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What's In Store for Brands in 2016

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As we embark on a brand new year, we look at what’s in store for brands in 2016. Everyone has their list. Here’s ours:

1.    Connected
It’s officially in our DNA – according to a Tecmark study, the average person checks their smartphone a whopping 221 times a day, and expects brands to innovate to keep pace. An increasing demand for real time content means apps like the rapidly rising Snapchat will become a standard marketing vehicle, and integrated capabilities will allow consumers to purchase a brand, chat about it and post proof of purchase, all on one platform. With an evolving Internet of “things”, we might even see ads on things like wearable technology, and, according to Ericsson’s 2016 tech predictions, there will be more video streaming, merging of the virtual and real, and even internal body sensors.

2.   See-Through
Enlightened consumers care about sustainability and social responsibility, and are looking for brands that share their own values. Increasingly brands will need to walk the talk and ensure their internal culture is consistent with the values their brands tout. For example, in October 2015, outdoor apparel retailer REI announced that all stores would be closed on Black Friday to allow staff and shoppers to spend the day outside. Employees were still paid for a day’s work, and a hashtag #OptOutside led to widespread sharing on social media.

3.    Just for me
Brands that meet consumer expectations for personalized experiences will continue to win in 2016. As technologies like the much anticipated Oculus Rift take virtual reality to new heights, consumers will increasingly demand personalized experiences and immersion from the brands with which they engage. One example is spice brand McCormick’s FlavorPrint App, which offers a game-like experience to deliver customized recipes. By answering questions about flavor, rating cooking techniques, ingredients and cuisines, individual consumer flavor profiles are created and recipes served up accordingly.

As it has always been since time immortal, the key for any brand to win will be to approach these defining trends through the lens of the consumer and their basic human need states; then ensure you’re there to meet those needs.