Cannes 2022 was a week dedicated to reconnecting and reimagining our industry for the future. In addition to the major players on the beach like Twitter, Google or newcomer Amazon, there was also a rising voice throughout every session and conversation – the voice of the customer. The industry is making a hard pivot to serve their most valuable consumer better and that comes to life across all pathways whether it’s through meaningful purpose-led creative, entertainment or via the power of community. Much like we are seeing on the beach of Le Croisette, we’re seeing platforms, data and ad tech providers all converge in an effort to deliver the best possible experience – one that is intuitive and services the needs of the most valuable consumers of tomorrow.
Here are some core themes I noticed in conversations at Cannes and tips brands can use to build customer-first experiences for the future:
Every Moment Matters
Consumers of tomorrow want seamless and predictive experiences that make them feel good, save time and confirm that they have made the right decision. Brands need to focus on the obstacles that exist today to deliver this. That includes preparing for the cookieless world, designing systems for real time engagements and focusing on what is right creatively for long-term brand health.
Making every moment matter is dependent on not just having the right content, but also the tools to know where consumers are in their relationship with you. This means a first party data strategy as well as marketing technology infrastructure that can navigate where consumers are engaging with you – whether on a retail media network, through a social platform or directly. When these two capabilities work together, you can move someone from a transaction to a relationship with the brand over time.
Partnerships Enable Recruitment and Retention
When it comes to recruiting and retaining your most important customer, partnerships matter. Consumers are in a constant battle for their attention, so brands need to use marketing innovations and partnerships to develop meaningful experiences for each platform. We recently conducted research with Twitter on social conversation’s impact on purchase decisions and our findings revealed that brand conversation is the “new review” and more than half of shoppers consider brand conversations on social more or as impactful as traditional reviews.
This is a huge opportunity for brands. If they want to help influence purchase decisions, they need to contribute to and support conversation actively and authentically within their customers’ communities: control the narrative and spark positive conversation amongst people who care about the brand; and cultivate the new review – connect in a way that makes the brand feel more human.
Creative Redefined Opt-In Experiences vs. Advertising
Consumers are more flirtatious than ever before with the ability to turn on and off from a brand in just a moment. We often talk about connecting across the consumer journey but don’t talk about the potential risks for disconnects across the journey. In order to build meaningful opt-in brand experiences, you must get the brilliant basics right so you are not signaling to a consumer that this is the first time you have met. Running alongside of this, the future of creative is the ability to create brand narratives that can seamlessly blend within networks, including platforms and retail media networks, that are authentic. Only through smart brand narrative and network presence can you build strength in communities that have growing power as we are on the cusp of web3.
One area I see this growing is in augmented reality (AR). The role AR and immersive technology can play in consumer experiences has real potential to boost consumer confidence in buying a product and lessen the need for returns – making it a more sustainable and smarter way to introduce consumers to a brand or product. We recently conducted research with Snap and found that 80% of shoppers feel more confident in their purchases when using AR and that 66% who did so were less likely to return purchases. The vast majority of respondents also stressed interest in using post-purchase AR experiences, such as how-to guides or sharing their purchase experiences with friends.
By focusing on long-term operational health, game-changing collaborations and immersive creativity, brands can start to prime themselves to deliver on the next phase of connected commerce. We definitely saw the beginnings of this at Cannes and look forward to seeing this take shape over the coming months.
This article is part of the Commerce at Cannes Trends Report – download the full report here.