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Tenthwave 2016 Spring Trend Report


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As the Customer Obsessed Digital Agency®, Tenthwave wanted to take our customer-centric approach with our 2016 Trend Report. The information in this report should be used to help you identify opportunities in the marketplace that your marketing teams can use to develop things that matter to your customers. This report identifies and explores the 16 nascent marketing trends that will impact the marketing landscape in the upcoming year.

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Tenthwave 2016 Spring Trend Report

  2. 2. Table of Contents FOREWORD CULTURE
 1. Cutting The BS
 2. Fracturing Gender Walls
 3. Let’s Be Real
 4. Better Together
 5. Don’t Just Show Me, Move Me SOCIAL
 1. The Hotel California Effect
 2. Customer Service Model
 3. Conversing Differently
 4. Social Advertising Flourishes
 5. E/M-Commerce TECHNOLOGY
 1. Look Above!
 2. Convenience
 3. Knowing Where You Are
 4. Virtually Unrecognizable
 5. Wearables BE MORE HUMAN 2 3 7
 24 27
 42 46
 60 63
  3. 3. We don’t doubt that there’s already been a plethora of 2016 trend reports hitting your feeds. We know all about them — we’ve combed through them to produce this one for you. With 2016 already in full swing, a whole new set of trends has emerged that will impact marketers and advertisers throughout the year. Everything in the media world has become fragmented, spurred by innovations and dramatic shifts in behaviors. This, in turn, is changing the marketing playbook. Today, consumers more so than advertisers, choose what, how, and when they consume information and messages. The information overload has caused what Larry Kramer calls the “old purchase funnel” to crack. Established methods of advertising and building brands are being disrupted by new cultural shifts, new innovations in tech, and continuous granular changes to social platforms. We pulled together everything that has manifested throughout 2015 and sorted them into the big buckets of Culture, Social and Tech to produce five macro-trends in each one. We explored the concepts and common themes that contributed to these potential macro-trends of 2016 by taking a look at how they’ve developed and gauging the impact on you, your brand and your advertising. foreword 3
  4. 4. Culture: A person’s mindset represents what is important to them right now. To understand 
 why it is important, we explore the trends that are instigating changes in lifestyle, behavior, attitude and values. Social: We know that social media is an ever-changing landscape and we are constantly trying to stay ahead of the curve. But how are these smaller changes contributing to an evolving perception of social media? Here, we discuss the future of social and the best ways for your brand to adapt.
 Tech: Technology is the ringleader when it comes to provoking consumer trends. Many of the trends we explore here are driven by changing behavior of people as we adapt to an environment that is totally comfortable with technology influencing almost every aspect of their lives. Pay attention to these trends—they will influence your approach to strategic decisions for effective advertising. For us, effective advertising meets three criteria: 
 1. It is distinctive and easily recognizable. 
 2. It evokes emotion and appeals to the implicit mind.
 3. It drives contagion and generates talk value. As the Customer Obsessed Digital Agency®, Tenthwave applied our customer-centric approach to our 2016 Trend Report. By examining these trends with an eye towards what you are delivering your customers, you can begin to understand the influences effecting your them and how they will start to play themselves out in the real world. foreword 4
  5. 5. When it comes to bananas, they fall on a scale from being very unripe to overripe. 
 Green = an unripe banana, one that probably isn’t ready to eat as they’re extremely bitter in taste. 
 Yellow = a perfectly ripe banana with that perfectly yellow skin color, firm bite, and just the right amount of sweetness. 
 Brown = an over-ripened banana, that is too mushy and squishy to enjoy (aka time to throw away). 
 Why are we even talking about bananas? 
 Similarly to bananas, trends can fall on the same kind of “ripe” scale — trends can be unripe, ripe, and overripe. Enter the Banana-O-Meter: throughout this trend report you’ll find three different kinds of bananas rating the ripeness of each trend. The Banana-O-Meter methodology gives you a sense of how ripe a trend is so you can discern its impact within the context of your advertising goals. WATCH OUT FOR THE bananas… 5
  6. 6. A ripe trend. The streaming service is starting to really take off, disrupting the digital music game with potential opportunities in the video world in the upcoming year. An overripe trend. Napster was hot, arguably driving a trend in digitally shared music. Faced with legal issues, it cooled off and died in 2000. how it works An unripe trend. There’s potential this trend could have some minor implications in 2016. Keep one eye on this trend, but don’t jump in too quickly. An overripe trend. Interest has waned and this trend has already maximized its influences. If you’re trying to capitalize on this trend, you’re probably already too late to the game. A ripe trend. 
