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Think forward 2017

  1. 1. “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” R. Buckminster Fuller; designer, inventor, architect
  2. 2. FOREWARD Mobbie Nazir Chief Strategy Officer The pace of innovation in everyday life is accelerating, driving ever increasing consumer expectations from brands. What’s more, these increasing levels of expectation do not just impact industry sectors in isolation. They spread and build momentum across industries, products and experiences. For example, in the UK 55% of online consumers now expect their healthcare system to have the same level of customer service as companies such as Amazon. In this, our second edition of Think Forward, we have combined our knowledge of social behaviour with consumer trends experts to take a look at some of the social trends that are changing people's expectations of how they engage and interact with the world around them. These trends provide a fascinating source of inspiration for brands looking to get ahead of the impact of shifts in social trends both now and the future.
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION David Mattin Global Head of Trends & Insights At TrendWatching our obsession is consumer trends. Where consumerism is now, and where it's heading next. We know that when it comes to trends around technology, social connection and new digital behaviours, that's an obsession we share with We Are Social. This collaboration on the second Think Forward report couldn't be a more natural fit. The resulting report combines We Are Social's deep knowledge of digital and social with our overview of the global consumer, fueled by a network of thousands of spotters all over the world. Looking across the 9 trends featured in this report, it’s clear that they combine to deliver one powerful message. That is: while the world around us changes, human nature – at its most fundamental – remains stable. In 2017 and beyond it will be the brands and businesses that can use emerging technologies to serve deep and age-old human needs that will prosper. Read, enjoy, and, most importantly, act.
  4. 4. METHODOLOGY We have trendspotters in each of our 11 global offices who are briefed to look for key social trends in business, content, culture and technology. We also use a variety of external trendspotters, including
  5. 5. CONTENTS TECHNOLOGY CONTENT CULTURE BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY 1 Chatbots - the rise of instant interaction 2 Facilitating intimacy CONTENT 3 Helpful voyeurs 4 A living legacy CULTURE 5 Anti-advocacy 6 Digital equilibrium BUSINESS 7 The IoST 2.0: winning our trust 8 Behaviour as currency 9 Socially smart money
  6. 6. WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE A DESIRE TO BUILD CONNECTIONS We are social animals who are always seeking opportunities to make new connections and strengthen existing ones. There will always be opportunities to cater for this desire, both online, and in the real world. WE WANT IT NOW We live in the era of the ‘unreasonable consumer’, where we expect everything on-demand, with minimal effort. Thanks to our ridiculous expectations we are seeing new ideas flourish everywhere. WHAT’S DRIVING THESE TRENDS We have identified three overarching drivers that have had a hand in moving the 9 trends mapped in this report. These include shifts in our relationship with technology, as well as psychological drivers that have helped facilitate these new ideas, movements and businesses. TECHNOLOGY HAS OUR TRUST In a world where millennials spend almost one whole day of every week on their phones, our increased trust is breaking barriers regarding who we speak to, what we do online and what we share with others.
