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Hotwire’s sixth annual Digital Trends Report – My Top 5 takeaways

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Hotwire recently published their sixth annual Digital Trends Report for 2015, although it’s set to be the last one branded as such. Much aligned to Cirkle’s thinking, Hotwire believes that digital is not only integrated into the communication mix, but also in everyday life to such a degree it is no longer relevant to call it out separately. 

“Referring to digital as a separate proposition in the context of the communications industry feels dated” John Brown, Head of Engagement at Hotwire.“

In previous years, the report has focussed on how marketing and communications professionals can make the most of emerging trends and the opportunities they represent, but refreshingly the 2015 report puts the consumer firmly in the driver’s seat and focuses on the choices now available to them, and how these choices are playing out.Whether that’s a choice of device used to access content or how a single piece of content is being found, it’s all about giving the consumer choices, and putting the power back in the hands of the audience to make their own mind up as to exactly how they want to engage with a brand’s message, and how these decisions are being influenced.

1) Unified Digital Experiences:

Consistency is king, the last few years have seen massive improvements when it comes to consistency across channels. From visual identities to brand tone of voice, social channels have fallen into alignment and the most successful have clarified their specific purpose to a tailored section of a brands customer base.

2015 will see brands who fail to recognise the importance of this falling short.

Seamless user experience, with cross channel synchronisation will become a basic requirement, if your online shop can’t be amended or cancelled easily via a mobile app, or your checkout experience doesn’t translate to a tablet, consumers will vote with their feet and opt for a competitor who can offer a truly unified experience.

This line ignored.

2) Multiple screens, multiple methods, one story: The average teenager now owns six digital devices!

From tablets to wearable teach, as devices become more affordable and accessible, we need to find a way of telling our client’s story whatever platform someone is using, and that story needs to be more compelling than ever.

If we have an ‘always-on’ screen, that sits in your eye line at all times, and doesn’t ever get placed in a bag, under a case or in a pocket, our clients messaging needs to resonate at a truly individual level.

3) Dr Data: Health is currently in vogue!

Contextual information about ourselves is hotter than ever and with Google Fit, Apple’s Health Kit & smart watches taking digital health to the mainstream, 2015 could be the year health care institutions stand up, take notice and make real changes that enable data sharing for the good of the nation.

“Private companies have kick-started the change, but it will be privacy legislation and the public’s attitude towards sharing data that will well and truly decide whether digital healthcare has a shelf-life or not.”

4) There’s no such thing as a (digital) free lunch: Data is the currency of the Internet.

If we’re using a free service, then the currency we’re paying with is our personal data, and the debate around the responsibility for creating a cyber-savvy nation will be a key question throughout 2015. For our clients it’s key that we build strategies using data consumers are willing and comfortable sharing, showing immediate value in that exchange of information in the creative targeting of our messaging.

5) Tech is so not in, darling: Welcome to the era of the neo-luddite.

We have a new tribe of cool kids bucking the trend of the early adopters, who are anti-tech and taking it upon themselves to kill tech off! Growing numbers of digital detox retreats are also gaining momentum in the mainstream. Have we ‘over-teched’ the tech generation!? 

So, the consumer in 2015 has more choice than ever, and these choices each represent comms challenges to brands and agencies alike. 

For me, smart use of consumer data, pin point targeting, and accepting that our brand comms need to repeatedly fragment to meet the individual needs of sub sets of our audience base are going to be key to ensuring we create truly useful and engaging campaigns for our clients this year and beyond.

The full report is available for download from here: http://www.digitaltrendsreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Digital-Trends-Report-UK.pdf 

Carli Goodfellow – Director of Digital Influence

https://twitter.com/carligoodfellow 

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