 Expect this trend to blow up. Don’t just watch it evolve from the stands, find ways to attach yourself to the trend in order to reap the benefits. What does this look like in the real world? Consider The Evolution of Digital Music: 6 An unripe trend. Apple Music has yet to really take off or find a way to challenge other free streaming services. But don’t expect it go away that fast, it’s owned by Apple after all. Let’s see what happens in 2016.
  7. 7. Culture 7
  8. 8. Tidying, cleaning, and decluttering are everyday activities — from packing away the dishes after dinner, to the big spring clean, to throwing away junk from your past. In 2015, we saw people “tidy” outside of their pantry or closet: consumers now have a ravenous appetite to tidy up their lives. One of the biggest symptoms of this trend is the worldwide adoption of the “KonMari Method” in the #1 New York Times best-selling guidebook, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” The art of “decluttering” has transpired into a new cultural context, driving a need for brands to find a way to not be categorized as clutter, but take a cue and appeal to this newfound simplicity and shift from being brash and abrasive to understated and bold. Cutting the BS 8 1.
  9. 9. a. We’ve all heard the phrase “less is more”. Minimalism embodies this idea: the notion that it’s vital to make room for what’s important by getting rid of the excess. In a world where we are hounded with endless streams of information and constant notifications, people just want to focus on what matters, hence why the “less is more” mantra is a very welcome change. Articles from Huffington Post and Bustle, publishers that cover topics on culture and lifestyles, reflected this Minimalist trend with articles like: “The Ultimate Guide to Realistic Minimalism” and “8 Things You Need To Know If You're Interested In Minimalism.” Even further, early into 2016, Pinterest found that pins celebrating a minimalist lifestyle increased by 19% since late December, while those about decluttering rose by 35%. Minimalism will continue to shape consumer mindsets by simplifying and eliminating chaos. We’ll see a focus on what you need instead of letting gluttony dictate your lifestyle. Natural Living is about becoming aware of how your choices affect you and your environment. The shift is perpetuated by people choosing foods that allow for indulgence without guilt, by looking for sustainable solutions, and by seeking out seemingly natural solutions for health problems. As they say, it’s time to treat your body like a temple. The non-GMO product sales reached $200 billion in late 2015 (U.S) and is a clear sign of a great demand for natural products. The search ranking of natural-based diets, such as paleo or gluten-free, continue to sharply rise in popularity with each year, reflecting what lifestyle people are looking to adopt. Not only are these diets staying in the spotlight, but people are also creating new ways to cleanse their lifestyle with the rise of awareness for ‘gut health’ and ‘flexitarian’ (a flexible vegetarian). Even further, people are going beyond changing their diets for their health, with the rise of natural products such as women’s menstrual cups and period panties, all in a bid to produce a little less waste and be a part of a sustainable solution. b. Minimalism Natural Living 9 CUTTING THE BS:
  10. 10. IntroversionIntroverts bear the characteristics of being quiet and solitary, seeking out refuge from the loud and bustling world. As the world is becoming busier, people are finding it easier to relate to the side of introversion. Introversion is taking a firmer grip on the younger generation as we see 42% of 14-24 year olds taking a break from the fragmented 140 character world and spending one day per week alone to binge-watch on Netflix. As people get “busier”, they struggle to commit to a rigid TV schedule, and here is where a preference emerges: people prefer TV shows to be released all at once and have the option of watching at their own pace. The “quiet revolution” is also seen in travel where companies, such as the Sacred Introvert, are offering solo traveling tours. The push for solo exploration and discovery is manifesting with social influencers and in turn spreading “introversion” as an aspiration for many. c. 10 CUTTING THE BS:
  11. 11. Brands need to focus on the user experience and on creating ads that are unobtrusive and drive talk value. Create something that consumers yearn to seek out. The TakeawayPeople are looking to adopt a “cleaner” lifestyle in many ways, shapes, and forms. We are already seeing juggernaut brands react to this cultural shift with Google, Verizon and McDonald’s redesigning their logos and products to reflect a modern and cleaner look. On the food side of things, Hershey’s products went GMO-free and Nestlé removed artificial coloring and flavoring. Coca-Cola also introduced their first new product since 2006, Coca-Cola Life into the market to represent a healthier option in their range. In 2016, we’ll be seeing a heavy focus on pared-down elements and singular, clear messaging. We’ll see brands continue to transform into a “natural” image to cater to the evolving consumer. CUTTING THE BS: 11
  12. 12. Blue is for boys and pink is for girls — these color symbols are just one example of the culturally constructed gender norms we as a society live by. How did this come to be? Sociologist Philip Cohen thinks they are, essentially, the outcome of marketing. "Being 'gender normal' is very important to us, and as a marketing technique, if retailers can convince you that being gender normal means you need to buy a certain product — cosmetics, plastic surgery, blue or pink clothing, etc. — it just makes sense from a production or mass marketing perspective," Cohen told Life's Little Mysteries. In the past few years, people have been questioning these deeply integrated gender norms perpetuated by the media, marketing, and stereotypes passed down by generations. This is driving a need for brands to react by helping to challenge conventional gender roles and break down gender specific products. Fracturing Gender Walls 12 2.
