September 24, 2012
With 92 per cent of global consumers saying they trust "earned media" (word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends and family), above all other forms of advertising, businesses must find ways to "organic" connect with consumers to be successful, says a major consulting firm.
"This is not about your social media marketing strategy or optimization," said trendwatching.com's Global Head of Research, Henry Mason, at the Toronto edition of the London-based consumer trends firm. Mason was speaking at the firm's 2012 Consumer Trend Seminar held at the Design Exchange yesterday.
"In fact, this is not about marketing at all. This is about being (genuinely) liked, if not loved. Then the rest will just happen."
With an abundance of advertising making consumers blasé, companies are being challenged to offer "a consumption arena that is more efficient, more relevant, and more interesting than before," he said.
"There's just this absolute explosion in creativity and innovation on a worldwide scale and the most exciting trend for us, the trend of trends, is that this great stuff is happening all over the world in every industry.
"And the message from us to business people is to look outside of where you traditionally look and see if you can take some inspiration from that and ultimately improve your product and services for your customers."
Mason gave the following examples of trends businesses can take inspiration from:
Tech domestics: Winter Wake-Up is a mobile app that functions as a standard alarm clock, but (by connecting to online weather forecasts) wakes users earlier than usual if there has been unexpected snow or icy conditions during the night.
Safety net: Agentto is a free mobile app from Brazil that provides rapid access to safety services. Users can also create a network with up to 12 people who can be instantly alerted to their precise location in dangerous situations
Real world liking: C&A introduced special Facebook-integrated hangers across stores in Brazil. The hangers display the number of times items have been "Liked" on the brand's Facebook store, updated in real-time, so that shoppers can see the popularity of specific products.
Health apps: The U.K.'s National Health Service (NHS) began to recommend health apps to patients, after finding that 25 per cent of the users of the NHS Choices app or website visited their doctor less frequently.
Super-eco: Launched in Belgium in January 2012, Honest by, is an apparel brand and e-tailer which offers sustainable, fully transparent garment collections for men and women. For every product available on the Honest by site, full information is available on manufacturing (including working conditions), material and supplier sources, pricing, and ethical or organic certifications. As Honest by supports animal welfare, no apparel using leather or fur is available, and wool is certified as recycled, organic or from ethical sources.