Beacon Guiding you through the ever changing world of communications2011 saw a plethora of changes to The year ahead will be no different, and weconsumer buying habits and a multitude curious folk at Finn have taken the liberty toof new communications platforms look ahead and pull together the must-knowblossom, offering us more opportunities trends. In this edition of Beacon, we look atthan ever to creatively engage with the hottest technologies, the latest consumer Powered byour audiences. quirks and give you a slice of insight about the campaigns, tools and news that have turned us on this year.
Health & Wellbeing Functional Food Food Health and wellness has long Functional food, those that since been a driving factor on come with added health food innovation and research claims, will increasingly line by Deloitte found that 77 per our grocery shelves in 2012. cent of top manufacturers, re- Why? It’s an age thing. The ag- tailers and food service pro- ing Baby Boomer generation, viders thought it would be the who form the largest group of primary trend shaping our pal- influencers in the food sector, ettes in 2012. More than half will take an active interest in of shoppers are likely to read maintaining a healthy, active the food label before buying lifestyle as they hit retirement.The World’s Local Larder a product, so expect more We can expect to spot more active promotion of health products with glucosamineThe UK is one of the more benefits on shelf. The quest for Mood Food to help strengthen joints andgastronomically adventurous ‘five portions a day’ is alive omega-3 to improve brainnations, and this year will be and kicking and remains the Food can make us happy, health and help reduce heartno exception, with Peruvian message that resonates most energised or even make us disease.cuisine likely to hit the main- strongly with consumers. This, more passionate in the bed-stream. However, when we’re coupled with tough new reg- room, but it doesn’t stopnot chowing down on Cevi- ulations, especially on child- there. New developments inche, we’re likely to be going hood diets, means that health science are revealing thatlocal in an attempt to reduce will continue to be top of the everything we eat has theour environmental footprint, consumer agenda this year. potential to change the waywith authenticity, provenance we think and feel. Next gen-and localness being the most eration foods will be tailoredimportant factors influencing to meet the needs and thefood choice. Leatherhead desires of an individual con-Food Research, a global food sumer, whether they want toresearch company, actually be woken up, cheered uppredicts a blending of these or chilled out. According totwo trends, with consumers online food resource Food &demanding internationally lo- Drink Towers, 44 per cent of in-cal ingredients. A food’s origin dustry experts believe moodwill increasingly become a foods will increase in marketmark of quality, so expect to value, with happiness andsee the likes of Madagascan stress foods expected to bevanilla become popular. the main areas of growth.
Random Acts of Kindness CSR Corporate Increasingly open communi- Ethical business is now ex- cations between brands and pected and consumers are consumers mean it’s simple increasingly looking for com- to surprise and delight your munity benefits when mak- fans with a relevant gesture to ing purchasing decisions. The brighten their day, help them Food & Drinks sector is one celebrate or thank them for of the most scrutinised indus- their opinion. Social media tries, and it’s brands that of- has prompted a lot of free fer that feel-good factor that brand-to-fan love, but the seem to be leading the way. power behind RAK is in its se- Take Innocent for example,Real-Time Consumer Data lectivity. Last year, one of the who’s whole business strategy most talked about brands is built around sustainability2012 will be the year that real- was Interflora, who scoured and fairness - sustainable nu-time online decision-making the internet for those having a trition, ingredients, packaging,comes of age. People are bad day and offered to send production and profit shar-increasingly sharing every- them a bunch of flowers. How- Corporate Volunteerism ing. However, it doesn’t stop atthing they do, buy, watch, lis- ever, the prediction for 2012 is food and drink; those that goten to and read, in real time, that campaigns will have to The value that volunteering beyond simple ethical claimswhether that’s through Twit- become more complex and adds to the UK economy is generally outperform theirter, Tumblr or social apps on personalised in order to pro- in excess of £21.5billion and peers. Last year’s World’s MostFacebook (think Spotify and vide that level of cut-through increasingly, businesses are Ethical awards honoureesThe Guardian). For business- and talkability. playing a vital part as it be- generated on average 30 peres, this means a big opportu- comes more central to the cent greater returns than othernity to align themselves more CSR mix. Despite the financial publically owned companies.closely with the needs of their climate, volunteerism, particu-customers. The challenge for larly stemming from businessmarketeers is to make sense initiatives is on the up and it’sof this data mass and use it increasingly done on a na-to make quick, smart business tional scale. This year, spend-decisions, identifying and pre- ing cuts within charities, thedicting upcoming trends to government’s Big Society vi-capitalise on them. sion and the 2012 London Olympics, a huge undertaking that will require up to 70,000 volunteers, are all likely to give the sector a boost.