  13. 13. Womanhood Prevailing2015 gave way to a new kind of fresh and powerful form of Feminism that embraced the the oddities of womanhood and all the things that make women, well women. Think: less focus on the scantily clad and the male gaze, more of a focus on body hair and periods. We’re seeing a real pivot in the cultural sentiment towards celebrating womanhood and bringing equal pay and body image issues to the forefront of the conversation. Fueling this shift was the likes of Amy Schumer's inappropriate jokes, Jennifer Lawrence’s public vilification of the wage gap between men and women, Thinx period underwear ads plastered all over NYC streets, the Pirelli calendar that showcased women based on their achievements (like Fran Lebowitz) rather than their exterior, and Playboy’s divisive decision to end nudity in its pages. Coupled with these examples, transgender women, like Caitlyn Jenner, began to demand that society re-conceptualize what it even means to be a woman. Good news: this shift is already playing out this year. Barbie, a brand known for sporting an unrealistic depiction of women with thin waists, thin legs, and large breasts, finally found a new body. This was a big move to say the least, as these dolls have long faced criticism as irresponsible toys, feeding into a society that is plagued with body issues and eating disorders. a. 13 FRACTURING GENDER WALLS:
  14. 14. Shedding Away MasculinityThe conventional constructs of masculinity, once represented by images like the Marlboro man, are being torn down and reshaped. Men are facing a lot of complex, convoluted ideas of masculinity within our progressive, open-minded culture. Masculinity is being uprooted in numerous ways: more women than men are going to college, more men are staying at home and taking care of the kids, and the economy is shifting away from typical masculine jobs. Gender attitudes have shifted, tearing down notions of what it means to be a man. Forget “dominant,” “power,” “alpha,” “macho.” In the fashion arena, Jaden Smith became the face of Louis Vuitton’s womenswear. Dove released evocative fatherhood ads that portrayed the ways fathers have influenced their children’s lives. This was based on research which found that 82% of men believe that having a child changes the way they think about being a man. Similarly, Honeymaid released an ad that portrayed the new diverse forms of modern fatherhood featuring ads with gay parents, a punk dad, and interracial parents. We’re already seeing this mindset carry onwards into 2016. This year, Axe, a brand known for their hyperbolic images of masculinity, aligned with this new cultural shift by releasing an ad that welcomes one's individual sense of manhood. b. 14 FRACTURING GENDER WALLS:
  15. 15. The TakeawayConventional definitions of femininity and masculinity were challenged in 2015. We’re seeing a Genderless theme arise, representing a breakdown of societal expectations about what it means to be a man or woman. Advertising has been more than just revenue of mass produced media — it acts as a mirror of cultural shifts. If advertising is a reflection of our culture, we’re just now on the cusp of campaigns representing the very progressive mindset on gender. Some examples of this shift include Target moving away from gendered signs in-stores in departments such as Toys, Home, and Entertainment. BabyCenter reported that 2015 was the year of “gender-neutral baby names,” as they occupied 20 spots of the top 100 list. 2016 will see fewer ads portraying men doing the typical manly things and fewer depictions of women
 as sex objects. 
