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2019 Trend Report


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2019 Trend Report

  1. 1. 2019 trend report.
  2. 2. 10 trends we’re watching.
  3. 3. Intro. Remember Blade Runner? The future predicted by the classic sci-fi, 37 years ago, is 2019. Yes, the 2019 that you and I live in, this year. Although the film's predictions of flying cars and artificial humans is a little bit off, there are a few things that Blade Runner got right: we talk to our computers (voice assistants), and we see those huge, flashing digital billboards everywhere we go (highly-targeted ads). Do you find that fascinating? We do. At Rehab, we've been partnering with top tech and consumer brands like Google, Nike, Estée Lauder and HBO to combine advancements in technology with step changes in human behaviour. We focus on user intent then rapidly prototype, test and iterate concepts to innovate around the brands’ original products and services. Keeping an eye on both human behaviour and technology is integral to our business so we thought we would share a quick snapshot of just some of the things we’re looking at for 2019. Recent technology breakthroughs, such as natural language understanding and image recognition, have already shown businesses a whole new world of possibilities. However, last year’s data breach incidents and GDPR are making users demand that organisations give them control over their personal information and provide more transparency in how their data is being used. All of this makes the outlook of 2019 exciting, yet challenging, for business leaders, brand marketers, heads of product, experience designers and solution architects. We believe the trends covered in this report are among the most critical for businesses to consider in getting ready for the year ahead. We aren’t trying to make any predictions; these trends are based on user behaviour, industry insight, and the technologies that we see tech firms and top brands experimenting with and implementing. In other words, any trends that are on the horizon, but might not be worth your sleepless nights in 2019 aren’t included. We hope you enjoy reading it. Most importantly, please get in touch to let us know what you think.
  4. 4. An AI-powered world 01 If AI is the new electricity, the ‘privilege’ of using AI is no longer reserved for big companies with huge resources. If you have clear business goals, machine learning models could help improve your operational efficiency, provide personalised content at scale, and reduce customer support costs. But good AI depends on good data. 71% of B2B marketers say they haven't implemented an effective process to improve their data quality, so "poor AI outcomes” remains the biggest challenge for many brand and business owners who’ve started to bring AI techniques into their businesses. AI isn’t a magic wand. Techniques like machine learning are simply using statistics at speed and scale. Research has shown that companies that focus on human and machine collaboration create outcomes that are two to six times better than those that focus on machine or human alone.
  5. 5. 01 Inspirations Zocdoc an online platform that allows individuals with health care needs to make more informed choices, with verified reviews and instant appointment booking. With the mission to optimise health care data and help patients, Zocdoc uses learning algorithms built using the TensorFlow framework to match patients and doctors more efficiently and shorten the average wait time for new patients from 24 days to 24 hours. Toutiao the Chinese news platform with an average of 120 million daily users, uses AI to source and curate their daily news stories. They have a vast and diverse user base, and with a daily read of 1.3 billion articles and average consumption of 73 minutes a day, Toutiao has double the daily views that BBC Online has globally. Without its machine-learning algorithm, it’s quite impossible for Toutiao to provide personalised content for each user. Implications It is still easy to dismiss AI as a complicated and alien tool that can only be used by large companies and understood by computer scientists and data experts. However, cloud services for everything from natural language understanding to visual search to dedicated processing for machine learning models put access to the latest AI technologies within reach of every business.
  6. 6. “ As much as the hype has overstated what AI might do for marketing in the next 12-24 months, the reality of how AI is already working in marketing today is often under-recognised.” — Scott Brinker, HubSpot What does this mean for your business? ● What data and which services are unique to your business? How could AI better help strengthen your business positioning? ● Which part of your business process could be automated? How could your employees be freed from repetitive tasks and focus on what’s important? ● Do you have a list of AI-assisted tools that would be useful to encourage collaboration between teams, divisions or even regions? What’s your approach of sourcing cost-effective AI software that can be easily integrated with your existing system?
  7. 7. 02 Second phase of voice Four years after Amazon announced the first Echo device it’s estimated that almost a quarter of US households have a smart speaker in their homes, giving a reach of some 58 million adults. Around 8% of people in the US got a smart speaker in the 2018 holiday season alone, and two thirds say they wouldn’t want to go back to life before their smart speaker. The second phase of voice sees the smart assistant—Alexa, Assistant, Siri, or any of the other competitors in the market—move into more devices, and the smart speaker become the hub of the smart home. An increasing number of household devices will gain enhancements from a cloud-powered smart assistant. Some will be powered by a built-in microphone and voice-processing; others will only need a connection to a smart speaker to have commands relayed to them, giving voice control to otherwise “deaf” products.