  8. 8. TREND 1: CHATBOTS - THE RISE OF INSTANT INTERACTION The likes of Facebook Messenger and Slack opening up their platforms to “chatbots” heralds the beginning of a new era of opportunities for messaging-as-a-platform. However, while most developers still obsess over making chatbots that feel close to human, the great ones understand that it’s not the AI element that makes chatbots innovative, it’s their ability to fulfil consumer needs through simple, instant action and interaction. 1EFFORT LEVEL - MEDIUM TIME TO MAINSTREAM - 6 MONTHS
  9. 9. DO NOT PAY TRULIA @DOMTHEPIZZABOT Dubbed as “the world’s first robot lawyer”, DoNotPay helps users contest parking tickets through working out whether an appeal is possible through a series of simple questions, and then guides users through the appeals process. Sick of chatting to dishonest, slimy estate agents? The Trulia chatbot gives you straight, honest answers about listings and the neighbourhood, like the median age of residents and the number of neighbours who are single. Domino’s Pizza and We Are Social recently launched a bot that makes ordering pizza quicker and easier than it has ever been before. Just type “pizza” and through it’s Easy Order account, one will be sent to your doorstep immediately. CHATBOTS-THERISEOFINSTANTINTERACTIONS EXAMPLES
  10. 10. CHATBOTS - THE RISE OF INSTANT INTERACTION WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS While there’s a good chance that chatbots will begin to replace branded apps, developers are often failing to understand why it is that we want to interact with them. The fact is that we only enjoy texting when it’s saving us time, and equally, dislike lengthy “chats” with chatbots. Brands should make it as easy for consumers as possible, which means it’s ok to include buttons and suggested questions in your chatbot interface. Because it’s less about making them replicate humans, and more about making them as efficient as possible for the humans that interact with them. 1
  11. 11. DO IT THINK ABOUT Do it if you have an opportunity to utilise the chatbot interface to help your consumers get what they want faster than they could through any of your other apps and online channels. While tens of thousands of chatbots have already been developed, they are still in their infancy. Now that the rush to market has begun slowing down it may be worth waiting until the technology is more solid and it’s easier to create great chatbots. SKIP IT If you’re interested in the novelty value of chatbots we’re afraid you’re a little late to the game. CHATBOTS - THE RISE OF INSTANT INTERACTION WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
  12. 12. TREND 2: FACILITATING INTIMACY While technology has often been perceived as something that creates distance between us, we are finding more and more ways to use it to reinforce our social bonds and satisfy our fundamental needs for intimacy and closeness. EFFORT LEVEL - MEDIUM TIME TO MAINSTREAM - 6 MONTHS 2
  13. 13. SKOL BEATS PILLOWTALK THE JIGSAW Skol Beats designed masquerade masks that incorporate a colour-based match system. After syncing Facebook profiles, the masks connect potential suitors by lighting up green if the pair have a lot in common. A wristband that lets long-distance lovers fall asleep to the sound of each other's heartbeat by transmitting one person’s heart rhythm and transmitting it to the other via an app. In Bulgaria 70% of men watch footie games by themselves, so Heineken set up an outdoor screen divided into 80 squares, each activated by one of 80 seats in front of it. In order to view the match, all of the seats needed to be filled, encouraging viewers to invite friends to come and join them to “unlock” the whole screen. FACILITATINGINTIMACY EXAMPLES
  14. 14. FACILITATING INTIMACY WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS This presents an opportunity for brands to have a hand in facilitating new relationships, nurture existing ones and help to increase mutual offline understanding. 2
  15. 15. DO IT THINK ABOUT Does your brand help bring people together? If so, this is a great opportunity to use tech innovation to help your audience to connect with each other. Facilitating offline connections, especially intimate ones, can often be a private affair. You’ll have to win the consumers’ trust in order for them to let you help them connect with others offline. SKIP IT If your brand doesn’t champion offline connections, you’ll have trouble encouraging people to engage with any initiatives of this nature. FACILITATING INTIMACY WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
  17. 17. TREND 3: HELPFUL VOYEURS In the last report we documented voyeurism 2.0 as we noticed an increasing taste for peering over the garden fence into the intimate lives of others, from watching others eating, playing games or dating. As the stigma of voyeurism wears off, people are finding ways of using onlookers to their advantage. Those who want to be in the limelight are inviting people in and encouraging social feedback to help them in situations where a second (or several more) pair of eyes can help. EFFORT LEVEL - MEDIUM TIME TO MAINSTREAM - 12 MONTHS 3