 People are still coming to terms with the shifting definitions of gender, but it’s time for brands to start considering ways to participate in breaking down stereotypes and instead represent the many different modern dimensions of gender. FRACTURING GENDER WALLS: 15
  16. 16. People often use their social media as a highlight reel of their life — it’s all about taking the best bits and making it into a cohesive story. But we all know our lives are not always an amazing sunset over a white sandy beach. Whilst people are aware there’s always a level of dishonesty on the Internet—be it users only showing their best self or a troll trying to win an argument—they are also looking for indicators of honesty and genuine emotion. And it's not just on the internet. People are seeking connections in their daily, physical lives. Let’s Be Real 3. 16
  17. 17. Digital InfluencersThe sheer success of digital influencers, like YouTuber ‘PewDiePie’ earning $12 million last year, indicates how much people crave and prefer to consume authentic content. Digital influencers are real people creating real content to their own well-established audience. People appreciate the raw emotion behind content such as Ingrid Nilsen (@Missglamorazzi) coming out as gay, Jen (@frmheadtotoe) announcing her pregnancy or Em (@mypaleskinblog) documenting every bit of her acne struggle. These influencers, as successful, beautiful, or funny as they are, show people that they also go through these real moments, which makes their content riveting for their audience. As they share seemingly every bit of their life, it’s only natural for people to get curious about life off camera. This curiosity lead to some volatile discussion about life behind the camera in 2015 with articles such as “Get rich or die vlogging: The sad economics of internet fame” or induced candid and transparent conversations, down to the dollar and cent, about How Much YouTubers Get Paid. Even further, we saw the breakdown of the social media façade many times with the exposure of Instagram Husbands, the men (and women!) who are coaxed into taking endless ‘grams for their social media savvy significant other. Young model Essena O’Neill made headlines herself for revealing what went into taking that photos of her ideal life (e.g 100+ tries for the perfect bikini shot). Digital Influencers are not afraid to be wholly committed to authenticity and reveal the stark reality of their lives. Big players, like Hollywood, recognize that authenticity is key to generating all this buzz and are beginning to capitalize on influencers; for example, this year Vine star Logan Paul signed with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), bringing his content further into the mainstream media. a. 17 LET’S BE REAL:
  18. 18. Come Out From Behind The Camera When you walk down the street, how many people do you see glued to their phones? How many people are missing the life happening around them? A photo last year went viral on Twitter (pictured in the upper right-hand corner), reminding people to stop living and experiencing secondhand. Photographer Eric Pickersgill commented on tech addiction by capturing images of mundane situations, and removing the phones that the subjects were so engrossed in. We're so used to seeing phones everywhere that we don't notice whether they're present or not. We are desensitized. Brands have begun to actively partake in the conversation. Durex released an ad claiming they had the secret to boosting sex lives, all through one feature on the smartphone. If you watch the whole three minutes, you realize it’s nothing unique: just simply turn your phone off when in bed with your significant other. b. 18 LET’S BE REAL:
  19. 19. The TakeawayOur intertwined relationship with smartphones, digital devices, and social media has encouraged a culture of distraction, a culture where we’re increasingly disconnected from the world and people around us. 2015 saw a significant backlash against anything that didn’t truly contain elements of humanity. Ideas, products, and visuals that felt manufactured or produced were traded in for the raw, the ugly, and the natural. Consumers have always craved things that would move them. In doing so, publishers and brands have realized the value in eliciting the inclusion of powerful storytelling and captivating listeners. It’s all about having emotional personal accounts, startling imagery, and uplifting soundtracks. We saw Android pulled at our heartstrings with a spot of unlikely animal duos, racking up to over 22 million views. ExtraGum’s heartfelt love story of Sarah and Juan was seen over 18 million times. In 2016 it is likely that consumers will make more purchase decisions with their heart, and not with their head. You’ve fallen behind if you’re still using rational advertising. LET’S BE REAL: 19
  20. 20. Sharing is caring — this school playground saying gets thrown around all the time to youngsters trying to exert their individual dominance. As we grow older, this saying doesn’t fade away. We’ve seen the Millennial consumer turn this saying into something much bigger: sharing with complete strangers. It has transpired into sharing more than just toys or food—it’s cars, parking spaces, businesses, and homes. Sharing has become extremely ubiquitous. Consumers expect brands to deliver a streamlined service that provides multilayered value and aid in the sharing experience. Better Together 4. 20