  8. 8. 02 Inspirations An ‘ask Alexa’ button on the new AmazonBasics microwave connects the device to your smart speaker—skipping the device’s own user interface. Press the button, say “reheat a cup of coffee”, let the cloud calculate the timing required, and wait for it to finish. Google Assistant Connect is a new platform that adds Assistant compatibility to many other connected devices. In keeping with their Thoughtful Home ethos, the platform was shown off with some discreet and discrete e-ink displays. Implications The smart home has been promised for years, but it looks like what customers needed to make the breakthrough was a way to reduce the complexity of managing it. Voice control is fast becoming a customer expectation, and may soon become a requirement. And it won’t be limited to smart speakers, but a feature of any number of satellite household items.
  9. 9. Source: Voicebot Assistant Consumer Adoption Report 2018 28.1% of voice assistant use takes place outside of the ‘big three’ contexts (phone, smart speaker, and in-car).
  10. 10. “ The shift of voice beyond smart speakers and early versions for smartphones is in full swing. Smart speaker adoption will continue to grow at a rapid pace, but the new action is already shifting to other surfaces. ” — Brett Kinsella, Voicebot.ai What does this mean for your business? ● How could you remove friction and improve convenience with consumer electronics or services in the home? ● Does your product capture information that could be useful to the users, even if it’s not traditionally digital? ● If you could get live feedback from how your product is being used, what new opportunities could that information unleash from a product and service innovation point of view?
  11. 11. 03 Smart everywhere After smart phones: smart watches, smart headphones, and smart cars. There are increasing numbers of surfaces from which to access internet services, from your home, your car, and around your body. In particular, smart earphones (or ‘hearables’) is a category expected to expand greatly this year as dedicated chips make it easier for new products come to market. It’s all a move away from the phone screen and towards an ‘atomic computer’, where actions are invoked from different devices as appropriate; for example, glanceable messaging notifications on your wrist, getting directions read out in your ear, or gaining new knowledge while you drive.
  12. 12. 03 Apple’s AirPods put Siri a single button-press away. From playing music to composing emails to finding opening hours, the smart assistant in your ears becomes a truly personal assistant. Earphones with buttons for invoking assistants were prevalent at this year’s CES. The Echo Auto is a small, inexpensive add-on that brings Alexa to your car. It’s powered by the cigarette lighter port and connects to your phone and car stereo using Bluetooth. Implications The smart assistant is breaking out of phones and speakers and becoming a system to manage your memory, identity and history across all the different contexts in which you accessing information and internet services—in your home, in your car, and on your body. Users will expect the brands and services they interact with to be smart about understanding those contexts too. Also beautiful case 2 picture here
  13. 13. “ The end goal for all the major technology players, from Amazon to Apple to Google to Samsung, isn’t a smart speaker in every home; it’s a smart assistant everywhere, in everything. ” — Peter Gasston, Rehab What does this mean for your business? ● If it’s true that people will rely more on assistants to get more things done, how will you drive customer satisfaction as a brand? ● If AI assistants can make product or service suggestions based on our usage patterns, predicting our preferences with better accuracy through time, how will brands guarantee customer retention? ● How would your approach to marketing change if consumers trust assistant recommendations over your advertising?
  14. 14. 04 Conversational commerce Although more than two in every five voice assistant users have tried voice shopping, it’s yet to take off significantly—most purchases have been for entertainment and low-cost everyday goods. However, conversational commerce is about more than just voice and shopping. Conversational interfaces are being successfully used for customer service, breaking complicated functions into simple steps, and using natural language to allow richer interactions. This creates opportunities for brands to support consumers in a more convenient and personalised way. Half of shoppers would like to use voice shopping in-store, although there are limitations still to be overcome, not least noisy retail environments, and customer reticence to authorise payments on voice-only devices. But technology gives retailers the ability to offer a useful and individualised experience to each shopper, remembering their profiles and playing back preferences through smart data usage.
