Most Contagious 2013

Most Contagious 2013

Most Contagious 2013

Contagious Magazine have released their Most Contagious 2013 report. Originally designed as a print version for delegates at the Most Contagious Conference in London, it provides a review of the trends, technologies and creative innovations that have shaped brands and the marketing industry over the last 12 months.

The report runs through the changes in consumer culture through a number of key sections, providing examples and case studies within each leading into their Most Contagious award. I'll try and break down the information in this post as simply as possible (see the full report for detailed info on each example). 

From Dave Senay, CEO and President, FleishmanHillard (Contagious sponsor and partner):

"Can brands and businesses rise to the challenge? We all feel the waves of disruption swirling through and around our organisations. We all sense the new immediacy and intimacy our stakeholders demand. Will we seize the opportunities that convergence and virtual proximity afford?

Consumers no longer want to be told what companies or governments can do for them; they want to know what might be accomplished together. They want a say in the setting of priorities. Not always comfortable conversations for companies to initiate, but ones that are likely to become commonplace.

This is where companies with the right imagination and nimbleness of execution can reshape their role in their stakeholders’ lives – one based on purpose and pragmatism, utility and meaning, fairness and opportunity.
Ultimately it boils down to the greatest challenge of all – creatively discovering, or engineering, mutually beneficial solutions.

Companies that foster community, brands creating content that adds value rather than interrupts, connected products that serve a central purpose in our lives – these have become the new touchstones of the enlightened opportunism that wins in a converging world.

This is what Most Contagious is about. It’s irrigation for our brains and fuel for our imaginations. It’s about discovering truths unearthed by others and considering where else they may apply. It’s about new things coming together and wonderfully, surprisingly, making sense."

Spreading the future.

To quote:

"If, as the great sci-fi author William gibson declared, ‘the future is here, it’s just not evenly distributed’, 2013 felt like a year when the most interesting things of the last few years began spreading further away from trendsetters at the global centres and into the lives of everyday people. Technology clashed against entrenched institutions and attitudes this year, bringing focus to the role of governments in a digital society, transparency inside those massive institutions, new shades of rebellious behaviour and projects destined to send waves of disruption even further."

It definitely felt like 2013 was a time when the Late Adopters finally jumped on the bandwagon of prevailing technology. At the same time, mobile penetration, the emergence of new apps and the growth of new models seem to have triggered a shakeup of prevailing institutions like television or the much newer Facebook empire.  

Trend Examples:

  • Ambitious, broad plans to revamp transit, food, natural resources and entrenched conventions in society. These efforts tend to stem from entrepreneurs who've built successful web businesses and are turning their efforts outwards (e.g Elon Musk and SpaceX, Telsa Motors or the Hyperloop).
  • The erosion of privacy has become a pragmatic concern in the wake of the Edward Snowden case. This has been the driver of temporal destruction in services; Snapchat, Twitter Spirit, Whisper, Blink Link. Also in the growth of Tor networks, Bitcoin, and the Silk Road. This should continue heavily into 2014.
  • Facebook is starting to hit the latter stages of the chasm of diffusion due to mum and dad showing up. Teenagers are moving to the sanctuaries of mobile messaging apps like Whatsapp, Line or Snapchat.
  • Permalance Proletariat, or the rise of the sharing economy. Everyday people are taking on new 'freelancer' roles using services like Uber, Lyft, Taskrabbit, eBay, Wunwun, Airbnb, Cookist0 or Google Helpouts. There is a want to do business with real people instead of a faceless corporation,  however we are starting to see more visibility around the negative distribution of profits in these models (e.g the service getting the lion share of profits).
  • The Hypersexual Self(ie). Miley Cyrus. Duck face. Sparrow face. Drake hands. A narcissistic connection to smartphones. Selfies at the gym or funerals. This has ultimately influenced services like Tinder, Instagram, and Vine, combining self and the network effect. For a great insight into Selfies, check out James Franco's opinion piece in the The New York Times.
  • TV Turmoil. 'Managed dissatisfaction' created by TV programming on behalf of advertisers, leading to new binge watching models. The rebirth of Netflix,  and big data influencing programming. YouTube's growth. Traditional TV is starting to look very shabby.