  21. 21. Sharing EconomyeBay was the first company to lay down the foundation for what we all refer to today as the sharing economy: an economy built on the lack of ownership of goods. They pioneered the online peer-to-peer marketplace that, in the last twenty years, has spurred the creation of some big-time sharing companies like Zipcar, Lyft, WeWork, Uber, CitiBank Bikes, and Airbnb. All of these sharing platforms are disrupting traditional industries and shaping a new kind of 21st century living. Why stay at an expensive hotel when you can stay at an Airbnb? Why hail a taxi when you can digitally call an Uber? According to a Havas study, 65% of respondents agree that “our society would be better off if people shared more and owned less.” In 2015, sharing-based companies begin to face legal and political issues. For example, San Francisco’s Proposition F (directly targeting Airbnb) aimed to put serious restrictions on private, short term rentals. While growing pains certainly won’t go away this year, consumers’ desire to rent, share, and consume collectively won’t either. The sharing economy model continues to grow as consumers become more mindful of spending and waste. They actively participate in strengthening this model by building connections and community. a. 21 BETTER TOGETHER:
  22. 22. Retail DiningTo complement the rise of sharing, there’s an evident desire to attain more than just one “service” from a brand. We’ve seen an increasing number of luxury brands—Tommy Bahama, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Bergdorf Goodman, and Armani, just to name a few—venturing into fine dining. This venture may very well be inspired by millennials and their desire for experience over material goods. They are at the forefront of the retail dining trend as they continue to come into their buying power. The luxury dining experience is also a reflection of the growing desire for retailers to prolong a consumer’s attention in their retail environment. By creating a unique experience they influence customers to immerse themselves in the space without being distracted by competitors. b. 22 BETTER TOGETHER:
  23. 23. The TakeawayThis emerging collaborative consumption model will continue to upend traditional industries in 2016. There’s a real focus on collaboration and sense of community over accumulation and a “that’s mine” attitude. This trend is deeply transforming perceptions of ownership and the values to which we measure goods and services– consumers are demanding more than just one direct service. Brands need to try and seek out new opportunities to collaborate to provide convenience, personalization, and sustainability in consumers’ lives. BETTER TOGETHER: 23
  24. 24. It is impossible for people to consume all of the online content that is thrown in their line of attention. For perspective, The Huffington Post publishes 1,200 pieces of editorial content per day. Algorithms have already helped to sift through the sheer volume of content hitting everyone’s newsfeed and then there’s the human step of simply picking and choosing what content tickles your fancy. If something isn’t interesting then it does not exist. 2015 saw an emoji become Word Of The Year and the fight against terrorism through Facebook profile pictures — showing an urgent need to go beyond static images and written words and adapt to our evolving ways of communicating. Don’t Just Show Me, Move Me 5. 24
  25. 25. Selling With Your SensesThere is a shifting focus on engaging human senses that have been left out of our common user experience. We see a constant trickle of projects, events, and products released with the central focus on a particular sense, such as smell. These include navigating the urban jungle of major cities through “Smell Maps," an obscure alarm clock by Oscar Mayer to help you wake up to the smell of bacon, and Glade’s pop-up “Museum of Feelings” in NYC — these are all expansions into sensorial experiences. As consumers become numb towards unmoving content, they are looking to be engaged on higher levels and for something they can wholeheartedly react to. a. 25 In advertising, it’s always been about capitalizing on the latest format to tell a compelling story and ultimately shift consumer behavior. Videos can show more than any other content and therefore is the most sensory rich content today. 2015 was the year of video, with consumers viewing more videos than ever before. Videos keep the viewer engaged and on the platform for longer, trackable periods of time, thus opening up monetization opportunities. Platforms are taking advantage of this and are continually rolling out new features and changes in favor of video. We have Snapchat pushing advertisers to produce vertical video content, Facebook’s 360° & Live videos, Instagram introducing short-form videos with Boomerang, Twitter breaking down barriers with autoplay on Periscope videos and GIF integration across major platforms. The immense focus on videos only means that, in 2016, we can expect even more marketers to find creative ways to use video as a meaningful way to tell stories and move consumers. Rise of Video b. DON’T JUST SHOW ME, MOVE ME:
  26. 26. The TakeawayThe cultural shift in what consumers respond powerfully to is forcing brands to be more creative to foster new ways of engagement through high sensory content that is worth “feeling.” We are already seeing social platforms shifting towards a heavy emphasis on video, making it simple for people to consume, access, and create from their desktop and mobile devices. Brands must use video and activate senses to engage consumers in the most human way possible. DON’T JUST SHOW ME, MOVE ME: 26
  27. 27. SOCIAL 27
  28. 28. “Walled Gardens” is a term used to described web portals of the early 2000s. However, it’s making a comeback as our digital media evolves into a “less open” environment reminiscent of the old online hubs. A Walled Garden is essentially an ecosystem controlling a user’s content consumption that links internally rather than to the rest of the world wide web. There’s now a three-fold demand of ad-blocking, faster browsing experience when switching between sites and apps, and longer audience retention. This has led to numerous platform changes aimed at creating a seamless and undisturbed experience on each platform where you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave. The Hotel California Effect 1. 28
