As the line between humans and technology blurs, how can brands continue to innovate and stay in the game? Brand activations in some parts of the world are focusing on showcasing the latest technologies in virtual reality and artificial intelligence. However elsewhere, consumers are increasingly mindful of the sustainability and ethics of the brands they buy from, encouraging a higher degree of brand transparency and ethical awareness. One size doesn’t fit all so what’s important to your consumers?
2. Artificial Intelligence. The wearable technology already allows us to monitor our steps, heart rate, and sleeping patterns, giving us the opportunity to alter our lifestyle in the interest of well-being. As consumers become more familiar with using technology to track their health and wellness, they are looking for beauty brands to offer products and devices with practical functionality. Moreover, smartwatch devices can be used to make payments and phone calls, giving them greater function and convenience – useful is the new cool! Companies that can gain market insight, figure out how to leverage artificial intelligence and master consumer experience will have the greatest advantage. (LifeLeaf by LifePlus(1) ) – a non-invasive device used to continuously monitor blood glucose levels).
3. Conscious consumerism. Innovation does not always have to involve technology. Consumers are becoming more conscious of their environmental impacts and those of the brands they buy from, particularly in Europe and the USA. Increasing demand for environmentally friendly (organic, eco-friendly, emissions-free) products, made from sustainably-sourced ingredients or materials is forcing brands to evaluate their practices. With consumers placing a higher value on ethical practice, brands are taking responsibility and becoming more transparent. (Lush Cosmetics2 ).
What all of these trends have in common is that they engage consumers with a brand whilst providing them with a memorable, valuable experience. This can be during a brand activation, where they have fun trying out a new product; during the research phase or at the point of purchase where the consumer experiences feelings of joy and hope by making a responsible, ethical choice; or post-purchase as they experience the benefits of monitoring their personal well-being. Regardless of the stage of the journey at which the consumer becomes connected to the brand, the product must provide value, giving the consumer a reason to remain loyal.