New Tech Frontiers Will Force the Advertising Industry to Rethink Brand Experiences

future_of_experienceWhile TV and video advertising still dominate when it comes to delivering brand impact at scale, a variety of new innovations look set to transform how marketers engage with consumers. That’s not to say that video and TV advertising will be disappearing any time soon, but brands will soon have alternatives that are capable of connecting with consumers in ways that simply weren’t possible before, so our industry is going to have to consider how they keep pace and/or can incorporate these new technologies into their offerings.

A report carried out by Goldsmiths University and Adobe, titled ‘The Future of Experience’, sets out five dimensions that advertisers need to consider when connecting with consumers using virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) wearables, artificial intelligence (AI), wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The researchers used a mix of research methods including workshops with consumers, interviews with technology experts and quantitative research online with over 2,000 UK adults in Great Britain. The findings identified five new dimensions for brands to consider when it comes to creating experiences of the future:

Empathy: Creating deep and meaningful relationships

The research found that with these new technologies, especially VR, creating more immersive and deeply private environments that impact on both physical and mental states, brands will need to practice ‘extreme empathy’ and media companies will need to facilitate this shift in focus on the buy-side. Participants felt that these technologies have the unique ability to lend themselves to developing more meaningful experiences, with 32 percent of UK adults saying that this is the top attribute of a great experience followed by personal (19 percent).

Serendipity: Using technology to aid discovery and surprise

The study found that emerging technologies should be used to create experiences that fuel imaginative thinking: all participants, regardless of the technology used, reported their potential in making them more creative as well as allowing them to discover new things. This was backed up by nearly two thirds (64 percent) of the adults surveyed online who said that a good digital experience allows them to discover new and unexpected things that they like and love. Elements of serendipity in an experience will build authenticity and, as a result, trust in brands.

Privacy: Technology enabling people to experience private moments

Over half (52 percent) of those surveyed agreed that a good digital experience empowers them to use technology to not only connect to the world, but disconnect from it. While it facilitates deeper relationships with the external world, emerging technologies like VR and wearables are also empowering consumers to create their own private digital worlds, where they choose the brands they interact with based on the quality of the experience offered.

Reciprocity: AI has the ability to radically change experience, but we need to teach it

The research also found participants were excited about the possibilities AI applications presented and recognised the reciprocal nature of the relationship. Over half (52 percent) of the survey respondents said they would be happy to help ‘teach’ a machine if the feedback improved a number of elements in their lives like personal health, social services, everyday services and decision-making around purchases. For now, the findings suggest that people will accept AI into their lives as long as the applications provide helpful, practical, personal and progressive experiences. Speaking at an Adobe event today in London, Chris Brauer, Director of Innovation and Senior Lecturer in IMS at Goldsmiths University, said the research didn’t find any evidence that AI was set to wipe out jobs any time soon.

Adaptability: Using technology as an enabler for seamless experiences

Participants testing IoT and AI technologies were excited about their potential in terms of making life easier, but frustrated that the experiences were not as straightforward and seamless as they wanted. Brands must therefore adapt to provide seamless, integrated experiences, not only across many different channels – both offline and online – but across products and services, and even entire markets. This multichannel requirement is highlighted in the retail environment particularly, where 35 percent of adults surveyed online said they preferred making transactions in person, 30 percent via a device and 32 percent stating no preference between the two. 

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