  29. 29. a. Facebook upgraded their video viewing experience to compete directly with YouTube and released “Instant Articles,” which allows users to view publisher content directly within the app instead of being lead away. In early 2016, the big blue launched a similar feature to Twitter’s ‘Moments’ called Sports Stadium, which curates highlights and up to the minute news of the sports of the day as well as Canvas, an immersive and expressive experience for businesses to tell their stories and showcase their products. Instagram reimagined their “Explore” function mid-2015 to give users an avenue to easily access relevant and entertaining content that evolves weekly. Twitter introduced Moments to the wider audience in the second half of 2015, showing users a curation of the top and most relevant content in news, sports, and entertainment in real-time. This features eliminates the need for people to leave Twitter via external links. Major partners and publishers, such as BuzzFeed, are allowing their content to be accessible directly on Twitter’s platform. They’re also rumored to be eliminating the iconic 140 character-limit and expanding to a staggering 10,000 characters this year. This change addresses the way people are using Twitter beyond the 140 characters, e.g. using an external link for the remaining text or a screenshot of a chunk of text. b.facebook & instagram twitter 29 THE HOTEL CALIFORNIA EFFECT:
  30. 30. Google & YouTubee. Google has added a few features to their search pages, such as: answers appearing within the search results so the user doesn’t have to click into another link as well as adding buy buttons for purchases to be made directly from the search page. YouTube expanded with their YouTube for Kids App, a platform catered to kids with several safety features. They also introduced YouTube Red, which offers an undisturbed viewing experience of original content. uberf. Uber expands into the meal delivery service with “UberEats” launching in early 2016, after testing the waters with a lunch-time only service in 2015. pinterestc. Buyable Pins continue to garner interest because of their convenience. They allow users to purchase their aspirational products directly on the platform. snapchatd. Snapchat Discover, a feature released in partnership with major publishers, allows people to enjoy third-party content without ever having to log off the app. 30 THE HOTEL CALIFORNIA EFFECT:
  31. 31. The Takeaway The platforms are building their “walled garden” to minimize the chances of their users “checking out”; publishers have to be smarter and create content that fills all shapes and forms. We can expect the accelerated evolutions of networks turn into full-blown advanced ecosystems. Twitter is no longer just a place to share vapid 140-character updates, Facebook isn’t just about connecting with friends and families, Pinterest isn’t just for discovery and ideation. Similar transformations can be seen across other networks as well; social media has become a component of everything consumers do. Brands need to adapt with speed to keep up with how the major platforms are evolving as they undoubtedly impact the effectiveness of creative content. THE HOTEL CALIFORNIA EFFECT: 31
  32. 32. Social platforms have been an anomaly in terms of how they transform year over year. In the beginning, it was a straightforward concept with each platform acting as an “online social hub” only — now they're advanced social marketing hubs. We’re in an era where social media is an extremely viable and profitable marketing channel, and some essence of social customer care is expected. A study of the Top 500 U.S. retailers from customer engagement software provider Eptica found only 20% of brands were able to answer questions sent via Twitter and 54% sent via Facebook, showing the need for improvement in this area. Customer 
 Service Model 2. 32
  33. 33. Twitter changed to foster more streamlined communication between consumers and brands. They installed unlimited characters for Direct Messages as well as denounced the “mutual follow” requirement for Direct Messages, enabling brands and customers to contact one another without requiring customers to follow the brand. Facebook took big steps in becoming a customer service hub. It launched a beta version of Messenger Business, offering a new chat-based avenue for companies to have real-time, personal conversations with customers. Hyatt was one of the first brands to use Messenger as a primary customer service tool. Users could easily make reservations and engage in live conversations with the brand. b. a. TWITTER facebook 33 CUSTOMER SERVICE MODEL:
  34. 34. The Takeaway Social platforms have become a valuable channel to listen to customers, a key ingredient to brand vitality on social. With new features and updates for two-way communication, platforms began to recognize the value in using brand pages as customer service hubs. Accessibility, fast service, and quick responses are components that will continue to refine customer engagement on social platforms. This year will be a year that brands give a higher priority to addressing customer needs in order to have a more direct impact on conversion rates. Consumers expect brands prioritize social customer care. If you’re not there, you’re already losing. CUSTOMER SERVICE MODEL: 34
  35. 35. Our digital world evolves so quickly, if you’re just “keeping up,” you’re already falling behind. Staying ahead of the curve means knowing the changing ways of how people converse and on which hot, new platform. We are seeing people gravitate towards a spectrum of public and private interactions live streaming and private messaging apps. The entire spectrum is fueled by the overarching desire for more authentic, genuine, real-life interaction within the social space. Conversing Differently 3. 35
