoming 5G era will also transform how this content is delivered, reaching and impacting audiences wherever they may be with 4K and immersive content.
Shift 3 / Building dynamic worlds
Don’t worry – despite all the acronyms, ‘real’ reality will still be a thing. Advances in technology are enabling us to create ever more dynamic, sensorial and awe-inspiring worlds. Genuine X is constantly unearthing new and pioneering solutions, from object-tracking projection mapping, to ways of mesmerising audiences with crisp 360 degree sound and perception-changing environments.
As ever, it’s not enough to use a new technology for its own sake. Why recreate a physical store in AR, when you could create a brand-new world? We will collaborate with clients to surface best practice, unexpected talent and techniques that will enable us harness these emerging platforms to tell a new generation of immersive brand stories.
Innovation platform 02: Responsive
Forget the fixed, static environments of years gone by. ‘Smart’ spaces anticipate the needs of audiences and invite interaction, sensing and adapting to how people are using them. A raft of new creative disciplines are combining to bring these responsive digital experiences to life; here are some of the most exciting landscape shifts.
Shift 1 / ‘Zero UI’ drives more natural interactions
The era of touchscreen dominance is being challenged by a new wave of user interfaces, powered by voice, gesture, touch, facial recognition, smart objects and more. These more ‘natural’ interfaces are delighting audiences thanks to intuitive ways of engaging with content. User expectations and behaviours are changing at a rapid rate: ComScore reports that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020 and Google reports that 62% of users plan to make a purchase through their smart speakers over the coming month.
Shift 2 / Sensor and analytics networks boost measurement capabilities
Measurement has been a long-standing challenge in our industry. How can we ‘close the loop’, demonstrating the correlation between brand experience and purchase? Deploying sensor and analytics networks is a major step in that direction, providing us with a big-picture view of how people engage with a space at scale. Bain & Company predicts that the combined markets of IoT will more than double by 2021, with a worth of $520Bn compared with $235Bn in 2017, with data centres and analytics the fastest growing segment.
Shift 3 / Creating more effective avenues of testing and iteration
Responsive is also about being agile and effective in how we work. We’ve signed an exclusive deal with an augmented emotional intelligence platform, built on a data set of over 1.6 billion emotional reactions, that enables us to anticipate the emotional responses of audiences to both content and physical spaces before they go live. This gives us a platform from which we can quickly respond and iterate – without employing expensive and time-consuming focus groups.
This is an exciting time for both agencies and brands. New technologies are breaking down longstanding barriers and enabling us to embrace more agile, transparent and intelligent ways of working. This will ultimately deliver more responsive experiences that offer greater value for your brand and your customers.
Innovation platform 03: Curated
According to IBM, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day – and 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years. This wealth of data gives us the opportunity to create more curated experiences, tailor-made for an individual rather than a demographic – whilst respecting the ever-evolving conversation about data ethics and privacy. However, our techniques need to improve to deliver a real value exchange. According to Canvas8, whilst 40% of people are happy to exchange their data for personalised advertising, 33% don’t accept it as a valid tactic and 22% find it outright creepy.
Shift 1 / Machine learning & AI
From chatbots to voice assistants, early forms of AI are slowly becoming ubiquitous through our smartphones and in everyday life. According to Accenture, 54% of retail marketers are using AI to personalise content. This means that our expectations are constantly evolving, illustrated by the fact that 48% of people are frustrated when companies don’t deliver relevant or personalised experiences. Figures from Spotify show that 5 billion tracks have been listened to through it’s automated Discover Weekly playlist. There’s a significant gap between the marketing hype and the practical applications of AI, but this gap is closing all the time.
Shift 2 / Data visualisation
The more data we generate, the more important it becomes to be able to present that data in a meaningful and insightful way. Data visualisation is a powerful tool and the opportunity to analyse data is shifting from spreadsheets to interactive 2D visualisations and immersive 3D worlds that brings millions of data points to life in a way that can be intuitively explored.
Shift 3 / Power to the user
Data and privacy regulation are major priorities for governments worldwide. The introduction of GDPR in the EU has created a new norm that’s being adopted by start-ups and companies outside of its jurisdiction. Beyond this, start-ups such as DataWallet and Wibson are envisioning a future where blockchain empowers people to be the brokers of their own data, sharing and even selling their information, with Wibson estimating that an average user’s data is worth a minimum of $240 per year.
Personalised marketing needs to evolve. With new companies stepping in to protect consumer’s data, brands need to do more than just chase consumers around the internet with items they’ve recently browsed. We need to hit the mark by offering meaningful value; otherwise we’re going to be frozen out.
Innovation platform 04: Connected
Telling a consistent and emotionally powerful brand story across multiple touchpoints is key to becoming (or remaining) the automatic first choice for your customers. Marketing spend on brand experiences continues to rise year-on-year. And yet, according to our Experience Brand Index, which comprises of research spanning 6,000 people and three continents, only 41% of US consumers believe brands are living up to their promise. The most successful brands are experience brands that see touch points as proof points, boasting a 200% higher NPS score and a 25% increase in customer loyalty. ‘Connected’ is about joining the dots to create compelling, consistent and continuous experiences across your brand ecosystem.
Shift 1 / Joining the dots
The world of brand experience has often been siloed from other marketing channels and touch points, which can make it difficult to accurately measure the impact of brand experience on sales. With every touchpoint now being referred to as a ‘brand experience’, brands are joining the dots to create integrated campaigns. We predict that marketing channels will become increasingly connected, enabling brands to develop a more holistic understanding of how their channels influence both their audiences and one another.
Shift 2 / Reaching new audiences
Live experience is being democratised, and advances in technology mean that events that were once ‘invite only’ can now be experienced by millions of people that aren’t physically in the room. Our ideas of what it means to be ‘present’ are shifting, with the best remote experiences actively adding to the experience – by providing backstage access, exclusive content, or a perspective not available to those who are physically ‘there’. In addition to this, live experiences are becoming a ‘content factories’ that can feed numerous channels for a sustained period, greatly extending the lifespan, value and reach of a single event.
Shift 3 / Turn your brand into the experience
Data, content and technology mean that each touchpoint can allow consumers to dive deeper than ever into your brand, and to also have an active role in shaping your brand story. This mutual relationship creates a strong emotional bond in audiences who feel like they have a stake in the brand’s ever-evolving story.
The rise of the CXO gives focus on the need to extend your brand in a compelling, consistent and continuous way across your experience ecosystem. Our understanding of brand experience has transformed in recent years, from ‘live’ events to a connected ecosystem that delivers a personalised experience of your brand promise at every touchpoint.