BOSTON, Dec. 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- What are the brand experience trends that will matter to marketers in 2014? Executives at Jack Morton Worldwide, the global brand experience agency that works with leading brands including General Motors, Subway and Procter & Gamble, share their views on what's next.
Josh McCall, Chairman & CEO of Jack Morton, says: "As marketers continue to respond to increasingly empowered customers, a laser focus on brand experience trends is vital to success. We hear all the time from clients that one of their biggest challenges is staying on top of what really matters, separating out signal from noise. At Jack Morton, we think that the trends that matter have a few things in common: they're about elevating brand experience thinking, they're about integrating experience with new technologies and media channels, and they're about experience fuelling business results, especially at retail."
Jack Morton thought leaders from Shanghai to Sydney, London to New York, distilled five top trends:
#1. Relevant Retail: "The big trend for retail brands is building relevant experiences around what consumers actually want," says Richard Vincent, Head of Consumer in Jack Morton's London office. "That's hard work, but it's better than the status quo. Last year there was a lot of talk about 'showrooming' and other presumably negative consumer behaviours that were seriously troubling to retailers. This year, the brands that are growing are the ones that embrace consumer needs, for example promoting their in-store experience as mobile-friendly. I'm also a big fan of brands that are bringing retail experiences to new places, through innovative kiosks and social campaigns." According to research released by Jack Morton in 2013, consumers are looking for differentiated retail experiences, but less than half (46%) think retail brands are doing enough to stand out.
#2. The Rise of the CXO: According to Katie Chatfield, Head of Strategy in Sydney, a big opportunity for brands is elevating brand experience within the organizational structure. "Experience is enormously complex. Think of all the touchpoints in a customer's set of brand interactions: no one person controls them all, but if one goes wrong, the customer doesn't blame the call center manager, she blames the brand. There's unacceptable asymmetry: centralized risk, distributed responsibility. That's why we advise clients to appoint someone to champion excellence in brand experience—whether they're called a Chief Experience Officer or a Chief Customer Officer, their role is to centralize and lead experience." Elevating experience represents a growth opportunity for brands: according to research by Jack Morton, nine out of ten consumers worldwide say that they choose brands on the basis of experience; six out of ten say they'll pay more for a brand that offers a better experience.
#3. User Experience Writ Large: "In 2014 we'll stop thinking of user experience strictly in terms of online. User experience thinking should really be the way you think about the whole experience—because today, experience is the net sum of every interaction a person has with your brand, online and offline," says Leesa Wytock, Head of Digital in the agency's New York office. "What user experience thinking means in practice is an overarching ethos of building experience around human needs and behaviors that can influence action. It impacts design, it influences how we creatively use technology and it's defining for how great brands build customer interaction and even develop products." The user experience trend is reflective of the higher standards that consumers have for brands: almost six in ten (57%) consumers surveyed worldwide say they hold brands today to a higher standard, according to agency research conducted in 2013.
#4. Owned Media Strategies for Content Marketing: "Brands are desperate for content," says Dan Carter, Senior Creative Director in Jack Morton's Shanghai office. "They want campaigns their consumers will want to participate in and share. We think a huge area of need is the inherent interest that comes with experiences consumers can witness or engage with live. In 2014 we believe brands will invest in owned media strategies that give them that—experiences that create intrigue, fuel conversations and foster engagement. For consumers, experiences are the ultimate currency—they represent something to remember and share across social networks. In 2014, we'll advise clients to innovate ownable experiences to fuel their content marketing strategies." Research indicates that experience fuels consumer word of mouth, still one of the most trusted ways people learn about brands and products.
#5. Big Data Gets Small: "Big data is one of the most over-used, least understood terms in our industry," says Steve Mooney, Managing Director of Jack Morton's Boston office as well as leader of its global creative council. "In 2014, the big opportunity for brands is using information to enhance customer experience—to 'get small' with big data. We know from research that consumers put a premium on better brand experiences—they'll pay more for them. We advise brands to shift from the mindset of using data to target ads, to a mindset of using data to make experience better." Also relevant are consumers' shifting allegiances to and behaviors on social platforms, from the growth of Twitter to the decreased value of a "like" evident in 2013 agency research.
Jack Morton has posted an article on these and five other trends that will matter in 2014 on its Slideshare channel (http://www.slideshare.net/jackmortonWW).
About Jack Morton Worldwide
Jack Morton Worldwide is a global brand experience agency. Our agency culture promotes breakthrough ideas about how experiences connect brands and people—in person, online, at retail and through the power of digital and word of mouth influence. We work with clients to create powerful and effective experiences that engage customers and consumers, launch products, align employees and build strong experience brands. Ranked at the top of our field, Jack Morton is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, Inc. (NYSE: IPG). More information is available online at www.jackmorton.com, or follow us on Twitter @jackmorton.
SOURCE Jack Morton Worldwide