  18. 18. NATTR BOOMPI CROWDPILOT Crowdsource opinions on relationship messages by tapping into a phonebook of professional scriptwriters, copywriters and comedians who will suggest funny, smart or flirtatious responses to text messages. Lets women invite girlfriends to eavesdrop and comment on conversations with date app matches. Helps you through difficult social situations by inviting a group of your friends or professional assistants along to listen in and assist you through your smartphone. HELPFULVOYEURS EXAMPLES
  19. 19. HELPFUL VOYEURS WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS With voyeurism shaping up to become more interactive than ever, brands have an opportunity to help consumers connect with the public and encourage friends or even strangers to help them out with everyday situations. 3
  20. 20. DO IT THINK ABOUT Do you work for a brand that prides itself in helping people? Do you think your consumers have the courage to open up their lives to others and accept help from them? Then there’s a real potential for you to tap into this trend. To create opportunities for both voyeurism and real time social feedback requires money and time, so you need to be dedicated. SKIP IT Not all companies want to or should get involved in trends that involve this kind of radical transparency, especially if there’s privacy concerns in your sector. HELPFUL VOYEURS WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
  21. 21. TREND 4: A LIVING LEGACY Counter to the rise of ephemeral communication, the prospect of living on as data is making us think about how we want to be remembered. While society encourages us to seek personal fulfillment, it also fuels our desire to make a meaningful contribution and ensure our impact will be remembered long after we have departed this mortal coil. In the future our social footprint will play an increasingly important part in this legacy. 4EFFORT LEVEL - HIGH TIME TO MAINSTREAM - 2+ YEARS
  22. 22. LUKA AI’S @ ROMAN SAFEBEYOND ETERNI.ME When the founder of AI startup Luka AI’s best friend passed away she built a chatbot based off his online footprint as a digital memorial for everyone to interact with. Allows a person to leave a virtual legacy after they have passed away, so that they can continue to communicate with their loved ones beyond the grave, and provide them with words of wisdom and encouragement. Preserves your most important thoughts, stories and memories for eternity. Reconstructs your memories and mannerisms from your social content to create an “avatar” that people can interact with. ALIVINGLEGACY EXAMPLES
  23. 23. A LIVING LEGACY WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS While insurance brands or end-of-life services may find direct opportunities, we see the real value in tackling the underlying motivation here, and helping people to create an online footprint that ensures they leave a legacy they are proud of. 4
  24. 24. DO IT THINK ABOUT This is a tricky path for brands to tread. But if you have the power to influence what your consumers do online in a substantial way, you can find a way to help them leave a meaningful legacy. Mortality and death is not an easy topic to approach for any brand, so only embrace this trend if you are serious about helping your consumers in a meaningful way. SKIP IT Only a handful of brands have a relationship deep and trusting enough with their consumer base for them to be able to credibly broach a topic like this. A LIVING LEGACY WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
  26. 26. TREND 5: ANTI-ADVOCACY Bigotry in the social sphere is as old as social media itself, but until now we haven’t been able to do much else than look on in horror and click delete as quickly as possible. Counter to the trend of amplifying positive sentiment, now people are combining technology with wit to publicly disapprove and shame the trolls who previously thought they could hide behind their screens. EFFORT LEVEL - MEDIUM TIME TO MAINSTREAM - 6 MONTHS 5
  27. 27. VIRTUAL RACISM, REAL CONSEQUENCES CALAISAID TROLLAID TRUMP TEXT BOT Brazil had a problem with racist tweets, so a local organisation identified the geo-locations of these tweets and enlarged them onto billboards for all the perpetrators’ neighbours to see. The refugee aid organisation had a problem with people posting hostile comments, so they launched a bot that would reply to each comment with a link to donate money to the cause - the more the trolls trolled, the more they were helping bring in donations to Calais Action. The Hillary for America campaign developed a “Text the Trump” bot that responds with controversial or offensive statements from a database of things he has publically said. ALIVINGLEGACY EXAMPLES