  15. 15. 04 Argos were the first bricks-and-mortar retailer in the UK to launch a voice shopping service, late in 2018. Their click-and-collect service is a bridge between online and offline shopping, bringing a voice assistant to smoothen consumers experience at purchase. Nike Coach talks to runners to better understand what gear they’re looking for and guide them to more relevant products. This is a useful way to aid the consideration process, and data can inform future product recommendations. As of January 2019, purchase conversions by users of Nike UK’s website who got recommendations from Nike Coach were higher than by regular users. Implications Conversational commerce should be considered by brands looking to increase purchase convenience with a quicker more effective way for shoppers to buy or provide additional value with personal support. With an increasing number of surfaces through which customers can interact with brands and services, there’s an increased expectation that every previous interaction will be remembered and used to provide more informed recommendations. Source: Nike Coach Data analysis 2019
  16. 16. 05 The ease with which consumers can switch to different brands and products is another challenge for marketers already facing shrinking budgets and rising acquisition costs. Because of this, more and more brands are re-evaluating the effectiveness of their investment in their most important asset— the customer relationship. Customer lifetime value (CLV) is the most critical metric for any relationship-savvy businesses. It is a measure of customer profitability over time, rather than just a single transaction. The process of calculating CLV makes it possible for brands to identify their most valuable customers and focus on serving them better than anyone else can. In addition to making marketing more effective, CLV could also positively impact different element within a business, from promotions, financials, R&D, sourcing to product design. Customer lifetime value
  17. 17. 05 Inspirations Electronic Arts were traditionally a packaged goods company with no visibility into their customers. Now they apply CLV thinking to every key business decision, using the data of customers who have shown the greatest increase in lifetime value to inform new games and modes of gameplay. Amazon the king of customer service, pays close attention to driving CLV. It’s estimated that Kindle owners spend about 56% more than other customers per year buying from Amazon. This valuable data enables Amazon to efficiently compete on price and continue to increase its CLV on more than 100 million paying Prime subscribers through a wide range of new services. Implications Less than a quarter of respondents from Criteo’s marketer survey believed that their company was monitoring CLV effectively. This is mainly due to the siloed nature of organisations when customer data is not shared across business units. But data-savvy brands are taking initiatives to continue increasing the lifetime value of their customers.
  18. 18. “ Rather than focusing only on [the physical] product, you would want to figure out what you could do for your most valuable customers. What products and service should you offer to enhance the value of those customers, and where can you find more customers like them? ” — Peter Fader, The Wharton School What does this mean for your business? ● Who are your most valuable customers? Do you know how to identify them? ● How could your brand focus more on creating personalised and differentiated experiences to serve and retain your VIP customers? ● Do you have the information needed to apply a simplified CLV formula? ○ Initial cost of customer acquisition ○ Annual revenue contribution per customer ○ Annual direct costs per customer ○ Average customer retention rate
  19. 19. 06 Trust: rebuilt For years, data has been the cash that customers didn’t know they were spending—and now they want their change. In an age of data breaches and fake news, where people lend their time or stuff for a five-star review and a payday, trust has to be earned. For brands, the remedy has always been to placate, posture and position. In 2019, they need to consider the fundamentals of their conduct and be prepared to change, quickly, before customers go elsewhere. And they will, because they have choice. People aren’t just more vocal, they are more educated and better protected. GDPR makes businesses accountable for their data practices, and the tools people use every day—from web browsers to social networks—are exposing the untrustworthy. Brands have an opportunity now to put people in full, transparent control of their data. ‘Trust’ could soon be a factor for AIs making purchase decisions, and startups are already circling the opportunity to step in and manage personal data on users’ behalf. Before you know it, you might have lost out on the chance to deliver any message at all.
  20. 20. 06 Also beautiful case 2 picture here Inspirations Traditional Media are striking back—both The New York Times and The Guardian saw their digital revenue outstrip print last year. As trust in social media wavers, media incumbents are gaining subscription revenue (which impressively now makes up 60% of the NYT’s total revenue) to establish credibility in quality content. With tech platforms like Facebook and Microsoft looking at new ways to protect users from bad information, this is the battle to watch in 2019. Hu-manity.co is one of many startups using blockchain technology (from IBM, in this case) to give internet users ownership and control of their data, positioning that ownership as the 31st fundamental human right. Hu-manity.co encourages internet users to claim their data as their property by joining the movement. Implications Consumers are now almost conditioned to distrust, so how can brands stop that Pavlovian bell from ringing? Be transparent, empower your customers to guide you, and when you screw up: admit it.