Stay at Home Dads Social Commerce Lifestyle This budding set of home Social Commerce is about bodies is one to watch, par- consumers using peer rec- ticularly if you work in the ommendations to make pur- food, beverage and FMCG chases through social me- sectors. Research by Aviva re- dia, whether these be ratings, ports that there are now 1.4m reviews or comments. For stay at home dads in the UK, brands, it means harnessing 10 times as many than a dec- the power of word of mouth to ade ago, with one in seven fa- drive purchases and includes thers now the main childcare everything from group buy- provider. The trend has been ing and check-in rewards onSuper Premium driven by increasing numbers Foursquare, to selling limited of women earning more than edition products through a Fa-Despite ever tightening pock- their partners and reflects cebook shop. 2011 saw someets, UK food lovers still like to changing attitudes amongst of the more daring brands ex-treat themselves with posh couples, with more men able periment with social selling,nosh from time to time. This to relinquish their the role as such as Starbucks and ASOS,year will see a divergence in family breadwinner and in- but as user recommendationsfood purchasing habits, with DIY Health stead take on more work in and reviews increase their in-consumers looking to the ex- the home. fluence on consumer behav-tremes of both discount and Who needs professional iour, social commerce will stopsuper-premium products, with health advice when there’s being a “nice to have” and willcentre ground brands feeling an app for that? Do it Yourself start to fuel sales volumes on athe squeeze. A premium treat Health will naturally be driven par with traditional channels.can be justified as an afforda- by technology in 2012, withble indulgence, particularly if novel apps and quirky de-it includes a feel-good health vices increasingly letting con-benefit and we’re likely to see sumers track, manage and im-this trend extend to 2012 and prove their health themselves.beyond. And If you don’t be- Apple’s App Store currently of-lieve us, you may want to note fers 9,000 mobile health appsthe success of Heston’s pre- and by mid-2012, this numbermium Christmas pud that flew is expected to reach 13,000.off Waitrose’s shelves over the One of our personal favouritesfestive period. is the Skin Scan app, which helps early identification of malignant moles.
Near Field Communications Smart Phones Digital Soon every mobile device will Up until recently sky high come equipped to handle prices have kept the major- Near Field Communications ity of the population out of (NFC), a technology that al- the smart phone market but lows consumers to perform thanks to the emergence of seamless, no-nonsense trans- cheaper models, penetration actions and exchange infor- has more than doubled in mation wirelessly. Early use of the UK over the last two years. NFC has been about stream- This year usage is predicted lining the shopping experi- to reach a tipping point, with ence, such as a Starbucks Gamification 50 per cent of consumers ex-Open Graph app that allows consumers pected to own a smart phone to snap up coffees through Gamification has evolved by the end of the year.Facebook’s Open Graph is a phones pre-loaded with cred- from buzzword to viable on-set of programming tools that it, and a register-free eBay line strategy and it’s now be- For marketeers, mobile wasmake connections between shop where bargain-hungry ing tipped as one of the top once a way to reach those in-Facebook and external ob- bidders snap up deals with tech trends for 2012. Based on fluencers that stayed aheadjects on the web. On one level, their smart phones. However, the idea that rewards are cru- of the curve, but as mobileit lets you take Facebook’s so- being marketers, we’re also cial in creating an engaging devices become an evercial experience and integrate excited about the possibilities digital experience, the phe- more common touch pointit within your website. Even for NFC to be used to push nomenon involves engaging between brands and everymore exciting is its ability to deals, coupons and mes- people by applying game day consumers, there’s muchtake the platform’s rich social sages to consumers’ smart mechanics, for example use more motivation for brands todata and turn it into a person- phones at relevant times and of level progression, leader- invest in mobile technologyalised web experience. The locations. boards, badges and achieve- and campaigns.thing to watch out for in 2012 ments, in an online businessis its addition of social actions environment. It all started withover and above the now ubiq- Foursquare’s check-in baseduitous ‘like’, such as reading, badge system, but we’vewriting and watching, that will seen other innovative incar-allow more dynamic content nations of late, such as Sam-sharing through the new Time- sung Nation, a game-basedline profile. website that allows users to earn points and progress by reviewing products, watching videos and participating in user-generated Q&As.
