2016 was controversial, to say the least. So what’s in store for 2017? Hopefully, it’s a year of opportunity. A year of innovation and invention. Here are the topics that we believe will be punctuating the next twelve months. Which brands will be bold enough to embrace them?
1. 2017 favours the brave
The luxury market has always played relatively safe when it comes to creating content. But 2017 is set to be the year for all that to change.
Rather than delving into the history of the brand or creating beautiful 3 minute films taking you behind-the-scenes at the atelier, luxury brands will be using their content to move past predictability. That means personalisation that goes well beyond the consumer’s name on a perfume bottle and actually offers value to the consumer.
We’ll be seeing a lot more quality content and personalisation at scale, as AI continues to expand the boundaries of what’s possible.
2. Every interaction is an opportunity to sell
Instant shopping hit the headlines in Q4 last year, when Burberry led the way on the ‘see now, buy now’ trend. Not only could consumers buy directly from the catwalk, but the expectation was set that they would increasingly want to buy from the website and social media channels as well.
2017 will be the year that wary brands shed their fear of ecommerce and build it into their content plans - from shoppable videos on partner sites (like Temperley on Net-A-Porter) through to shoppable photo tags on Instagram.
Content design and UX needs to consider integrating shopability at key points in the user journey, whilst brand teams should focus on maintaining exclusivity as luxury becomes more accessible online.
3. There are challenges to even the best new tech
Last year, tech collaborations set the luxury market on fire. Take Hermès and Apple’s ongoing wearables collaboration. But 2017 will see brands having to consider their interactions with tech even more carefully. After all, Google estimated that voice accounts for 20% of all mobile search. And that was last year.
The introduction – and runaway success - of voice means that more convenient search is transforming the way that consumers discover and purchase. Not only will brands have to optimize for this, but they also face the challenge of having to push their messages through Alexa, Siri, Cortana, etc – all brands and voices in their own right.
Far from just another platform, voice search will force brands to consider their content more carefully if they want to stand out.
4. Print is dead, long live print!
Tech adoption and innovation will undoubtedly be a key driver of brand success in 2017, but so too will appreciation of other more traditional communications.
Beautifully printed magazines, anthologies and guides will help brands shine as a beacon of difference in an overwhelmingly digital world.
Paired with clever partnership and programmatic opportunities, the smart adoption of print materials will allow brands to unlock new audiences by appearing in surprising new places. Take Victor’s gorgeous quarterly magazine, which takes editorial content seriously and really elevates the brand to the status of quality publisher, or Time magazine’s programmatic approach to print.
5. Everyone’s a content creator
Luxury brands will need to embrace their audiences in ways they never have before – and that starts with allowing them to be co-creators and curators.
From luxury beauty stores with selfie mirrors (Estée Lauder) through to user-curated shopping experiences (Villoid), brands need to open the gates and allow their consumers in. After all, social sharing is becoming synonymous with shopping – and if brands play their hand correctly, they can empower a whole community of advocates online.
This can be risky for brands built on exclusivity and expertise, but it’s time to be fearless and give consumers more control over your brand – or they will find the community they crave elsewhere.
The stage is set. Now is the time for the courageous to thrive.
For more information about what your brand should be thinking about this year, contact Erminia Blackden.