Few Thursdays back, on July 23rd, NewsHour’s economic correspondent Paul Solomon spoke to long-term trend spotter DeeDee Gordon about what’s getting traction now.  DeeDee talks about 6 long-term trends:

  1. Gender Un-tethered.
  2. Conspicuous Isolation.
  3. Hyper Experiences.
  4. Life Framing.
  5. Frugeois, or frugal living, and
  6. Bulklash, backlash against buying in bulk.

You can also watch the episode or listen to the podcast at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/6-trends-corporations-paying-attention/.

As I was listening to the segment, I was amazed at how 3 of these 6 trends perfectly aligns with how we at Stellar Loyalty think marketers should manage their consumer relationships.

Let’s take a look at these 3 trends and their impact on marketers in this blog.

Trend 2: Conspicuous Isolation

This trend is about the increasing desire for privacy. According to DeeDee, people are overwhelmed by all of the data out there and increasingly looking for ways to be on the grid, while being off it. This manifests in security and privacy products such as the Block-it wallet that protects the device inside it from all signals.

As Peter Lim and I previously wrote in our blog ‘From “Spray and Pray” to “Know and Grow”’, the traditional digital marketing technique of track and know-your-customer is plagued with issues. To recap, such tracking is probabilistic at best, is increasingly under attack by privacy efforts such as “Do Not Track”, and is being disabled by mobile platforms such as Apple.

The Conspicuous Isolation trend furthers the argument about the futility of tracking. Even if the issues we mentioned were ignored, a privacy conscious consumer can simply switch to the incognito mode of their browser.

From a marketer’s perspective, this trend is not good news. However, the next two trends provide the answer to what a marketer can do to deal with this trend of conspicuous isolation.

Trend 3: Hyper Experiences

A coin has 2 sides and trend #3 demonstrates that consumers will give up privacy and isolation for “hyper experiences.” This trend is about how consumers today want to be immersed in products and in brands. DeeDee points to virtual reality, theme park experiences, and Sonos being able to play your favorite music through your light bulb.

At Stellar, we are collaborating with clients to create and deliver immersive or hyper experiences. Let’s elaborate on this with a couple of examples.

For a consumer goods company, an immersive experience may mean an augmented reality experience that is triggered by scanning an image placed on your packaging or placement.

As a hospitality company, an immersive experience example is gleaning your guest’s preferred music from his / her social profile and playing similar music when your guest checks in to the room.

If you are running a traditional advertising campaign, a hyper experience may mean providing the audience an interactive engagement experience around the advertisement. Say a sports team does an advertisement with a star player singing a jingle.  The team can then create additional buzz around the jingle by running challenges where fans create their own versions.

Trend 4: Life Framing

Closely related to the previous trend, the Life Framing trend is about consumers documenting their experiences with photographs and videos and using it to elevate their status within their network. To quote DeeDee:

“Right now, consumers are more interested in experiences than in products. They want to be able to interact with other people. They want to be able to feel a connection. They want to be able to meet other people that feel — that are like-minded.”

SOL REPUBLIC to all caps leader in spotting this trend and they have a highly engaged consumer community in their SOLdier of Sound program, which they engage with campaigns such as #MusicMadeMeDoIt.

“At Stellar, we believe that community is an integral aspect of consumer engagement, and contests and leaderboards make such communities come alive. For example, going to back the previous example of a sports team providing an interactive engagement experience to complement their advertisement campaign, you can make it even more interesting by allowing fans to share their versions with the community, have a popularity contest, and be able to track their ranking in the associated leaderboard.”

In summary, the takeaway is what we all intuitively understand when it comes to personal relationships but ignore when it comes to our relationships with our consumers: stalking is of no use.  The only way to start, grow and retain a relationship is by engaging.

Stop Stalking, Start Engaging!