In 2012, 23 per cent of the UK’s popula- tion will be over 60. The significance of this statistic is that the baby boomer genera- tion is reaching retirement, meaning that many of tomorrow’s pensioners will be more well informed, well educated, health conscious, and discerning than their pre- decessors. They’ll exercise twice as much as the previous generation and more will continue to work. These seniors are interested in successful ageing, extend- ing their middle years by maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle, sparking demand for products and environments that ac- commodate their changing physical and sensory capabilities. Collaborative consumption de- scribes an emerging economic model based not on ownership,Amongst 2012’s utopian vision of collaboration, but on sharing, swapping, bor-gamification and random acts of kindness, there’s rowing and renting access tostill an ever present undercurrent of austerity loom- products and services. If it alling large. Research shows that the number of Brit- sounds grubby and socialistic,ish shoppers that feel they have little or no spare it’s not. It’s set to be one of thecash has reached an all time high at 32 per cent. hottest and far reaching trendsThe average family has around £2,000 less dispos- of 2012 and is reinventing notable income than in previous years. 71 per cent just what we consume but howhave changed their shopping habits and 65 per we consume it. We’ve alreadycent of these have switched to cheaper grocery seen it permeate emergingbrands, an acceptable compromise that is set to sectors such as social lendingcontinue even as financial pressure eases. (check out Zopa if you’re short on cash!), accommodation (with peer-to-peer travel provider CouchSurfing) and car sharing (Zipcar), and you can expect a raft of imitators in 2012.
While traditional coupons are consid- ered tired, outdated, and cumbersome, and bargain hunting was once some- thing to hide, new and innovative uses of online deals, discounts and coupons are driving a new and affluent breed of The mass of data readily available on- hagglers to seek out the best prices in line, particularly through social media, 2012 and beyond. Consumer attitudes has driven a mega trend in personalisa- are shifting in a big way, and such fru- tion. Custom made, personalised goods galicious behaviour is now considered and services are growing in popularity smart, admirable and dare we say it, among consumers who desire complete- darn right cool. The lure of attractive on- ly individualized products and services, line technologies touting deals will en- blending creativity with purchasing pow- sure this is a big trend in 2012, with 9.2 er. Everything from customised online ex- million consumers expected to use on- periences, to personalised gifts, to large, line coupons throughout the year. That’s custom built creations. Early instigators a helluva lot of savings! this year include Toyota, which is encour- aging fans to create bespoke music vid- eos alongside their ad campaign’s pup- pet characters, and airline KLM, which isWe’ve already explored Near Field Com- letting passengers choose who sit nextmunications (NFC) and it’s that very to them based on their social mediatechnology that’s contributing to what compatibility.is fast becoming a cash-less society.It’s not that far away. We’re serious! Theinitial lure of this system is convenienceand speed, but it will eventually openup a whole new world of payments,rewards and targeted, real time offers.We’ve followed this trend for a while andit’s been a slow burner as the technolo-gy has been gradually made affordableand available. While 2012 will not be theyear that the UK adopts cashless pay-ing en masse, we’ll see big boys such asGoogle, Mastercard and Paypall roll outcashless initiatives worldwide.