  36. 36. For a while, everyone was blasting their thoughts publicly to the world with tweets and Facebook statuses. But people, especially younger generations, are now turning to other platforms like WhatsApp, Snapchat, and Kik, to revert back to intimate and human interaction: a private chat. Snapchat exposed an entirely overlooked market of 
 private photo messaging. Its users connect on a personal level because their conversations are meant only for each other— an exclusive exchange that no one really needs to know about. As private messaging users grow rapidly (see chart), these platforms have begun integrating ways to monetize the “private chatting space.” WhatsApp started 2016 by nixing the app’s subscription fee and allowing the app to be free for every user. Like Kik and Snapchat, they will begin to integrate brands into these private avenues of interaction with people, which will only expand these platforms. a. Private Messaging 36 CONVERSING DIFFERENTLY:
  37. 37. b. Live streaming has infiltrated social media as the next honest entertainment vehicle. People can now stream every moment from their devices and interact with users in real-time, no matter where they are or what they’re doing, adding a layer of reality to our increasingly made-up social media persona. After Meerkat kicked off this trend, Twitter successfully released Periscope and integrated the live streaming feature into Twitter’s algorithm. Snapchat also has their own form of live streaming with the introduction of Live Stories. These stores are a curation of Snaps from around the world that while aren’t actually “live” stories. They provide an authentic, user-filmed view into New York City, Panama, The Running of the Bulls, Mardi Gras, etc. Most recently, Facebook has made Facebook Live available for all their users to stream. A moving picture is not foreign to us at all, but live streaming is a new type of content altogether. The rise of live streaming stems from the hunger for genuine entertainment and sincere social interactions. As it becomes a part of our main consumption channels, it’ll be unavoidable in 2016. Live Streaming 37 CONVERSING DIFFERENTLY:
  38. 38. The Takeaway We’re beginning to see forms of digital communication that mimic real-life interactions. It’s a desire to rage against the machine and interact in a meaningful way. While live streaming brings strangers together, messengers might hold conversations between friends or family. The common thread? Intimacy. These portals of communication are disrupting the common conceptions of social media. Live streaming is public, but there are elements of connections that run through a stream. You are authentically viewing the world through someone else’s eyes. Messengers are private so you can chat without letting the whole world know your business. Together, these platforms are fostering new social relationships. The user count is there, and will continue to grow. Brands need to find ways to partake in aiding in this relationship in ways like never before. CONVERSING DIFFERENTLY: 38
  39. 39. Social platforms have become a pay to play arena. As each social network grows its user base, the feeds become more filled with advertising. Each platform has made strides to incorporate advertising and build out more ad capabilities to coax advertisers and brands. We have a new generation of social media ads that are targeted with increasing precision and relevance to users. Companies ramped up social media advertising in 2015, increasing spend by 33.5% to nearly $24 billion—and to think in 2009 that number was virtually $0. Social Advertising Flourishes 4. 39
  40. 40. facebooka. The myriad of algorithmic changes to the Facebook news feed have drastically shifted the kind of content users are likely to see when they log on. They continue to push out brands whilst favoring publishers and friend content. The platform became a video mammoth last year and, as of November, its users viewed 8 billion videos per day. Facebook has begun seeking out ad budgets from big TV advertisers. In 2016, you can can expect versions of the 30-second TV spot to happen on Facebook. snapchatb. Snapchat has yet to really prove its $16 billion valuation as it had difficulty this past year selling its advertising within Snapchat Stories and the Discover tab to turn a profit. The platform is now developing an API that makes it easier for markets to purchase ads and target users. According to Fortune, advertisers could build Snapchat compatibility into the automated systems they currently use to purchase ad units, which would mean the volume of ads sold and displayed on Snapchat would increase. With 100 million daily users who watch 6 billion videos per day, you can expect the ad business to boom for Snapchat in 2016. instagramc. Instagram reached 400 million monthly users and opened its API to all advertisers in 2015. Equipped with Facebook targeting, buy buttons, and carousel ads, Instagram will have a huge impact in the upcoming year. In 2016, Instagram will catch up to its parent and Twitter in the social ad world. 40 SOCIAL ADVERTISING FLOURISHES:
  41. 41. The Takeaway Social platforms have become a pay to play arena. As each social network grows its user base, the feeds become more filled with advertising. Each platform has made strides to incorporate advertising and build out more ad capabilities to coax advertisers and brands. We have a new generation of social media ads that are targeted with increasing precision and relevance to users. Organic reach is dead. Pay up. SOCIAL ADVERTISING FLOURISHES: 41