  28. 28. ANTI-ADVOCACY WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS While it is common for brands to take a stance on a wide range of ethical and political topics in a bid to align their values with those of their consumers, they have often been scared to take a more proactive stance amidst fear of creating conflict. However, it’s now time to switch from defense to offense and help society to publicly shame the trolls. 5
  29. 29. DO IT THINK ABOUT Consumers are increasingly looking to brands to not only share their values, but expect them to use their power, media budget and influence to really make a difference. Fighting back against unfairness takes courage and forces your brand out of the comfort zone. Are you ready to make that commitment? SKIP IT This is about taking a legitimate stance. If you’re looking for a PR stunt, this isn’t for you. ANTI-ADVOCACY WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
  30. 30. TREND 6: DIGITAL EQUILIBRIUM In the last Think Forward we covered the “anti-social” trend, where consumers were beginning to reject an ‘always on’ lifestyle. But rather than technology being all-or-nothing, we are now beginning to find a halfway point between digital dependency and analogue bliss. EFFORT LEVEL - MEDIUM TIME TO MAINSTREAM - ONGOING 6
  31. 31. PUNKPOST VILLA STÉPHANIE THE LIGHT PHONE Pining for a time when we’d all receive personal letters and cards in the mail, Punkpost is an app that allows you to send hand-written cards without the pain of actually writing them. All you have to do is type your copy in a text message and an illustrator will do the rest. The luxury spa provides guests with a digital detox retreat by successfully blocking out 96% of cellular signals and WiFi. However, guests are able to flip an activation switch to reengage with their tech. Simplified phone the size of a credit card that is designed to be used as little as possible. Connects to your actual phone, forwarding on those important calls from your mom and boss, but ignores everything else. DIGITALEQUILIBRIUM EXAMPLES
  32. 32. DIGITAL EQUILIBRIUM WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS If your brand can offer an experience that straddles the vacuum between the ubiquity of technology and our desire for digital detox, you’ll be able to resonate with those that seek a more healthy relationship with their screens. 7
  33. 33. DO IT THINK ABOUT Do this if your brand can offer an experience that can provide a form of digital detox without cutting them out completely. You’ll find that people will pay good money for this. As the anti-social movement becomes better integrated into our lives, solutions shouldn’t just be about putting a stop to digital habits, but about helping people develop a more balanced relationship with with their devices. SKIP IT If your brand has always been about championing the transition to digital, suddenly pushing for healthier screen habits may seem a little disingenuous. DIGITAL EQUILIBRIUM WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
  35. 35. TREND 7: THE INTERNET OF SOCIAL THINGS 2.0: WINNING OUR TRUST Common household appliances, products and skills are already part of the sharing economy. But mistrust of strangers and the internet of social things has kept this trend from expanding into more niche services that involve areas like our health, loved ones and luxury services. But as our trust of online peers increases, we are accepting the internet of social things into these areas of our lives. 7EFFORT LEVEL - MEDIUM TIME TO MAINSTREAM - ONGOING
  36. 36. ZUM UBER POOL STRATAJET Safe and on-demand car trips for children from (certified and trusted) drivers. If ever there was an indication that the this trend is becoming mainstream then uber’s ride sharing service ‘POOL’ is it. Thousands of users are taking POOL trips with complete strangers during commutes five times per week. Now that the ultra high-net worth individuals of this world are beginning to trust the sharing economy with their everyday transport, the “uber of private jets” has launched, serving reassuringly luxury routes between London, Paris and Geneva.. THEINTERNETOFSOCIALTHINGS2.0 EXAMPLES
  37. 37. THE INTERNET OF SOCIAL THINGS 2.0 WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS As a brand, the increased trust and salience of the sharing economy means there’s a stronger opportunity than ever to get involved if you have the right product for your consumers to share, or have the ability to connect them to something valuable. 8
