From a digital perspective, a lot of the trends in digital consumer engagement are already happening. What we will see in 2014, is more adoption of certain technologies and adaption of consumer behavior that will let forward thinking brands engage with customers in new ways.
Some of these trends include Smart Devices, Mobile Messaging Applications, Mobile Content Sharing, Push Notifications, 3D Printing, Bluetooth Beacons, Responsive Websites & Branded Content Stunts.
Key Trend: According to Mary Meeker, we are already in the 6th technology wave of wearable computing and smart devices.
There are already lots of wearable computing devices, primarily for health and fitness, including Nike Fuelband, Jawbone Up and Adidas miCoach. Of late, we have also seen smart watches from Samsung, Pebble and the soon to be launched Apple smartwatch. Cars have increasingly got smarter, tweeting out when they might need an oil change.
Opportunity for Brands: The great thing about smart devices is that they are already highly personalised. For brands looking to leverage this trend, they should look at existing platforms and technologies that are a good fit for integration. Alternatively, to create something unique brands will need to evaluate how the product can play a functional role in consumerâ€™s life, as opposed to just a being a gimmicky stunt.
MOBILE MESSAGING APPS
Key Trend: Mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat and Line have seen tremendous user growth in the past year. What is interesting to see is that in China, WeChat is not only beating SMS and social networks â€“ itâ€™s also a threat to Alipay, the countryâ€™s equivalent to PayPal.
Smartphone maker Xiaomi sold 150,000 of its new Mi3 smartphones purely via WeChat, according to The Next Web. The batch sold out in 9 minutes and 55 seconds, flat. This is a case of WeChat being used as a mobile wallet and storefront.
Layers on top of mobile messaging that enable transactions, whether it be through direct or virtual currency is something brands should keep a keen eye on.
Opportunity for Brands: In India, marketing on Mobile Messaging apps can be huge. Everything from ecommerce, to gifts and contextual advertising are opportunities for brands to part of the mobile messaging app revolution. Brands need to identify partners and launch co-branded programs to tap into the growing user base.
MOBILE CONTENT SHARING
Key Trend: Increasingly more photos, videos, sound and data are being shared from mobile devices. According to KPCB, an estimated 500 Million photos are shared on platforms like Flickr, Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook, everyday and over 100 hours of video is uploaded on YouTube, every minute!
Though this is a trend we are all aware of, it is easy to overlook this when there are new and interesting technological advances.
Opportunity for Brands: In India for 2014, there is a great opportunity for brands to leverage photos sharing platforms such as Instagram that has good traction with the youth, especially women. This year, MTS India made a music video with user-generated Instagram photos from the NH7 music festival. Brands need to creatively engage users and make it dead simple for them to share content.