The world of artificial intelligence (AI) is evolving rapidly, fulled by tech giant investment and disruptive entrants. However, the risk, as with so many earlier technologies, is that companies will focus on what the machines are capable of rather than what customers want. To keep you informed, we will be curating regular AI updates from our proprietary Retail Revolution study, news sources and industry statistics.
22% of Europeans surveyed are already using AI and another 41% would like to get an AI device or app[ctt_hbox link=”fRLdl” via=”no” ][/ctt_hbox]
Half of Europeans have used a digital assistant. Although Amazon Echo is not the most used to date across our research panel, it is the most liked [ctt_hbox link=”vG6we” via=”no” ][/ctt_hbox]
Those who are willing to share data are over 60% more likely to use mobile AI assistants including Google Home, Amazon Echo and Microsoft Cortana [ctt_hbox link=”1Ue_W” via=”no” ] https://ctt.ec/1Ue_W+[/ctt_hbox]
According to McKinsey’s, tech giants spent an estimated $20 billion to $30 billion on AI in 2016 globally
In 2015, messaging apps surpassed social networks as reported by Business Insider
Gartner forecasts that by 2019 AI platform services will cannibalise revenues for 30% of marketing-leading companies
AI has the ability to drastically change the way brands can interact with people. The question for brands is how best to employ AI to create these experiences of the future. Embracing a consumer-focused planning approach ensures that you will consider the lives and routines of one or several of your target audiences, as well as the rights and role of the brand in these moments.
Sport and television have had a very long, and very productive, relationship. Since the first sports event, Wimbledon in 1937, was aired on TV the two have grown together, creating the industry as we know it today; an industry worth an estimated $35billion (PWC 2015).
TV audiences for global sports events are staggering. The World Cup in 2014 reached an estimated 3.2 billion people, while the London Olympics in 2012 was the biggest ever national television event with over 90% of the population tuning in over the course of the Games, and this growth has been reflected in the cost of broadcast (and brand partner) rights for major sports.
So there seems to be no reason to suggest that the dominant relationship between TV broadcast and sports is going to change…
Well, I’m certainly not going to start predicting the death of TV as the main channel for sports viewership (at least in the short-term). However, if we take a closer look at some of the changes in the industry it becomes clear that the model is being disrupted and that the future for sports content does look increasingly digital.
The desire for information, entertainment and conversation from fans makes sport very well suited to the faster-paced and more personalised media environment that now exists, with broader changes in media consumption patterns clearly reflected in sport.
Over the past decade, the explosion of social media has enabled audiences to consume sports content when, where and how they want. Highlights, statistics, live updates, commentary and opinion (often synced to live matches) are now easily and immediately available. The more established social platforms have been the first to capitalise on this, with twitter even planning live broadcasts of NFL games on Thursday nights for the coming season.
But a wealth of new technologies have also begun to change the way we can engage with our favourite sports. Periscope is a particularly relevant example of a new technology that is being quickly embraced withinsport.
There is clear evidence that audiences see this as a positive influence, with 72% of Brits claiming that new technology and media helps connect sports fans in exciting ways (OMD 2016).
The trend is, unsurprisingly, particularly pronounced amongst younger audiences that demand more control and flexibility in their content, as reflected by the chart below (provided by Ovum’s digital Consumer Insights, 2015) which shows the increasing importance of mobile in the consumption of sport for younger audiences.
Younger audiences are also driving the growth of “new” sports and alternative content platforms. Content owners and creators such as Whistle sports, Copa 90 and Dude Perfect are now drawing audiences in their tens of millions.
However, it’s not just age that affects the impact of social and digital media on sports consumption. It’s also how “big” a sports fan someone is. The average sports fan spends around 40% of their social time on sport-based content, with that figure shooting up towards 70% for “massive” fans (according to research by socialsportsfan report 2015).
These changes are beginning to have an impact on traditional forms of sports media, with the importance of TV clearly diminishing for younger audiences (data below provided by Ovum’s digital Consumer Insights, 2015).
Looking at the current Rio Olympics, we are seeing that TV viewing is down across key European markets compared to London 2012. This is partly due to time zone differences and digital migration – 14.9 million tuned into BBC digitally for the second day versus 8.3 million in 2012. Research by Allianz has also discovered that 7.6% of Americans prefer to follow the Olympics on social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, SnapChat and Periscope – over both TV and streaming platforms. Social media is especially interesting because of the modifications to the Olympics’ Rule 40 that affects how non-sponsor brands can leverage the games.
The growing value fans place on speed, ease of access and relevance of sports content points to this trend becoming even more pronounced, with social media increasingly central to fans’ engagement with sport (leading up to Rio 2016, Facebook, Twitter, Google and Snapchat all launched Olympic promotions to draw in fan participation).
As I said at the start, this is by no means the end of television. TV audiences are growing at a global level, especially for major events, and TV still delivers live viewership much better than anything else but there is a clear shift happening; a shift that suggests the future of sports content is increasingly digital.
There is a huge amount of debate in the marketing industry regarding millennials, our value, affect and the way in which we are shaping the future of the industry as we know it. However who better to ask than a millennial themselves? As a 26-year-old working in the marketing industry I decided to take a closer look at why we’re a generation to be taken seriously.
