I’m participating in another five day marathon of brain food that our partner Like Minds has been busy cooking up for you to savour this year at Social Media Week London. As part of my ongoing horizon scan, I’ve been asking my fellow panelists to share their thoughts on what they think will be different in five years’ time and what they think will remain the same. I’ve highlighted a selection of their responses for The Drum, hoping it will give you a taster of what’s on the Like Minds menu:
Karen Fewell @digitalblonde hopes that we’ll have a healthier relationship with food in future. She thinks the likes of super smart wearable tech will play a major part in this by knowing exactly what we are consuming rather than having to enter everything into a diet app. Karen hopes this will bring about real-time awareness of food and health, as well as behavioural changes through the sharing of knowledge and experience to motivate communities.
Karen also predicts that food and catering industries will know much more about their customers and their emotional relationship with food:
They will know in real time which of their customers in a set radius is hungover and needs re-hydrating, which have been to the gym and are in need of protein, and who needs ‘brain food’ due to mental stress.
She points out that success in the hospitality industry has always been based on a good customer experience, and new technology will make this more important than ever before.
When we look down the street, our glasses or wearables will highlight which restaurant has the shortest wait, which one is short-staffed today, which one has had a health warning, which one offers a meal of 473 calories made up of the nutrients your body requires right now.
But she still thinks some of the best moments in life happen when you are sitting around a table eating with the people you love. “Food will always brings people together,” she adds.
Tenthwave Digital’s partner Eric Schwamberger from New York sees content as the means to winning the hearts and minds of consumers as they become more conscious of public health issues and more informed of their options:
It will become essential for food brands to have a social ‘point of view and personality’ that people want to be a part of.
In some cases, he sees this translating into a true commitment to Social Corporate Responsibility issues important to their consumers (Chipotle). For others, Eric thinks it will simply be through defining themselves into a lifestyle that consumers wear as a badge (Kashi). But regardless of the approach or levers, he thinks the natural and organic social communication of these brand beliefs will become an increasingly important consideration.
Eric still sees tech fuelling the evolution of Social CRM, and it becoming a mainstream discipline for Food brands – driven by new data analytics tools that continue to close the loop from profile to purchase:
There’s a host of new opportunities for savvy AdTech marketers who get how social content, mobile enablement, contextual advertising and shopper data work together.
As retailers battle with the deep discount dilemma driven by comparison sites and mobile apps that make it easier for consumers to “showroom”, 1000heads WOM evangelist and digital editor at Phoenix magazine Molly Flatt thinks we’ll see more innovation with in-store, social CRM:
Apps such as Bespoky, Nudge, Suffro and Contexica help drive a better experience in terms of fit, product recognition and personal shopping.
Molly also see stores becoming luxurious showrooms that focus on driving word of mouth through experiences and events, rather than being just functional spaces focused on sales:
Brands will start to distinguish themselves better in social , with high-street retailers like Topshop and ASOS innovating with sexy multichannel campaigns while luxury labels focus on translating concierge-level service online.
She predicts the likes of Fashion Week getting over their love affair with bloggers, who some regard as becoming more diva-like than the designers, and instead we’ll see shows regaining a more intimate and exclusive feel. Molly also thinks we’ll see more brands emulating trailblazers like Net-A-Porter and Burberry by building “cross-disciplinary content empires”. There are some things that she thinks won’t change though:
Designers on Twitter will continue to be as mad as a bag of snakes.
Apps are also playing their part in the innovation of drinks service, such as the ordering and paying for drinks without queuing up at the bar. Imbibe magazine’s Julie Sheppard thinks this will continue to become more widespread. She also thinks that social media will help bring new drinks to market that people really want through crowdfunding and user feedback.
Kirsty Chant at Chant Communications also sees drinks trends being predicted and measured using social media monitoring rather than more traditional metrics such as sales. For Kirsty, there’s a real opportunity for those more agile and responsive companies to not only develop new products and strategies based on the analysis of this data, but also use social listening to drive recommendation through exceptional social customer service:
A happy, satisfied customer is likely to go and tell everyone how great you are and these recommendations will continue to remain valuable.
It doesn’t seem like we’ve reached Peak Craft in drinks yet. However, Julie thinks we’ll see a much greater range becoming available. Greg Burke at Jamie Oliver’s Drinks Tube and Fresh One Productions is hoping that coffee will soon become snubbed in favour of a decent brew. Despite still not being fashionable in his local Shoreditch, he’s championing the likes of the Good & Proper Tea Co as it gives him hope that all is not lost yet.
