Hello, 2019! The smell of fresh beginnings is in the air. How will the lessons learnt (or not) in 2018 prepare you for the new year ahead?
Whatever the case may be, don’t let the grass grow under your feet. Now is the best time to plant new seeds and trim the weeds – put your best foot forward and strut into 2019 with confidence, armed with communication skills that won’t go out of style! What does the future hold for those of us in the creative communications business, and clients looking to engage with their customers to increase their brand and product visibility?
Let’s look at what’s trending.
1. Videos Rule
Videos saturated by over-the-top special effects will only lapse in users’ memory over time. Authenticity calls the shots, and unique brand content will translate into unforgettable experience for users. Albeit a product demonstration, launch, promotion (and the list goes on), videos are the best medium to elicit an emotional response.
Keep your eyes on live videos. The short-lived and spontaneous nature appeal to Facebook and Instagram users, while portraying your brand as current, relatable and fun. This video format is so popular, you receive a notification every time followers go ‘live’. For brands that are youth-centric, live videos are the best way to reel in digital-savvy prospects.
2. Instagram TV
The network reached one billion monthly active users in 2018. Its highly interactive community, visual-rich nature and tremendous following continue to put Instagram at the top. Instagram is becoming very appealing to TV viewers. Content creators are producing hour-long videos on Instagram TV (IGTV), as with IGTV, there are now more opportunities to connect with your fan base on a deeper level. The vertical video format exclusive to IGTV ensures mobile phone optimization and eliminates the hassle of tilting your screens.
Renowned brands are already on board. Nike shared a clip of megastar, Cristiano Ronaldo for the World Cup campaign while Louis Vuitton showed off the Men’s Spring Summer 2019 runway look on a 12-minute long video. Users who tune in to West Elm’s IGTV received interior design tips through the “Pillows 101” and “Living in 100 Square Feet” visual aids. While entertaining, the videos are also educational and provide real value to design enthusiasts.
Though, not all brands use IGTV for serious product placements. Netflix wittily posted a video of popular Riverdale star, Cole Sprouse chowing down a cheeseburger for a straight hour. The eccentricity isn’t lost on viewers, and the video garnered more than a million views from curious web surfers. IGTV allows brands to experiment on content creation and think outside the box for ways to present itself.
3. Chatbot Conversation
Chatbots are the express lane to real-time responses. Though chatbots were previously integrated into Facebook Messenger, Slack and Skype, users can now expect quicker and personalized solutions, even on native mobile applications. The awkward human-robot interaction won’t fool eagle-eyed consumers, but these chatbots will get more intelligent after every user interaction. Its rising prevalence in customer support, hotel bookings, and routine tasks like weather reports, show how these web crawlers are steadily gaining momentum.
In the digital age where social media never sleeps, chatbots render immediate assistance so brands can spend time on other pressing demands. The round-the-clock, two-way conversation with a chatbot is also easy to install. If you’re looking to own your own chatbot at work, check out HubSpot, Chatfuel and Botsify.
4. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) is often associated with the foreboding of the robot domination. But, hear us out. AR offers the ultimate customer experience through the blending of interactive digital elements. From sensory projections, stellar visual overlays to immersive backyard action, the technology brings the digital world into ours. The mixed reality spectrum is seen in IKEA’s Virtual Reality Kitchen, designed for e-commerce shoppers to get a first-touch experience on customizable kitchens and the autonomy to alter furniture to their liking.
Cadbury, too, cooked up a storm by bringing festive celebrations to life with the Advent Heroes campaign. The company distributed exclusive Holiday Heroes calendars with an AR application. Chocolate-lovers viewed specific dates on the calendar through the application each day and took holiday-centric selfies with Cadbury chocolates and candies. The unique manner of interaction with consumers shows an alternative method to product promotion – without coming off as “oversell.”
5. Stay Audience-centric
User-generated content is the rage these days. It’s as simple as brands encouraging followers to snap a photo and tagging the brand’s chosen hashtag or releasing a campaign to highlight the common user’s experience with your product.
The action camera brand, GoPro has over 5000 videos posts daily from users sharing their cliff diving, skydiving and other wild experiences, using the #GoPro hashtag. GoPro is making a conscientious effort to inspire wanderlust as travellers tick items off their bucket list. The real-life adventures are more authentic and appealing, as compared to gimmicky attempts by brands that boast megapixels and water-resistance features.
Make the most of live videos streaming on your company’s webpage or social media sites for product demonstrations, exciting announcements or latest updates. Use the power of the web to cement the foundation between your brand and customers. At the same time, take a minute to engage with consumers and make them feel valued by responding to queries and showing appreciation for heart-warming compliments and insightful suggestions.
6. Get Personal
A search for gorgeous Moroccan lamps on Google magically transpired into sponsored posts from lighting companies on Instagram. That’s no magic – personalization integrates various social media platforms together, leaving users spoilt for choice, no matter the site they’re logged to.
Personalization allows users to connect closely with your brand, potentially translating into conversions and customer loyalty. Mailchimp’s personalization toolkit helps to disseminate content that matters, make your emails sound like an actual conversation with customers, predict users’ demographics and even send your emails based on buyers’ time zones. Your brand can also utilize Facebook Dynamic Product Ads for a bulls-eye hit on targeting users with relevant ads.
Lexus launched the Beyond Utility campaign that featured everyday items alongside their luxurious counterparts. Depending on the audience’ demographics and interests, users can watch differing variations of the video. For instance, music fans are shown an ordinary headset next to a more extravagant piece. The message is clear: Lexus desires both practicality and style for customers, and utility alone won’t cut it.
7. Social Messaging
The trendsetter in the messaging industry, WhatsApp has more than 1.5 billion users globally. Brands leverage on the WhatsApp Business platform to interact with customers on Android mobiles. The application assists with organization, segmentation of new prospects and returning customers, and facilitates the communication flow between your brand and users. The conversation-encrypted chats, two-way conversation style and instantaneous replies are great advantages of this service. While WhatsApp Business isn’t deep-rooted in every brand’s marketing campaign yet, the potential for mobile marketing bears some fruit. Like Snapchat Stories, WhatsApp may potentially run advertisements through WhatsApp Status as early as this year.
As much as you wish to be available 24/7 to interact with customers, let users know when to get in touch and don’t leave them ‘on read’. It may smear your brand’s good name and while blue-ticks don’t usually come at a price, you run the risk of being charged for slow response after a 24-hour period on WhatsApp Business.
The rest of the year will fall into place if you get the beginning right. The power is in your hands to navigate your brand in the best way forward.
From all of us at CorpMedia, here’s wishing you a fantastic year ahead!
Posted by Nur Farzana, CorpMedia