  21. 21. “ We are experiencing a fundamental paradigm shift in our relationship to knowledge. From the ‘information age’, we are moving towards the ‘reputation age’, in which information will have value only if it is already filtered, evaluated and commented upon by others. ” — Gloria Origgi, author What does this mean for your business? ● How could you bring greater transparency and better tools into the experience to make your customers feel in control of their data? Are you making it easy for your customers to see and manage the data you hold, and how it’s used? ● Data scientists are redefining (and making measurable) the intangibles of brand value. What could you be doing to activate and modernise the reputation you have commanded in the past? ● Today, businesses big and small are starting to understand the importance of standing with their customers on the issues that they care about. How could you take action to help further those causes, and call for others to do the same with inspirational, educational and engaging content?
  22. 22. 07 Today’s consumers hold all the power when it comes to interacting with brand experiences and making purchase decisions. Some companies still outsource their diversity and inclusivity challenges rather than integrate them as core values, but we see signs of this long-fought battle being addressed more seriously. Designing for inclusion from the ground-up means happy users, excellent designs, and no later costly retrofits. Inclusive design and cultural diversity are becoming more prevalent in business, to the extent that it’s now a selling point on recruitment pages. More businesses are taking part in programmes like (encouraging young voices and diverse point of view in creativity) and (promoting equal opportunities for everyone from returning mothers to people of colour). These services make it easier for businesses to address the core challenges of designing for diversity and inclusivity and encourage them to tackle these issues upfront. Diversity and inclusivity
  23. 23. 07 Inspirations Google Assistant voice choices have assigned colours rather than gendered names, avoiding the issue of gender stereotypes and ensuring that equality is baked in to the experience. Huawei’s StorySign uses computer vision to read selected children’s books and translate them into sign language, helping deaf children learn how to read. Microsoft’s Adaptive Controller is designed for gamers with limited mobility—even the packaging is carefully considered. Microsoft inclusive design principle is 'solve for one, extend to many’. Implications Not designing for inclusion means designing for exclusion. We should always being asking ourselves: who is being excluded from your product, service, or message? Which research methods and design approach could we use that would allow us to better understand and address different audiences’ needs and behavioural preferences?
  24. 24. “ Inclusive design is based on the simple principle that designing for the widest range of people creates better designs and benefits everyone. ” — Sensory Trust What does this mean for your business? ● Bias is invisible and harmful. How can you assess your business for potential bias, understanding that what you’re designing may not be applicable to everyone? There are many tools or services which can help you find out where your business might be falling short in D&I, for example The Other Box. ● Encourage your team to reflect and understand your customers; form it as a group ritual. Otherwise, your work can turn obsolete rather quickly as it is not fulfilling the needs and demands from people. Personas aren’t real users. ● One way to tackle the challenge of under-representation is to involve your target audiences and end-users throughout the design process.
  25. 25. 08 From the addicting effects of infinite scrolling to the harms of comparison culture, technology’s effect on our wellbeing had pretty bad press last year. But chastened technology giants are changing their attitudes, and a growing number of people are turning to tech to improve their physical and mental health. The latest versions of Android and iOS introduced digital wellbeing tools: monitoring time spent in apps and giving controls to limit that time; better management of notifications; and ways to wind down before bedtime and improve the quality of sleep. Globally, spending on health and fitness apps, from physical workouts to guided meditation to virtual medics, grew 300% between 2016 and 2018, And younger people, born into a world of social media, have led the way to new, healthier online behaviours such as ephemeral sharing and groups and communities based on shared interests. Digital wellbeing
  26. 26. 08 Inspirations Google’s Digital Wellbeing initiative includes a dashboard that shows the time you’ve spent on your Android phone, and controls to let you limit time spent in apps, manage interruptions, and wind down to bedtime. iOS, Facebook, and Instagram all rolled out similar tools—a recognition of the responsibility they hold. Guided meditation apps Calm and Headspace were voted first and third ‘most happy’ apps by 20,000 iPhone users, and ranked in the top 10 apps by consumer spend in the UK last year. Implications ‘Time spent’ often isn’t the best metric for engagement—tech apps and services shouldn't be addicting for the sake of it. Brands that create tools to help people improve their physical and mental wellbeing will create better long-term relationships with their customers.