Tightening pockets and the growing influence of cookery programmes will fuel a growing interest in entertaining in the home, with consumers investing more time and effort into meal times to add fun and theatre to the ordinary working week. Original recipes and un- usual ingredients will be the focus for home-cooks in 2012, who will be influ- enced by TV, foodie magazines, web- sites, social networks and Smartphone apps. Alongside the renaissance in high quality home dining, consumers will also look to extend this pre- mium food experience outside the home. Despite anxieties over the economy, many commenta-You’ve heard about crowdsourcing, employing tors suggest that where there arethe collective wisdom of consumers to help de- cutbacks elsewhere in the house-sign products, create content or solve business hold budget, eating out will re-problems, but democratic buying takes things one main central to our lives. Dining outstep further. It bases product design and produc- used to be a special occasion, buttion entirely on the votes of the crowd. Take shop- research has shown that it’s nowping website Shopping Forecast as an example. considered a regular treat. 70 perIt lets you view, comment, vote on and share next cent of us now claim to visit a res-season’s styles, with votes on each item affecting taurant at least once a month andwhere and in what volume the piece appears in the market is expected to grow sixstores. per cent to reach £36.6bn this year. Increasingly social media will leadThe democratic buyer is not a passive voice decision making, with location-amongst the throng of the bazaar, but an active based deals, mobile couponingcontributor to the market place. Expect their voic- and group buying discounts dic-es to be heard loud and proud this year! tating where people eat. Who said it was all doom and gloom?
Over recent years, our ailing econ-omy has accelerated the trend forlocally sourced food, as consum- Today’s consumer typically looks to Googleers seek to support the economy before hitting the shops, a trend that has sig-and local communities. In Decem- nificantly contributed to the decline of theber last year, over half of shoppers British high street. While total growth in onlineclaimed to buy local products to retailing slowed to eight per cent last year,support local producers, a quarter there are now an estimated 37m regular on-to support local retailers, and over line shoppers in the UK. What we also saw wasa fifth to keep jobs in their area. massive growth amongst the under 45s whoSupporting British producers has have adopted it as their primary purchasingnow become the most important point, a sign that internet shopping is reach-ethical concern for grocery shop- ing maturity.This year we’ll see consumers em-pers, with more than four in ten brace online shopping in new and innovativeconsumers intending to buy more ways, such as through social commerce, mo-locally sourced goods this year. bile coupons and daily deals, which should breathe further life into the channel. Forget the regular weekly shop. With group buying, there truly is Rather than stocking up on all the strength in numbers. Last year, essentials, grocery shoppers are in- group buying took off in a big way creasingly hitting the stores on nar- through sites like Groupon, Living- rowly focused missions. They may Social and MyCityDeal, who be- be looking for a specific meal, they gan offering huge discounts on may have run out of something, or products once a certain number could just be hungry for a snack. of people signed up. Brands got Shopping has not completely be- on the bandwagon too, with cam- come a spontaneous activity and paigns like Innocent’s Tweet and the majority employ some form Eat, which unlocked bigger and of planning beforehand, such as bigger discounts as more people making a list, devising recipe so- tweeted a hashtag. This year, we lutions and looking for deals, but expect much more emphasis on we could see a shift from category geo-located deals through mo- management to mission manage- bile devices, market consolidation ment as retailers and brands seek as consumers develop preferred out ways to capitalise on the trend. group buying brands, and expan- sion into other sectors, as media providers and others get on board.
