The flood of creators across the digital economy presents an opportunity to fuse content and commerce; Image: ShutterstockThe hyper-connected and ever evolving consumer landscape presents an opportunity for marketers to re-imagine content, targeting and outreach in the coming year.
1) More power to the creator
‘Influencers’ has been a buzzword of the 2020s. Marketers had cleverly tapped the influence of celebrities across domains to weave stories around their solutions, with the customer at the centre. Across social networks, influencers and micro-influencers have become a rage with brands and consumers alike. The ‘creator wave’ might change it all.
Driven by the ‘lockdown spark’ and internet connectivity, people across walks of life are reinventing themselves as ‘creators’—sharing nuggets of their lives and expertise with their networks. Who are the creators? From the maths tutor next door to the rooftop singer, it is anyone with a unique network and the necessary content to engage their niche following. As their presence grows from their ‘local networks’ to the universe of social networks, they are poised to make the leap to ‘influencers’.
The ‘creators’ present a rare opportunity for brands, enhancing brand connect with their audiences and ‘look-alikes’.
2) Social currency: Commerce on social channels
The rise of the ‘creator ecosystem’ leaps beyond content and into commerce. The flood of creators across the digital economy
presents an opportunity to fuse content and commerce. The democratic creator ecosystem presents a solution—social commerce. The partnership of creators and solution developers, powered by new age platforms that enable commerce embedded content formats, has the potential to redefine outreach and as a result commerce itself.
3) Beyond brands: Unifying for the planet
What a noteworthy difference a couple of years make—from debating the validity of industrial impact on the environment to consumers embracing ‘clean labels’. The lockdown of 2020 and 2021 opened our minds and pushed the quest for a happier and healthier life. Starting from discovering local solutions to moving the needle of intent to purchase on eco-friendly alternatives, the consumer landscape has altered significantly. In the coming year, the consumer intent for greener and cleaner solutions will be a defining theme for brands across sectors as companies look to build a ‘sustainable’ partnership with their consumers. In 2022, rising consciousness will also raise the bar for businesses to pay more attention to their ESG frameworks
4) Brand purpose: Standing for a cause
The global shutdown caused by Covid-19 exposed many structural inequalities, driving consumers to be more conscious of the impact of business on communities. Consumers today will not endorse businesses that are out of touch with their values, beliefs and the sociocultural changes sweeping society. To win them over, brands will need to demonstrate what they stand for and how they add value to society.
5) Data sovereignty
As consumer lives become embedded deeper online, more thrust will be placed on consumer data protection and privacy. 2022 will set the tone for marketers to be more open about how and when they collect personal information, and the benefit they serve to the consumer from the information. Right data protection controls will be key in showing consumers the value exchange between content and advertising, while bestowing sovereignty on them. Web 3.0
, a concept in motion, will be central to making consumers feel in charge of their data, while enabling marketers to build deeper consumer cohorts and connections.
6) The element of surprise
The consumer is evolving every day, interacting with technology and people in newer ways, transforming the landscape for brands. There might be a metaverse with synthetic media projecting hyper-realistic personas, creating a new breed of virtual consumers with their own distinct preferences. With emerging technologies geared to make the virtual experience more ‘real’ and enjoyable, the possibilities are immense.
How marketers carve out fresh opportunities from these rapid and radical changes is a question which, in the time to come, will lead up to some very interesting solutions. Both for consumers and brands.
Jasneet Bachal is Chief Marketing Officer of Yes Bank. Views expressed are personal.