Adaptive businesses are thinking seriously about how to grow steadily and influence their markets whilst staying ahead in this digitally disrupted environment.
Reactive and short-term tactics are not sufficient enough to compete and lead in today’s hyper connected market. Knowing your macro-business environment and customer trends will determine your competitiveness.
Before we look at the top digital trends, here is a brief review of winning brands in 2019.
According to PricewaterCoopers (PwC) LLP the “market capitalization of the largest company worldwide has nearly tripled in the past ten years — from US$337bn in 2009 to US$905bn in 2019. The gap between the largest and smallest companies in the 100 largest public companies has continued to grow, currently at $806bn."
It should not be surprising that technology companies dominate at the top. Research from PwC lists Microsoft as the most valuable public company for the first time, after a seven-year reign by Apple.
Who are the top leading brands?
Recap: A brand is an intangible asset (name, term, design, symbol or any other feature) identifies one seller's product from another and is often a corporation's most valued asset. Strong brands enhance business performance primarily through their influence on three key stakeholder groups: (current and prospective) customers, employees and investors. They influence customer choice and create loyalty; attract, retain, and motivate talent; and lower the cost of financing. Source - Statista
The top most valuable brands in 2019 include Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Samsung, to name a few.
Technology companies most likely rank at the top as they are integrated into daily business operations and day-to-day life. Convenience, connectivity and enhancing customer experience is what today’s hyper digitally connected market necessitates.
Digital trends to advance your business and drive demand
Smart Businesses are always looking for creative ways to stay ahead and ensure future competitiveness. With messages bombarding us on multiple channels daily via many platforms from email, social media, personal online chats, news, advertising and more, we are constantly being disrupted.
Now you can imagine how this busy and digitally connected environment impacts businesses that want to engage with their customer base. Leading businesses know that marketing has to constantly evolve for growth and demand generation. Creating exceptional customer experiences and seamless user design should be the driving force of digital marketing.
Today's winning brands are impacting their target markets by leveraging latest technology, social media trends, creative marketing campaigns, working with the right talent, investing in resources for growth, deeper research, latest insights and so much more.
Top digital marketing channels
Digital marketing channels include email, websites, blogs, online chat apps, videos, video livestreaming, social media platforms, podcasts, search, voice search, online shopping and more. Winning businesses are leading by implementing innovative marketing on digital channels where their target customers are already engaged.
Mary Meeker, Bond Capital founder and former Kleiner Perkins general partner, highlighted some interesting trends in her acclaimed 333-slide Internet Trends report 2019.
Here are a few key highlights
Dynamic Social media marketing
Words have always been used to write, communicate, influence and share stories. What has changed is the interactivity on social platforms that now use images, videos and live streaming to communicate. Social media has influenced how we engage with each other, share our activities, tell our stories and more.
Effective social media marketing is based on how well you can get your message across and influence your target audience. Keep in mind that on social platforms attention spans are short and distraction is the norm. An article in Live Science explains “we get bored when we have difficulty paying attention to the internal information, such as thoughts or feelings, or outside stimuli required for taking part in satisfying activity…”
Smart social media marketing tips
Focused social media marketing strategy
Stand out in a noisy space by being relevant, having a unique voice and increasing engagement. Average brands tend to follow what their competitors and everyone else is doing or saying. Winning brands are focused on leading, being fresh and authentic.
If you want your target audience to pay attention and buy into your message, you have to create a strong brand presence by being timely, ahead and new. That is if you want to use social media for growth and not just to push average content in an already cluttered space!
Rise of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to showcase products
AR and VR present an exciting channel to enhance customer experience by integrating virtual content into the real world. Products can be viewed in an immersive format rather than flat images.
The AR market is expected to reach $133.78 billion in 2021. Global VR revenues are estimated to reach $75 billion by 2021. Greenlight Insights
The IKEA AR Place app and Shutterstock’s "View in Room" app for Apple mobile devices are good examples of how AR technology allows customers to view products in a more interactive layered context.
Social responsibility initiatives that make a difference
You earn a good reputation by not only delivering consistent and quality products but by going beyond to cultivate authenticity. Key factors for favorable brands include integrity, accountability and social awareness.
Zara, the leading fashion brand, has engaged in a series of sustainable initiatives. The apparel brand intends to stop using fibers that are from endangered forests to make fabrics by 2023. Zara plans to end its use of plastics and Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC). The apparel brand has implemented a “Join Life Collection” that includes eco-stores to underline the brand’s focus on sustainability and improved customer experience.
Amazon, the online retail giant, is donating products from sellers in the U.S. and U.K. They will be providing helpful items to people in need. Amazon will work with charity partners to manage logistics to streamline the donation process for independent sellers.
IKEA, the leading furniture brand, through its IKEA Foundation has contributed $8 million to McKinsey & Company’s Generation initiative to help youth develop skills. With the new resources, Generation will be equipped to train and recruit nearly 50,000 young professionals in India and Kenya.
Key Artificial Intelligence (AI) trends
AI is creating opportunities for businesses to increase efficiency, product innovation and hyper personalization. Data analytics, algorithms, voice search and language processing are a few examples of how marketers are using AI to gather information and create relevant marketing initiatives. AI based insights means marketers can dig deeper into the customer’s buying cycle, analyze behavior patterns and much more.
General AI is advancing
OpenAI is a research lab that was founded by Elon Musk and Sam Altman. OpenAI has a mission “to ensure that Artificial General Intelligence (AGI)—by which we mean highly autonomous systems that outperform humans at most economically valuable work—benefits all of humanity. We will attempt to directly build safe and beneficial AGI, but will also consider our mission fulfilled if our work aids others to achieve this outcome.” OpenAI.com
Microsoft recently invested $1 billion in OpenAI’s mission to advance General AI. The startup Lucidworks has raised $100 million to expand in AI-powered search-as-a-service.
Here are a few sources to help you stay ahead of AI and tech trends
Creativity and innovation delivered in the now
“But the big feature of human-level intelligence is not what it does when it works but what it does when it’s stuck.” — Marvin Minsky
Emerging technology, new digital tools and social platforms has changed customer demands. Dynamic customer experiences are based on hyper personalization across all channels that your customer is already engaged in, from emails, social media, shopping, website experience, customer service, social apps and more.
The questions is – how are you adding value to your customers, standing out in the market and driving demand compared to your competitors?
Smart brands such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, are constantly creating new tools and channels to keep their customers engaged by providing innovative customer experiences, services or products.
Customer interactivity in the new
Increasing your business interactivity requires specific strategies to help you maximize on your growth potential. This means looking into deeper research, dynamic digital campaigns, generating demand, reinventing your marketing, working with the right talent, latest industry insights and more.
To be competitive in a digitally disrupted environment, it is necessary to think of business sustainability and high impact marketing to ensure future growth.
For additional insights, winning marketing strategies, top digital trends, brand case studies and smart social media tactics, get your copy of my book on Amazon.