The Future Customer
Customers relationships with brands have reached a crucial pivot point. As humans our expectations are at an all-time high. The devices we used to call mobile phones, are now something much bigger and more powerful than anyone could have ever imagined. These pocket-sized supercomputers sit at the very centre of our lives, and they’ve given us a unique glimpse into a life lived better.
We are turning a corner into rich, intimate experiences based on our emotions and feelings at the very instant it matters. We’re also rapidly moving away from generic, over exposed advertising of yesterday, and now want deep connections with world changing brands of tomorrow. This is the biggest call to action for the advertising industry and business that we have ever seen.
Emotional and Sensory Recognition through frictionless technology is the hallmark of future brand participation and deep customer loyalty. In our world of immediacy and real-time, we are transitioning from wanting to ‘love’ brands, to an even stronger emotion of wanting to be ‘excited’. This is the new emotional currency for every business beyond tomorrow.
Unlocking the power of emotional and sensory recognition is the hallmark of future brand experience
The future customer is built on leveraging the power of connection. People networks, business networks and micro technology networks create connections and enable fluid, rich human experiences. Customers expect everything in their lives to be seamlessly connected and absolutely timeless. Being on demand and instantaneous is no longer anywhere near good enough. As a business you must work ahead of the curve to use the power of networks to deliver prescriptive and predictive experiences.
TREND 1 – AUGMENTING INTELLIGENCE
The battle of the AI’s is in full swing and it’s taking no prisoners. The latest Motorola smartphones will now come shipped with both Alexa from Amazon, and Google’s Assistant built into Android. Soon, these phones will have a third option with Motorola announcing the rollout of its own AI platform. Just imagine for a moment what an argument in the fight for instant intelligence could sound like with these assistants all on one device…It makes for a fun, crazy future.
Intelligence is now an augmentation between human and machine. It is not a replacement of humanity, and regardless of whatever you hear we are a long way from that even being a possibility. Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is where a single computer or machine, can successfully perform a task to the same capability levels of a human being. Many in the tech community will have you believe we are on the edge of it today, however the truth is we are at least 30 years away from that being even remotely possible.
Augmented Intelligence is a deliberate and intentional converging of biological and digital intelligence. It now gives us the capability to unlocking the power of real-time and predictive decision making to deliver exceptional customer focussed experiences.
Through harnessing the enormous power of Augmented Intelligence, we are now also able to highly optimise both the structure and behaviour of business, and enable liquid breakthrough thinking. Our relevance in the future is dependent on being able to fuse our human ability to be creative, with the limitless power of exponential technology.
Whatever sector you are in, Augmented Intelligence will enable us to understand our current markets deeper, unlock insights into new markets ahead, and to discover the white space that we can’t yet see.
TREND 2 – PERPETUAL NETWORKS
By the year 2030 more than 500 billion devices will be connected to the internet. In just a few years there will be around 26 smart devices for every human being on planet earth. The term IoT (Internet of Things) is almost overused, but the immense capability it will deliver is being dramatically underestimated by front line business.
Vehicles built years ago are now joining the network of connected cars. Ford just announced its new Smartlink device, enabling all models manufactured after the year 2010 to be smartphone enabled. This is a world where everything in our lives, old and new is now joining the smart, intelligent world of online.
We exist in a world rich with data combined with technology, that can identify hard to detect patterns, and help us to achieve the previously thought impossible. Businesses of tomorrow will discover the potential that now exists in blending non-traditional behavioural data, and traditional customer data together.
Establishing a ‘Source of Truth’ when it comes to data is more imperative now than ever before. Relying on just one or two sources of data to enable your decision making is dangerous, and frankly just crazy. Data is your new oil, and sits at the very core of being a business of tomorrow. Purchasing data through affiliate channels and media only now works to a certain point. To win the engagement battle ahead, you need to acquire data from your customer directly.
Entire ecosystems are being flipped by Perpetual Networks. Our physical, offline environments that we live, work and play in are now increasingly more intelligent, interconnected and becoming truly seamless. Customers now are more prepared than ever in history to share data from personal devices in return for being delivered rich personalised experiences.
Customers are more prepared than ever to share their data, in return for exceptional experiences
The behaviour that defines the brands consumers are most comfortable sharing their data with is their ability to create ‘Experiences I want to be a part of’. BMW and Jeep are leading the way by creating experience and brand led environments that consumers want to increasingly spend more time in. This pattern is echoed in the UK and US where brands like Tesla and Landrover are similarly encouraging consumers to be more liberal with their data through the experiences they create for them.
The flow of information is being disrupted because of Perpetual Networks. Organisations are moving from legacy ‘Business to Business’ thinking where there has historically been an intermediary, to a data rich, customer intimate environment of ‘Business to Human’. This will enable real-time optimisation of products and experiences, and create a world where delivering perfectly timed, predictive assistance solutions are your competitive edge.
TREND 3 – LIQUID REALITY
Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies have been converging over the last few years to provide us immersive experiences that challenge the very nature of what we know to be real. Mixed Reality (MR) is the next frontier which will profoundly impact how we relate emotionally to new ways of working and living. This is a future of immersion driven by the increasing power of true intelligence and technology.
Old world boundaries of borders and time are now broken, and we can now immerse ourselves in experiences which are indistinguishable from the offline world of yesterday. Our understanding of what is ‘real world’ is transforming as we speak into a world of Liquid Reality.
We aren’t limited by physical screens or devices ahead. Tomorrow, Businesses will deliver experiences into a blended environment, not only onto a fixed device.
This is the convergence of physical and digital objects together, and the interaction of intelligent devices in real-time. It’s the single biggest shift in human engagement we have seen in our modern world, and it will open the door to new relationships between humans and technology, and how we behave and think.
Data Humanisation will now define the leaders of innovation from those who just follow
To win in this battle for the customer we must move forwards from visualising information on screens to now humanising data down to the individual. Limiting your customers by exclusively presenting experiences with historical data collected over days, months or years will put you behind the curve. As humans we are incredibly complex, and we are individuals and our emotions and needs change in real-time depending on our environment.
Chris Riddell is a Global Futurist and Inspirational Keynote Speaker, unlocking breakthrough thinking for individuals and businesses to get ready for tomorrow. He is an expert commentator about media, technology & emerging digital trends. You can get in touch the old fashioned way by visiting www.chrisriddell.com or emailing [email protected]