Last part, stay with me, it’s time to round this thing up!
If you came along to our last What Next? presentation, you would have heard all about ‘DO brands’. Brands that act as opposed to just say. 2016 will see more and more brands embracing this strategy. Brands acting rather than talking is not a new idea, the concept has been talked about since the 1980’s. What has changed is that the ideas have matured, while the technology to deliver such ideas has become ubiquitous. Add to the mix the shift in control from brands to consumers, and we have reached a kind of tipping point. Consumers now EXPECT brands to stop just asserting their beliefs, and actually start demonstrating value.
So what might ‘DO brands’ actually DO? They might use their position of authority to create meaningful experiences that express their point of view.
The Australian Federal Government Department of Education and Training launched an app in 2015 called ‘Learning Potential’. As the name suggests, the app was developed to help parents unlock the potential for learning within their children. The app was packed full of tips, advice and ideas for parents, whether your child was a preschooler or studying for final exams.
Last year saw Volvo launch a new product. Not a car as you might think, but a reflective spray for cyclists. Safety is in Volvo’s brand DNA. When you think of a ‘safe’ car, you probably think of a Volvo. Volvo applied this brand positioning to solving a major problem on our roads, cyclists being injured or killed at night as a result of not being seen by vehicles. Life Paint is a product that can be sprayed onto bikes and clothing, and contains reflective particles that help illuminate cyclists in the headlights of a vehicle. The product is useful, valuable and relevant to consumers. By behaving this way, Volvo has proved it’s worth creating a unique point of view that consumers actively seek out.
Optus even got in on the act with Clever Buoy. A smart-buoy that uses sonar to detect the presence of sharks near our popular beaches, and informs the relevant authorities via the Optus network.
By doing things that matter to consumers, and by telling the story of that action, brands can create compelling content and have that content shared. Interestingly, the new consumers, later Millennials and Gen Z, will actively seek out brands that align with their values. This demographic of consumers want to make a difference, they want to save the world, and they are looking for brands to join them on the crusade. Brands that ‘DO’ are therefore well positioned for success in 2016.
The great thing about becoming a ‘DO brand’ is that you can start small. Just about every brand has the opportunity to add value. This can be from something as simple as Spotify playlists themed for different activities, or ‘how-to’ videos for achieving the perfect festival look, right through to the examples above. Your brand may not be saving the world just yet, but it’s a step in the right direction.
If you hadn’t been spoilt already, here are a few other things to watch out for during 2016.
A Kardashian WILL break the internet…
Expect to argue with your bestie about something completely pointless you saw on Buzzfeed… Blue and black, No. White and gold. Noooo, black and blue…. Can’t you see you colour blind imbecile, it’s wwhhhhhiittttteeee and goooooollllld. (Channelling my inner Basil Fawlty!)
The internet of things will become the internet of everything. A networked connection of people, process, data and things.
The potential is immeasurable, transforming our daily lives and creating huge cost savings for government. In Finland, sensors in garbage bins send a signal when a pickup is needed, which has led to a 40% savings in waste collection.
Technology will allow the sharing economy to explode into a universe of technicolour services and apps. Everything from bikes, to cars, to homes, even umbrellas will be able to be shared as mainstream consumers become more comfortable with the idea and less concerned about privacy. While services such as Uber are legalised worldwide.
You will definitely colour something in. On paper, with pencils, all in the name of mindfulness and stress relief.
Experiences will become more extreme. In an attempt to stand out, expect to see more stunts that look more like Japanese game shows. Check Nat-Geo’s Escape To The Cold. Or Xbox’s Tomb Raider promotion, which subjected eight people to intense wind, arctic cold, sudden heat, and snow whilst standing on a billboard for 24 hours in London.
Leo stops being a bridesmaid. Finally a bride, albeit one that gets mauled by a bear…
The continued rise of Instagram, Snapchat and messaging services like We Chat and WhatsApp. While Facebook’s user base plateaus. Keep an eye on Instastories – brands taking advantage of the extended character limit within Instagram to create native ads and content.
More ads get blocked. Users want an ad-free online experience, our challenge is to ensure eyeballs for our brands while publishers look to new ways to encourage users to unblock specific sites, or to turn to paywall models.
Spending on native ads to increase in direct correlation to the number of users blocking display ads.
Donald Trump wins the American Election. Re-writes the Constitution that all Americans must have a hair cut identical to his. Kanye loves the idea. Guinea pigs rejoice America wide.
Memes truly take over the internet. Pure luck, or genius strategy? Drake’s video for Hotline Bling, with his unique take on throwing some shapes, was the internet’s wet dream and made it one of the most talked about tracks of the year. Clever.
The concept of a meme shifts to technology. Rapid prototyping, fast and cheap manufacturing coupled with the Maker Movement, will see devices that meet a need for a moment in time, and disappear almost as quickly as they appeared. Lexus hoverboard anyone?
Oh yes, one last thing. Arsenal for ‘the title’. Come on you Gooners!
Well that’s enough for now. My soft creative fingers hurt.
Steve Mair is BCM’s Digital Creative Director