Julie and Kirsty both see a shift by the big drinks brands from advertising to targeting smaller groups of specialist influencers to spread the love about their products. Johnnie Walker Blue Label’s venture into branded content with their ‘The Gentleman’s Wager’ short film featuring Jude Law suggests that other strategies are also being considered, and perhaps this forms part of the need to develop a clear brand story and identity that Kirsty mentions. But as Julie points out the noise you make or amplify on social media is no substitute for delivering what customers want in terms of taste, quality and price:
No amount of gloss can disguise a poor serve with poor products: you still have to mix the meanest Manhattan in town!
Greg prefers a good Negroni instead, possibly while watching YouTube to discover new talent as part of their Search for a Cocktail Star. He’s loved watching entrants from far flung locations mixing incredible drinks, and thinks we’ll see a spike in the number of YouTubers dedicated to all things drinkable:
Expect to see more and more bartenders and home enthusiasts using the platform to show off their skills, build their brand and reach new audiences.
Kirsty also sees YouTube being used along with other visual-based platforms such as Vine, Instagram, and Pinterest for more targeted marketing efforts from drinks companies. For example, personalised video content popping up on your phone when you are in the vicinity of a bar or shop offering something relevant to you.
Streaming will become the preferred access to recorded music, predicts Mahogany Media Group’s business development director Nathan Graves, but thinks we’ll be listening to it over a number of devices with mobile being top. He also sees prices continuing to fall, along with a single global subscription to align developing countries and capture mass consumption.
Exclusive content will be offered by multiple services like Rdio, Deezer and Beats, but they’ll also be offered by social media stars with large followers. But Nathan suspects that YouTube will still dominate video streaming, with more content that’s often live and funded by brands
The thrill of live for the ‘goose bump’ effect, however, won’t change, and so Nathan thinks live shows will always survive for those “real touch experiences” with like minded tribes and fans.
The Festivals will grow in pre-sales even before the line-ups are announced, and new Festivals will come and go as they get the demographic and programming mix right and wrong. The ‘rights of passage’ brands like Glastonbury, Reading, V Festival, Bestival will keep their heads up as the rest of the market cater to the niche or more intimate experiences.
Nathan sees this as all money in the bank for the promoters, which he hopes will be used to bring new music to the main stages.
It’s all going to be about the move from mass premium to personalisation in the luxury sector, predicts the The Auto Network strategy director Alastair Duncan.
Exclusivity is increasingly harder to find, and we’ll be seeing a vast array of individually tailored items with a personal imprint for each customer.
He points to the revival of small run bespoke products, such as personally designed watches, one-off remakes of the E-Type, or just having your name stitched in to the seat of your Bentley. In five years time, Alastair thinks this will have become an industry standard, and by then luxury car companies will have branched out into offering entire ‘transport solutions’, including shopping concierges, bicycles, and even private bus zones:
Expect to see first class areas on buses, sponsored by BMW, where you sign in with your social network for exclusive access.
He doesn’t see the desire for luxury cars declining, so an obsessive amount of time spent looking at them on all devices will continue, with people expecting to see fantastic and glamorous pictures on brand sites. But they’ll continue to hunt down bargains on third party sites, as data transparency and published peer review becomes the norm.
VeryFirstTo and Superbrands founder Marcel Knobil predicts a sea change with many of those brands that have so far resisted embracing social media finally being seduced into it, realising that the values of heritage and quality needn’t be undermined:
“The consumer will be listened to and delivered to more and more with bespoke, as opposed to imposed, becoming an increasingly evident feature within the luxury landscape.”
Despite the platforms that luxury brands communicate through being in constant flux, Marcel thinks a strong brand will still be built on quality products, consistency, awareness of their DNA, and creativity.
But what do you think?
We hope the above provides thought for food, and we’d be fascinated to hear your feedback in the comments below for our ongoing horizon scan, along with any questions you may have to keep the panelist on their toes.
You can see a full list of topics and panelists at Like Minds who will be co-hosting their sessions with The Drum at Crowdshed, the new crowdfunding platform and co-working space in Central London.
This includes Chris Difford from Squeeze sharing his life story along with a set of his songs on Thursday early evening. But if you can’t join us at Crowdshed, or during the five nights of networking down the street at Bradley’s Spanish Bar, then you can follow the proceedings via #LikeMinds #SMWLDN on Twitter.