Three trends from Insight Eleven

I was priviledged enough to attend the recent (Don’t Panic) Insight Eleven event at The Studio, The Hive, in Manchester, a half day seminar in which the North West’s finest came together to discuss the industry trends for 2011.

To quote a passage from the event’s website:

The event examined potential opportunities and challenges for 2011 and featured leading industry speakers from the digital, marketing and communication arenas sharing their insights on trends they believe these sectors will see in the coming year.

Among the talent on offer was Tony Fogett from Code Computerlove, Nicky Unsworth from BJL, Paul Fabretti of Origin Creative and Richard Gregory of Latitude – all of whom served up their fair share of insightful predictions and analyses.

Below I’ve outlined the trends that particularly stuck with me…

Group buying gets big

People have always negotiated group deals, or at least deals based on buying large volumes of a product or service, but we’re seeing a rise in online services built around the concept of bringing people together.

Groupon, a website that encourages friends to group together to buy a product or service at a discounted rate, was valued at a cool $1 billion last year, and we can expect to hear more from similar services like Living Social in the future.

The interesting thing about the group buying phenomenon is that it harnesses the much championed ideas of community and collaboration and creates a situation which is beneficial to both the consumer and the product or service provider. Groups of bargain hungry customers negotiate great discounts (as long as a critical mass is reached) and brands have a mechanic for attracting large numbers of people.

At the moment it exists primarily within standalone services, but in time I expect it to be seemlessly woven into the fabric of existing brand communities on platforms like Facebook, location based services like Foursquare and on brand websites in the near future.

We’re used to social networks bringing us together to share thoughts, opinions and experiences, and it seems the next logical step is deals.

Who would have thought?

Social and F-commerce becomes a reality

We’ve seen brands set up shop on Facebook to varying degrees of success (check out Levi’s and Pampers for a couple of nice examples). People can buy stuff and tell their friends at the same time. Great! Instant sales-driven word of mouth! And all the better if your product is in any way in any way trendy or aspirational as it taps into people’s desire to be seen with the latest hot ticket item.

But that’s not where the story ends…the introduction of Facebook credits will mean that the environment will become inherently tranactional. Right now, peeps can use credits to buy virtual items within games and apps, but the system will soon enough become a trusted currency to buy apps, videos, games, and tangible goods. And Zuckerberg will take a cut of it all!

Transmedia storytelling

The act of telling stories across various mediums is becoming more and more commonplace. In the transmedia environment, traditional narrative structures are  fragmented to create further opportunities to entertain and engage with audiences.

For example a campaign may tell paint a picture in various parts through television, print, social media and interactive elements, taking you on a journey that requires you to engage with each part to complete the story.

Gaining popularity through ubiquitous TV brands such as The Matrix and LOST, we’ve seen this strategy permeate the marketing world in various guises.

Audi’s Art of the Heist alternate reality game is perhaps the most complete example of this, blending a clever backstory with  live staged events and an online code cracking element to create a fully emmersive tall tail.

More recently we’ve had Coke’s Happiness Factory, in which they combined a TV ad featuring bizarre creatures living in a vending machine with an interactive website and a song featuring Cee-loo Green and co.

Are we are seeing conversation being supplemented by entertainment as the primary motivation for brand engagement? It’s certainly moving in that direction for big brands. But the broader  theme in all this is that social and other forms of digital media are interconnecting with and augmenting traditional forms of media rather than replacing them.

So those were few a few big trends that I digged. What’s caught your attention?


About Tom Craik

Senior Account Executive at Finn Communications, a PR and Word of Mouth agency based in Leeds. Baby face. Northern Monkey. Attention junkie. Space man. Fake tan. Dancefloor dreamer. Analyser. Deliberator. Wordsmith. Book worm. Head in clouds. Telecaster. Dance floor master. Closet rasta. Free love. Fresh jokes. Old gear. Naff beard. Existential. Influential. Left of centre. iPod. Math rock. Psych Folk. Dropping dubstep. Chicken Balti. Laos. Berlin. Bass bin. Circle pit. Guggenheim. Baltic. Cabernet. Globalised. Wired. No house. No car. Going places!
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