ArabAd - - TRENDS -

Well­be­ing and fu­ture-proof­ing our bod­ies is also be­com­ing noth­ing short of a global move­ment. As con­sumers, we’re in­vest­ing in wear­able tech, ath­leisure wear, well­ness pur­suits, mind­ful­ness, buy­ing farm-to-ta­ble, bean-to-bar, seed-to-skin, or­ganic, fer­mented, pro­bi­otic, cold-pressed ev­ery­thing to en­sure our con­tin­ued good health. “Nat­u­ral” is be­com­ing the watch­word for all of this. [...] Con­sumers are ex­chang­ing pre­vi­ously trusted prod­ucts and brands for New Nat­u­ral al­ter­na­tives, from fem­i­nine care to fer­til­ity.

Along­side this we’re see­ing a ris­ing ap­pre­ci­a­tion for bac­te­ria—no longer some­thing to be cleaned away, but recog­nised as healthy and es­sen­tial to our daily lives.

One thing that’s be­com­ing clear across the board is that con­sumers are join­ing the dots in mul­ti­ple ar­eas of their con­sump­tion pat­terns and life­styles. Food de­ci­sions are no longer sim­ply based around ser­vice and price—they are made holis­ti­cally, as food is as­sessed for its en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact, health ben­e­fits, the pu­rity of its in­gre­di­ents, and the cre­ator brand’s treat­ment of live­stock and em­ploy­ees. Health isn’t viewed in a silo ei­ther.

Diet, beauty, well­be­ing, mind, body, fit­ness: all are viewed by the con­sumer as one big ecosys­tem to main­tain. Brands, once judged on their de­sir­abil­ity and prod­ucts, are now be­ing judged on their value sys­tems, on whether they are in­no­va­tors, on whether they are promis­ing to change the world. In­ter­est­ingly, this has be­come a tal­ent re­ten­tion is­sue, as com­pa­nies in­still value sys­tems and cul­ture to at­tract de­mand­ing mil­len­ni­als in a com­pet­i­tive job mar­ket. Across all sec­tors, con­sumers are dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing be­tween brands based on con­cern for the en­vi­ron­ment.

Tech­nol­ogy, of course, con­tin­ues to be the thread run­ning through ev­ery­thing we do. Of all the re­tail­ers, in­no­va­tors and brands we spoke to, most were ex­cited about the prospect of Ocu­lus Rift, which launches in 2016. We’re in­creas­ingly com­fort­able with tech­nol­ogy that knows us, is cog­ni­tive, in­tu­itive and adap­tive to our needs. Vast data pools—more to fol­low— are cre­at­ing highly nu­anced, gran­u­lar pro­files of con­sumer be­hav­iour. But along­side that comes a ris­ing thread of con­sumer anx­i­ety and ir­ri­ta­tion at highly tar­geted ad­ver­tis­ing (we’ll see how this plays out with Ap­ple’s ad-block­ing soft­ware).

“Pri­vacy and trust will be a big part of 2016 for brands,” says chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer at Mirum, J. Wal­ter Thomp­son’s global dig­i­tal agency. “Brands have abused con­sumer trust through out­right abuse of con­sumer data en­trusted to com­pa­nies and ser­vices, and lax en­gi­neer­ing and se­cu­rity prac­tices. Con­sumers will start to re­act.”

Ac­cord­ing to Page­fair, ad block­ing has grown glob­ally by 41% in the past year and 48% in the United States. There are now 198 mil­lion ac­tive ad block­ers. As a re­sult, says Phillips, brands will have to work much harder, and be more trans­par­ent, to earn con­sumer trust.

There’s no doubt that ad-block­ing tech­nol­ogy could pro­vide ma­jor chal­lenges in 2016. “Users have taken con­trol and are block­ing ad­ver­tis­ing af­ter years of abuse by brands. Is it too late? I think not. Will it be­come too late soon? I think so. Brands can fol­low Ap­ple’s lead and start tak­ing steps to pro­tect their con­sumers in­stead of us­ing their data as though they owned it.”

Watch, and wait. Here’s to 2016 and be­yond.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bahrain

© PressReader. All rights reserved.