UK Social Media LandscapeLinkedInFacebookTwitter
UK Social Media LandscapeYoutubeFoursquareFlickr
F-Commerce QR CodesWhy do brands use Facebook? Generally because of its po- Will 2012 mark the tipping point for QR codes? They were every-tential as a viral medium, its propensity to allow dialogue with where last year – on products, posters, in magazines and shopsconsumers and increasingly, its ability to house apps that pro- – but questions still remained about their usage and value. Avide engaging, interactive content. We’re now also seeing F- study late last year found that despite their ubiquity as a market-Commerce, the act of selling products through Facebook, start ing tool, only a third of consumers knew what one was and howto take off in a big way. to scan one, but it’s still early days for this technology. The beauty This year we’ve learnt that Facebook is a great place to of QR codes is that they enable brands to provide somethingtrial exclusive or new products. Heinz sold limited edition ketch- exclusive to smart phone users with the knowledge to use them,up with balsamic vinegar through its page, creating a lot of but up until now, they have largely been used as URL alterna-talkability; and more recently, Magners started selling limited tives, driving consumers to brand homepages. A novel way toedition cider through its page. However, the primary goal be- drive traffic, but hardly revolutionary!hind these campaigns is to drive advocacy and conversation, However, we did start to see evidence of brands starting torather than large sales volumes. use them to add real value to the consumer experience. We saw There is mounting evidence to suggest that F-commerce Tesco create a QR code store in a Korean subway that savedis already a viable retail platform. Around 50,000 retailers have time for busy commuters; Heinz used QR codes to let Americansopened an F-store through the e-commerce platform Payv- show their appreciation to their troops by leaving them person-ment and 75 per cent of retailers plan to use Facebook for so- alised messages; and Victoria’s Secret launched a naughty bill-cial commerce in the future. The top three brands on Facebook board campaign with QR codes covering the modesty of nearly(Coca Cola, Starbucks and Disney) all sell directly through the nude models. Phew! With smart phone usage expected to sur-medium and have reported healthy sales figures. Over 1m Star- pass 50 per cent of the population this year, there’s a real possi-bucks users are using the brand’s e-commerce enabled Face- bility that the creative use of QR codes will become a real valuebook loyalty program and over 5,000 used Walmart’s group- driver in the world of mobile marketing, so get your thinking capsbuy Facebook app on the day of its launch. on! The jury is out as to whether the average consumer isready to adopt Facebook as a mainstream buying mediumand it will be up to brands to provide compelling reasons touse the medium over others in 2012.
Social TV InstagramHow many of you have ever Facebooked while watching X Fac- An homage to the old Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid cameras,tor? Or Tweeted your opinion during Question Time? Chances Instagram is a free app that allows users to take photos, addare you have. In fact, 44 per cent of UK consumers say they quick stylistic fixes like vintage hues and dream-like blurs, anduse social networks to enhance their TV viewing. These days, then share them instantly with their social network.the majority of prime time television shows already have their You’ve probably heard about it, the chances are you’veown hash-tag to group together social media discussions and used it or at least spotted a photo run through one of its arraymany programmes, particularly faux reality shows like TOWIE, of filters. It was iPhone’s app of 2011, currently boasts 14 millionhave their participants tweet during air time to engage with users and before its year anniversary, a whopping 150 millionfans. Whilst television ownership is in decline, ratings for live en- photos had been uploaded.tertainment are creeping ever higher as viewers look to watch Its popularity is undisputed, but why do we think it rosein real-time so that they interact socially through these chan- to fame and why should you keep an eye on it in 2012? We putnels. its success down to a winning combination of quality, ease of Up until recently, social media and television have been use and people’s never ending appetite for sharing their livesseparate mediums that just happen to be complementary, but visually. Essentially, it gives a mass of casual photographers thewe’re now seeing the first forays into a fully immersive social ability to produce images with some sort of artistic merit with-TV experience, with second screen apps such as Unami and out the need for any professional design skills, and at the clickZeebox (which you’ll learn more about later) being released for of a button, lets them share it amongst their peer groups tothe iPad. For those with smart TVs (TVs with online technology), garner instant gratification and admiration.the possibility of having all this interaction all in one place will We think this is just the tip of a booming mobile photobecome a reality over the coming months and make sure to sharing trend, and the increasing prevalence of high megapix-keep an eye out for Apple, as its launch of a television set this el smartphones amongst the population is only going to throwyear could signal a complete reinvention of the concept. further fuel to the fire. Last year, the app made its first hint at wel- coming brands by introducing a hashtag feature for grouping content, but we wouldn’t be surprised if additional campaign- friendly features are added in 2012.