Taking a pragmatic approach

"A brand is a lot like a person - if it doesn't have a point of view, it's not very interesting"

- Marc Mathieu, Unilever's SVP of Marketing.

People are now more likely than ever to switch brands if another of similar price and quality supports a good cause. Brand that succeed are also delivering more practical solutions to social problems rooted in their day-to-day business.

Contagious Examples:

Enhancing Experience

"It is estimated that more than 90% of people worldwide who have mobile phones keep them within three feet of themselves 24 hours a day"

- Eric Schmidt, Google.

Second screens bring an additional layer of functionality into play. This can allow traditional media to work harder, and are the most expedient way to deliver customised digital magic to existing traditional channels. This means building engagement and transforming content, becoming more personal and less passive.

Contagious Examples:

Neverending Narrative

Adland has spent decades honing the craft of storytelling as it applies to traditional broadcast media. Now it is 
scrambling to redefine what storytelling means in a non-linear,  real-time world where platform-hopping has become the standard mode of media consumption.

In the era of immersive storytelling, 'The End' is no longer applicable. People now desire being able to pick up the different pieces of the story across different platforms in any order.

Contagious Examples:

It's relevancy, stupid

The ability to identify and exploit personal context is becoming a key brand differentiator.

People no longer live their lives according to media silos. This means specific context like location, time of day and the intent of the person they have adopted trumps the media channel they may be consuming.

Privacy is of continued concern, but people seem happy to give away data if the benefit is made clear to create a value exchange.

Contagious Examples:

Outside in

"With customers using more touchpoints than ever, getting those experiences right is becoming trickier. This has spawned the evolution of Living Services – utilities that are all-pervasive, distributed across many web-connected devices and aware of the user and their surroundings."

This requires brands to design from the outside in - starting with the needs of the customer and working back.

Contagious Examples:

Tilting access

Accessibility is king.

"From bringing internet access to remote areas to expanding device interactivity through virtual reality and gesture control, technology companies are dedicating time and resources to expanding their functionality and their  geography. With developed markets approaching saturation and mobile economies developing in Asia and Africa, companies are hustling to adapt to a new, global normal." 

Mobile app startups are taking over (think Tinder and Snapchat).

Hardware remains a big battleground. Samsung is challenging Apple in smartphones, and Google are now making laptops (and just bought Nest).

Wearable tech and the Internet of things is looking like the new battlefront.

Contagious Examples:

Creating, sharing, watching

2013 was the Year of the Video.

It now has become even more competitive for brands to create high-quality snippets of entertainment, and to rethink the standard ad as entertainment in its own right.

Contagious Examples:

Emphasis on experience

The barriers between offline and online shipping are evaporating. Digital tools provide the best of virtual and real-world digital experiences, utilising frictionless and storytelling techniques.

Contagious Examples:

People power

'It's not outsourcing; it's crowdsourcing'

- Jeff Howe

From new delivery models to more collaborative sales processes, brands have used the power of the crowd 
to disrupt their models and provide them with a competitive advantage.

Contagious Examples:

Multi-sensory digital marketing

'People Consume Experiences'. The rise of digitally-enhanced experiences and the Internet of things.

Wearable Tech & Sensors. Smartphone Integration.

Contagious Examples:

Rethink and remodel

'We are facing something we haven't seen for 500 years. We are not limited by technology… we are only held back by our imagination of what to do with it'

- Richard Seymour

Imagination in design is coming to the forefront.

Contagious Examples:

Beneficial influencers

'Advertising is the art of convincing people to spend money they don't have for something they don't need'

- Will Rogers

While this is true, brands are switching to using these powers to create more positive behavioural change.

Contagious Examples:

Punching above their weight

Startups, Startups, Startups!

Disruption through innovation, and a desire to change the world through disruptive businesses.

Contagious Examples:

So that's it. Some very interesting case studies and opinions for the year. 

What do you think of the list? Was there any innovations that you think should have been included?