  38. 38. DO IT THINK ABOUT The sharing economy used to only be reserved for robust, everyday products (think houses, cars), but now there’s an opportunity for brands that offer more niche, exclusive and personal products. You still have to ensure there’s high enough demand for the goods or services for this to work. SKIP IT Is the product or service cheap or accessible enough without an app? Then move along. THE INTERNET OF SOCIAL THINGS 2.0 WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
  39. 39. TREND 8: BEHAVIOUR AS CURRENCY Thanks to sharing economy businesses like Uber, it's no longer just celebrities and politicians whose behaviour is under scrutiny. Our behaviour is now held to account wherever we are. Now we - like brands - must remain vigilant of how our behaviours are perceived, we rely on this reputation more than ever. EFFORT LEVEL - MEDIUM TIME TO MAINSTREAM - 6 MONTHS 8
  40. 40. PEEPLE ART SERIES HOTEL REVERSE REVIEWS DISCOUNTS FOR POLITENESS Peeple is a reputation application that allows you to recommend and be recommended by the people you interact with in your daily lives. These people are grouped into three categories: Personal, Professional, and Dating. The Australian hotel chain turned the tables on traditional hotel review systems and implemented a new programme called Reverse Reviews where the hotel staff review its guests. The Seven Miles Beach Kiosk in New South Wales, Australia offers coffee at progressively cheaper prices depending on how polite you are when you order. BEHAVIOURASCURRENCY EXAMPLES
  41. 41. BEHAVIOUR AS CURRENCY WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS Traditionally, the commonplace priority for most brands has been to focus all attention on making the customer happy. But now the brand-customer relationship has begun to fundamentally shift. Businesses are beginning to realise that making sure that you have nice customers means you make your staff happy, and in turn, happy staff make happy customers. 8
  42. 42. DO IT THINK ABOUT Does your business operate in an environment in which a rude customer can have immediate and direct negative impacts on other customers? If you’re in the hotel, restaurant, theatre, or gym game this is a particularly powerful opportunity. Just like traditional consumer ratings should always be taken with a pinch of salt, so should ratings that staff give. It’s a potent equalizer, but it’s not an exact science. SKIP IT Is staff / customer interaction limited within your business? Then there’s little point investing in a two-way rating system. BEHAVIOUR AS CURRENCY WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
  43. 43. TREND 9: SOCIALLY SMART MONEY We’ve been using social platforms to send money to each other for a while. Now the way we manage and save money is becoming more social, seeing conversations with AI replace the traditional meetings with your bank manager. EFFORT LEVEL - HIGH TIME TO MAINSTREAM - 12 MONTHS 9
  44. 44. EMBARQ ABSA CHATBANKING CLEO We love to travel but sometimes we need some help to make our globetrotting dreams come true. Air Canada has launched a scheme where you can ask friends and family to help you raise funds for your flights. Communicating through 140 characters has increasingly become the norm, so this South African bank launched ChatBanking on Twitter, allowing customers to complete day-to-day banking actions such as buying airtime or data and checking their balance through tweets, making banking more conversational rather than transactional. What if your bank app acted like that responsible friend that always has your back? Cleo is an A.I. assistant that you can chat with about your personal finance, providing you with regular budget readings and reminders to help you keep track of your spending. SOCIALLYSMARTMONEY EXAMPLES
  45. 45. SOCIALLY SMART MONEY WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BRANDS As we accept social currency into our lives, brands and businesses are finding opportunities to design their services in a way that reflects our increasingly social relationship with money. 9
  46. 46. DO IT THINK ABOUT People are increasingly looking to complete all their day-to-day tasks on the same platforms and in the same ways that they’re familiar with, so providing a social way of offering services or helping them manage their money will hit home. If you’re in the financial industry this trend is particularly relevant. There’s a whole industry vying to steal your customers through innovations that tap into ways in which we can integrate our social and financial lives, so it’s time to start looking into it too if you haven’t already. SKIP IT This is still very much a trend adopted by millennials, so if you’re engaging with an older audience, the adoption rate will be low. SOCIALLY SMART MONEY WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
  47. 47. NEXT STEPS So what should you do with all these trends? We can help you take these social thinking trends and turn them into actions for your brand. If you’ve got the appetite to innovate we can walk you through the process one step at a time. The first step is below: