Digital media is making people feel more isolated, according to a recent trends report that suggests purpose, human experience, fusion, trust, participation, talent, and agility must become the foundation for relationships with consumers, as well as advertising and marketing campaigns in 2020.
Deloitte began working on this human-first philosophy to develop strategies for brands. This week the consulting firm released its 2020 Global Marketing Trends Report that curates interviews with experts from more than 80 subject areas to identify the most pressing trends worldwide that every business must focus on during the next 18 to 24 months.
The findings -- seven key trends -- aim to help marketing teams build a socially and human-conscious enterprise. They explore how to navigate economic and social environments in a way that helps preserve and cultivate human connections, although they might be tied to technology.
The human connection matters more than anything else, and the findings suggest that it surfaces as one common theme across all trends.
While digital technologies make it easier for consumers to navigate through their busy lives, they also can erode the connection with humans, creating what Anthony Stephan, U.S. head of Deloitte Digital, calls “experience debt” between brands and customers.
Experience debt is when companies need to make tradeoffs and compromises. In the technology realm, Deloitte categorizes this as technical debt. “It is this generation’s version of technical debt,” he said. “All the tradeoffs we make. All the easy decisions that don’t necessarily improve the customer experience, but are in the heels of technology decisions to cut costs or speed to market, they leave experience debt, which doesn’t meet the expectations of how consumers, employees and partners want to engage with brands and companies.”
One well-known example comes from REI’s #OptOutside for Black Friday campaign. While many use the Thanksgiving holiday to rush to the store or shop online for the best holiday deals, outdoor retail cooperative REI knows that its workforce and customers value connecting with others through a shared love of the outdoors. To lessen the holiday stress and adhere to its core values, REI closes all 200 of its stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday to encourage its workforce and customers to spend time outside with their loved ones.
Stephan said brands and companies must put humans first. He also cited the way executives responded to these trends as the factor that makes them less of a buzzword and more a “necessity” and a “responsibility” to carry through.
“The findings in the report was a resounding … hands up, yes, this is real and it’s bigger than just words,” he said.