  27. 27. 09 More than a third of the global population have used voice search, with 77% of US adults using it at least monthly and 46% at least daily. They like that it’s faster than typing, and leaves their hands free. Google’s history in search makes Assistant the leader in answering questions, but Amazon and Apple have invested heavily to improve their voice search results. Visual search, powered by machine learning, lets customers use their cameras to find visually similar products—especially useful for finding items or patterns that are hard to verbalise. Computer vision has seen incredible improvements in the past few years; Google Lens recognises more than a billion products, four times what it could a year ago. Visual search was the new technology voted by 18 to 34-year-old internet users (62.2%) to be most likely they’d be comfortable with as part of their shopping experience. New ways to search
  28. 28. 09 Inspirations Google say 81 million how-to beauty searches were made on YouTube in 2018, and they launched a special partnership wit Sephora to display their full range of makeup tutorial videos on the Home Hub accessible through a series of custom voice commands. Fashion brand Forever 21 added visual search to its app and within a month saw an increase in sales conversions and average purchase value. Other brands using visual search include ASOS, H&M, and Amazon, whose Part Finder lets customers search for screws and fasteners they otherwise might not be able to identify. Implications Helping customers find your content and products becomes even more important when there are so many new ways to search. Brands and businesses have to be clever in their use of structured data for products on websites, in making social and media content that clearly matches user intent, and with using clear and well categorised photography.
  29. 29. “ As computers start to see like we do, the camera will become a powerful and intuitive interface to the world around us; an AI viewfinder that puts the answers right where the questions are. ” — Aparna Chennapragada, Google What does this mean for your business? ● More so than traditional web search, voice search is frequently used to get a definitive answer than to request more options. What information does your website contain that could be useful for answering these knowledge-based queries? ● Smartphone cameras can capture meaningful information, and provide valuable context, about your users’ behaviour. How could you use this information to provide an enhanced product or service experience for your target audiences?
  30. 30. 10 Google and Apple continue to extend augmented reality (AR) capabilities on smartphones, and Snapchat and Facebook’s app family have democratised mass-market AR creation. Smartphone AR is great for augmented selfies, enhanced ‘mirrors’ (especially for cosmetics brands), AR stickers in messages, and quickly snapping enhanced and shoppable posters. But holding your phone at 90° isn’t comfortable or convenient enough for extended use. The full potential of AR will be unlocked by headsets or glasses. HoloLens was first to market, and Magic Leap made its long-awaited debut last year. Challenger brands such as North and Vusix have more limited but less bulky headsets in market, and a new brand called Nreal promises high quality in a pair of glasses you might actually want to wear. There’s still a long path ahead for AR, but big steps are being taken. Extending reality
  31. 31. Inspirations Sephora’s Messenger Camera Effect offers a selection of five looks that customers can virtually try on before they buy. It’s an extension of their Virtual Artist service available through their app and in-store ‘magic mirrors’. Nike’s SNKRS AR camera turns print advertising into digital pop-ups, restoring culture to digital commerce. Snapchat rolled out its Shoppable AR Lenses to creators in 2018, later adding partners such as Adidas and L’Oreal. Shoppable AR “seamlessly blends real-world charm with digital world convenience”. Implications The phone camera is an input as important as the keyboard or microphone, and rich live visual effects are made real with dedicated firmware libraries and hardware for visual processing in newer smartphones. While AR may never fully take off until we have specialist headwear, virtual mirrors and shoppable posters are an indicator of a major future component of the post-mobile software platform. 10 Also beautiful case 2 picture here
  32. 32. “ You sell 100,000 shoes? Great. But if all 100,000 kids who bought them are sitting at home clicking a button, there’s no culture there. Only commerce. So the key to success for the future of Nike and the future of sneaker culture is to be able to seamlessly blend real-world charm with digital world convenience.” — Jeff Staple, Staple Design What does this mean for your business? ● Augmented reality bridges the physical and digital world in a way the web hasn’t. It can be used to add real-world culture to your digital products and services. ● The rear-facing lens can add information to the world around us. What does your brand offer that can enhance what a user sees when they look outwards? ● The front-facing lens is as much a mirror as it is a camera. How can ‘selfie mode’ show off your brand or products in a way that puts the user at the heart of the picture?
  33. 33. Report Contributors. About Rehab. Rehab is a creative technology agency. We help brands build innovative digital experiences and products that put people first. We are committed to establishing a way for technology to have a positive impact in business and society. The company has been honoured with numerous industry awards including the Emmy, Deloitte Technology Fast 50, Digiday and Cannes Lion awards. If your looking to use technology to give your business an unfair advantage and you want to start exceeding your customers expectations, get in touch. Peter Gasston, Richil Cheng, Camille Bourdier, Rosie Copland, Ed Hallam, Claire Medcalf, Gordon Midwood, James Penfold, and Piers Wingfield Jones.
  34. 34. ENDS.