In this day and age we are overloaded with information from screens of all sizes. This has been building for years but 2016 is said to be a year where we take a step back and seek a better balance between real life and the technology that we’re so often glued to.
The Slow Living movement is something that will need to be understood by businesses of all shapes and sizes. Not only will customers be looking for a more human approach from the brands they work with but they’ll also be seeking further efficiencies in their technology.
William Higham, consumer futurist and founder of strategic consultancy Next Big Thing, says: “Customers are feeling overloaded (with data, work, activities and responsibilities) and have also seen how technology can provide efficiencies: as a result they will expect more efficient products and services across all sectors.
“Brands should make things easy to understand and simple to use; they should reduce customer stress by editing, aggregating, personalising, consolidating, enabling; providing edited, informed choice and recommendation.
“They should take advantage of the personalisation and streamlining opportunities offered by new developments such as the Internet of Things, ibeacons, cognitive and biometric technology, and wearables.”
This needs to be cleverly balanced with a more personal approach from businesses. Technology is still important to us but the world is becoming increasingly aware of how much of it there is in day-to-day life, something that’s led to a rise in vinyl sales, and trendy pubs that have 80s VHS movie nights.
Higham says: “As a counterbalance to the ubiquity and relentlessness of technology, customers will increasingly look for a more ‘human’ (empathic, person-led, trustworthy) approach from brands.
“They’ll expect service, comfort and personalisation; demand products that help them find, communicate and share with groups of like-minded individuals; and champion brands that value honesty over perfection and help others.
“Smart brands will create a Brand Family: the brand and its customers coming together like a family unit: helping, sustaining, advising and caring about each other.”
Businesses need to focus on their core values and how they communicate with their customers. Even if you make the best product in the world, you’re not going to get anywhere if you can’t connect with your customers on a personal level.