News & Views

Now / Next / Why / London

by Contagious Team

Thanks to everyone who joined us at Contagious' event in London on 25 September. For those who weren't there, here's a peek at what you missed

Brand as Interface was the overall theme for the third in our series of Now / Next / Why sessions. This places the brand as an interface through which content, services and our general experiences of daily life are improved. Here are what a couple of the speakers covered.

Arwa Mahdawi discussed the New Loyalty, considering the shift in the value exchange underpinning loyalty - away from transactions towards experience. She explained that our allegiances are no longer to branded products but to the branded communities around products. For example, in the UK The Cooperative found that people more likely to switch football team than bank account. The essence of new loyalty is summed up by Amazon's company mantra:  'Above all else align with your customers. Win only when they win.'

Guest speaker Andy Hobsbawm introduced his company EVRYTHNG, explaining its vision to provide an active digital identity for physical products and the implications of that for marketing and social interaction. 

Dan Southern introduced the audience to the rapidly growing luxury market, in a presentation called Luxury Recoded. This market, which will be worth $1.4tr globally, according to Boston Consulting Group, is heavily influenced by online channels: 20% of luxury goods sales are influenced by online experiences and 13% of luxury goods shoppers are multi-channel, yet they account for 38% of sales.

Guest speaker Jeremy Edwards, founder of sponsorship experts Activative covered successful sponsorship examples at London 2012, with various levels of engagement to provide an inclusive experience, whether you were at the Olympic Games or watching from elsewhere in the world. 

Nick Parish, Contagious' North American Editor, covered Amplified Live, citing this study published by National Academy of Sciences, which shows that disclosing information about yourself is intrinsically rewarding. Nick believes 'Making something happen' is a big part of Amplified Live, using the power of a group, properly motivated, to affect change in an environment. He cited musician Dan Deacon's app as an example of app which enhances the live experience for both the musician and the audience, transforming mobile phones into a lightshow. 

Thanks to all the attendees. Click herehere and here to see some of the comments shared over Twitter by a few of audience members. 

Massive thanks to the talented Polly Broderick for her doodles, shown above. 

Lastly, here are some answers for some of the questions that we weren't able to address in the day's final Q&A session, fielded by Jeremy Edwards and Andy Hobsbawm. 
If everything is personalised, e.g. social home, how will we discover new things that might surprise us?

Andy: The Serendipity Algorithm of course! ;-) Personalisation in service design should be opt in and configurable - perhaps on a sliding scale so you can choose the balance of true randomness and  choreographed surprise you want in your world.

Perhaps consumers will not want brands around when they are digging music and sports in the future?

Jeremy: If brands can enhance a consumer's experience of a music or sport event then they are likely to be accepted, if they interrupt/disrupt the experience they will be ignored or rejected and people will not 'want brands around'.

Will some brands be helping consumers resist the world of constant sharing tagging and connecting?

Andy: Probably. As connectivity becomes an integral component of peopleʼs social space, it raises many issues such as information overload and privacy. How these issues are addressed may become central to people's choice of services / technologies / brands. For instance, some brands may decide to take a leadership role in mediating things like privacy / anonymity / tranquility in digital lifestyle and interaction. For example, when to offer the ability to 'gracefully disconnect and go dark' perhaps?

Are these trends just for affluent/ urban/ digitally privileged? Eventually democratised or greater rift between rich & poor? 

Jeremy: That depends on how they are actually activated. It is a matter of accessibility and the open, universal provision of tools/experiences, rather than just targeting the wealthy and digitally privileged. Of course, many new digital platforms can narrow the gap between the rich and the poor by providing an experience that many/most don't have the time, money or opportunity to physically attend a game/show/concert in person

It's about being part of something. E.g. is Lon2012 - I wonder if communal sharing can be big for events other than Olympics?

Jeremy: It can indeed. In fact, it already is! Look at other sports, like football where fans are being communally connected via shared fan passion platforms (eg Pilsen's Colombian Fan App, or Orange's Shake & Shout Euro 2012 initiative). And it reaches beyond sport too. Consider how live concerts are connecting cyber concert-goers by streaming shows live online, projecting webcam images of the cyber viewers on the stage backdrops and offering set-lists chosen by Twitter.