When looking at the importance of the millennial generation to advertisers I could simply say we’re important because we’re shaping the future of the world. However that in itself is a huge statement so to break that down…millennials today account for nearly 50% of the world’s population. This makes us the dominant workforce and the generation holding the majority of the globe’s spending power. A recent study by Accenture found we spend on average $600 billion each year, and therefore based on this staggering figure alone, I’d say at the very least we’re worth advertisers’ consideration! With millennials spanning an age range of 16-34, 1 in 4 of us are now parents, holding not only the spending power and purchasing decisions for ourselves, but for our families. However it’s not just about sheer numbers, although these are impressive and would make a compelling argument by themselves. For me it’s the way in which we behave that makes us such an important and interesting target audience.
As a generation of digital natives we live in a hyper-connected world that provides endless opportunities at our fingertips, fuelling a hunger to discover more. This means that our expectations have permanently changed and are constantly changing: we want more in life, to discover more and go further, and in turn we demand not only more from our lives and ourselves but also from the brands we love. By demanding more we’re challenging brands, pushing them to be more innovative and creative in order to catch our attention and create noise. If advertisers weren’t striving to break the mould would Virgin Holidays have created a campaign using Virtual Reality to sell holidays? If we weren’t a generation pushing brands to be more innovative we could still be booking our holidays on the telephone. Likewise, if Carlsberg wasn’t interested in capturing our imaginations, they would dedicate their entire media budget to TV instead of making a bar (of the booze variety!) made entirely out of chocolate!
Not only are we a generation whose demand is fuelling continuous innovation but we’re the harshest critics, and therefore the best generation for a brand to learn from in order to gain a share of voice and see real business growth. Yet it is not just about our being opinionated that is important to advertisers, but the fact that we share our views on blogs, social media, with our friends, family and colleagues. We can make or break a brand in a few keystrokes, and brands know it. With 67% of consumers using a company’s social media channel for customer service, hundreds of brands including Nike, Starbucks and Walmart have customer service teams dedicated to their social channels, ready to handle negative comments and promote praise.
By challenging brands to be continually dynamic, millennials have subsequently become a force that has changed the way advertisers use media. The way in which brands interact with a 16-year-old on Snapchat vs. how they engage with a 34-year browsing Instagram or through Stylist magazine on a Tuesday commute home is very different. There is therefore no ‘one size fits all’ strategy when looking at the channels through with to engage millennials and this again has led advertisers to view their marketing strategies through a different lens.
Whilst we cannot group millennials into a single channel or platform, I think there are inherent themes that apply to all millennials which advertisers can apply to any media channel. For example, I believe authenticity is incredibly important – and by authenticity I mean approachable authenticity: we want to see and hear from real people who we can relate to, or aspire to be like. This theme comes to life through blogs, vlogging and social media; Zoella’s YouTube channel has over seven million subscribers whilst the Kardashian sisters have a combined Instagram following of 275 million. With 50% of millennials researching products on social media, we can see what a powerful and credible tool it can be. By building their brand through social media and reality TV the Kardashians’ empire is now worth $300 million.
With millennials spending an estimated 22 hours on their phone each week it would seem an easy solution to simply target us through digital channels; however, I believe we can still be reached through traditional channels by being authentic. Notably, Dove’s Beauty Sketches campaign used real, normal women to shine a light on the differences in beauty perceptions. This campaign resonated with millennial women around the world and resulted in becoming the most viral video of all time, with over 135 million views.
Another theme that I believe can transgress all media channels is the evolution of the brand ambassador. I have already mentioned how important it is for millennials to feel like they can connect with real people and I think this is becoming particularly apparent in who advertisers now pick to front campaigns. The most successful supermodels today are no longer just visible on the catwalk and billboards, but let us into their lives. The likes of Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid (millennials themselves) now take us backstage at the Victoria Secret Show and on their Saturday night out with the Taylor Swift squad, opening their world to us via social media. Their influence cannot be ignored and many brands such as H&M and Balmain have chosen to embrace it.
To promote their new partnership and collection with H&M, Balmain chose Kendall, Gigi and Jourdan Dunn to front their campaign which launched exclusively on Instagram. Using their influence with the millennial audience H&M and Balmain’s collaboration went on to be their most successful, with an Instagram reach larger than the UK population and the range selling out online and in-store in a matter of hours. This demonstrates the power of brand ambassadors when attributed to the right brand.
Likewise the role of the brand ambassador can be just as influential when used on traditional media channels, if advertisers use the right person to fit their purpose. For instance, Burberry’s use of Emma Watson, a millennial we have grown up with watching Harry Potter and whose passions for issues such as gender equality we now share, led to a 23% increase in sales for the brand.
I could go on about the themes that I think are important to millennials that can be used on any media channel, but the key point I am trying to address is that millennials are changing the way advertisers address their marketing strategies. It’s not just about our sheer numbers and spending power that makes us an important audience but our behaviour and what advertisers can learn from us. By being a demanding generation and challenging brands to always be more innovative than the previous day, we are pushing them to find new ways to create noise, which means looking at how channels can be used in new ways. You just have to look at Carlsberg’s billboard including a beer tap to see how traditional channels can be using in a unique way to catch our attention. By taking note of millennials’ demands, criticism and behaviour we offer advertisers the opportunity to learn, challenge themselves and in turn become the most innovative, creative and powerful brands in the world.