3,2,1 Share At the end of each month, we like to take the time to relax with a glass of wine and 3, 2, 1 Share is three slides and two min- utes on one topic area and in this final present each other the content, ideas section, we’d like to give you some insight and campaigns that have been catch- into the topics we’ve been pondering ing our attention. A show and tell of sorts, over. Below you’ll find a teaser on each it’s rather like being back in primary Finnster’s latest loved topic and if you’re school, in a good way. eager to find out more you can follow the QR code or URL to a blog post on our website.A suitably strategic topic for the boss, Greg attended a Geo-location lunch as James likes grandiose ideas, so it’s noRich explores the quandary of social me- part of Leeds Digital Festival and that got surprise his topic of choice is “one ideadia measurement and our fixation with him thinking about, you guessed it, Geo- that will change the world”. He takes abig numbers, whether this is reach, im- location. He explores the past, present look in more detail at the trend, or ratherpressions, clicks or followers. In the social and future of the technology, focusing on the revolutionary movement that is Col-space, this fixation can lead to a skewed the countless opportunities there are for laborative Consumption. He muses overview of success, so in his post, he argues brands in this space. some of the most successful organisa-the case for digital communications to http://bit.ly/geofuture tions that are facilitating this new eco-be measured for quality, depth and na- nomic model and how all this swappingture of engagement and trading is affecting us http://bit.ly/bnsyndrome http://bit.ly/collabconsumption
Jessica illustrated the mega trend of A lover of all things social, Chris drills We love the idea of marrying brands withcustomization by looking at two stand- down into the emerging world of so- culture to create credibility. Tom spottedout campaigns launched last year: cial television, exploring the recently an innovative campaign by VolkswagenHeinz’s Get Well Soup campaign in launched free iPod app Zeebox, which Canada called ‘The Great Volkswagenwhich the brand gave its 80k Facebook works in tandem with Facebook and Art Heist’, which effortlessly blends art,fans the chance to send personalised Twitter to let TV chatterboxes get together ambient activity and social media to cre-cans of soup to their friends; and Nivea’s around programmes they are watching, ate truly talkable content.Christmas campaign that allowed fans and even feeds them relevant content http://bit.ly/artheistto send gift sets enveloped in wrapping about the people, places and productspaper made from their friends’ pictures. they see on screen. http://bit.ly/customking http://bit.ly/zeeboxRachel explores the continuing progres- Always the joker, Janelle took to a clever Sophie dug up a fantastically usefulsion of digital magazines. She takes a tongue in cheek campaign from Kel- iPhone app called ‘Can I Eat It’. It allowslook at a new food trade title, Encounter logg’s Rice Crispie Squares. Based on the food conscious consumers to uploadMagazine, and uses it as a vehicle to idea that Rice Krispie Squares are in fact their dietary preferences, whether aller-weigh up the pros and cons of maga- rectangular not square, the brash cam- gies, lifestyle choices or dislikes, and usezines moving into the digital space and paign catches people’s attention with it to check the appropriateness of prod-the opportunities for brands to gain outrageous lies, subverting the conven- ucts by scanning the barcode. A geniusadded value in this new environment. tions of traditional advertising while pok- choice for those on a January health http://bit.ly/digimags ing fun at the industry. drive! http://bit.ly/squarelies http://bit.ly/canieatit