  42. 42. People are becoming smarter, more efficient shoppers as our lives become more digitized and mobile. Consumers are using their phones to compare prices, read reviews, find coupons, and make informed purchases. In response to this elevated consumer control, retailers are making it easier for consumers to make a quick purchase with just one-click. eMarketer estimates about $27.05 billion at the end of the year in mobile sales—a testament to how fast E/M-Commerce is growing. E/M-Commerce 5. 42
  43. 43. Smartphones are replacing our wallets. We can now swipe a barcode from our phones for everything from coupons to paying for an expensive new toy. The two main contenders in the mobile payment sector would be Apple and Samsung Pay. Obvious rivals, they allow their respective smartphone users to pay with their phones rather than fumbling with cards and cash. New apps allowing consumers to send each other money by linking their cards to the network are making it all easier too. Forget your wallet at home? Venmo has you covered—it allows you to send or request money to your friends to avoid having to pay people back if you’re cashless. Despite some reservations, as we’ve seen with Snapchat’s Snapcash and Payments on Facebook, cashless spending is gradually entering our daily lives. Service apps are using real-time pricing based on supply & demand. Retail and travel industries have jumped onto the bandwagon to price their products and tickets against competitors. Uber is the leader in dynamic pricing, i.e. your ride home from your favorite bar this Saturday night will be less expensive than that same ride on New Year’s Day, when everyone needs a ride home. Not only does this mean they’re making money at a higher margin, but they’re also encouraging drivers to get out there to get a piece of the pie, thus promoting both sides of their business. Since Uber is laying out the framework for a relatively successful idea (sans backlash involving price hikes), in 2016, we will see more industries utilize dynamic pricing in their products to optimize revenue. b.Mobile Wallets Dynamic Pricinga. 43 E/M - COMMERCE:
  44. 44. Sites like Pinterest and Amazon have introduced 1- click buy buttons to allow users to order their hearts’ desire faster than ever. Buy Buttons will continue to penetrate Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as the year progresses. Marketers have forever tried to push the purchase decision, to meet the consumer directly when they’re thinking about buying. Now, the buy button partially bridges that gap through a simple suggestion. Buttons appear on pins and posts right now, but are appearing more frequently on Google’s search ads. YouTube is also looking to roll out a functional buy button so that consumers can watch their favorite influencer’s curling iron tutorial and purchase it on the spot. YouTube is also trying out a brand new “Donate Now” card that verified nonprofits can attach to videos they create. Buy Buttonsc. 44 E/M - COMMERCE:
  45. 45. The Takeaway Consumers are moving their finances from their wallets to their smartphones, and they’re continuously searching and buying online. It’s not even a conscious decision at this point — consumers are just following the path of least resistance when it comes to making a purchase. What does a win look like for a brand then? Making the purchase funnel frictionless, convenient, and intuitive. 2016 will see more digital companies trying to keep you within the walls of their network, so it’s likely they will try to incorporate financial services as well. Even further, you can expect social platforms to turn into digital mall look-a-likes, which could eventually link up with accounts on Venmo or Apple Pay. There are new, emerging channels to the purchase funnel, it’s no longer just a one way path to convert buyers. E/M - COMMERCE: 45
  46. 46. TECHNOLOGY 46
  47. 47. Over the past few years, as its tech has made its way into the commercial space, drones have gone from pure fascination to a precursor to how efficient our future may be. When it comes to unmanned vehicles, drones are a major tech innovation driving the industry. While relatively new, it’s time for brands to learn how they can embrace tech that flies high. LOOKABOVE! 1. 47
  48. 48. a. In 2015, drones began to show us their potential: • Two drones inadvertently prevented firefighters from putting out a rapidly spreading California wildfire. • Automakers have been early adopters, with brands like Acura and Nissan to using them to film moving cars, chases and stunts. • Brands like Patrón Tequila, Nike, Adidas and American Express have also used drone footage in ads. • GE used a drone to stream directly to Periscope capturing its vast fields of clean energy wind turbines. The drones also toured GE testing facilities and manufacturing plants across the country. • Let’s also not forget Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos famously announcing that Amazon in the future will deliver packages via drones. DRONES 48 LOOK ABOVE:
  49. 49. Drones were all over the CES in Vegas earlier this year. For brands, there lies enormous opportunity to provide content that stands out. With Americans’ infatuation with video content, drones offer unexpected opportunities to tell stories from a different perspective. As it evolves, you can expect brands to view this emerging tech as a new platform to disseminate and enhance messaging. Just a note: limitations have been put in place with The Federal Aviation Administration restricting the number of commercial drones to fly below 200 feet. Along with regulation, there’s still an issue of trust within consumer mindsets. Therefore it would be premature to call this year as the year of drones. The industry is still very nascent, and still has to fully convince consumers of their worth. LOOK ABOVE: THETAKEAWAY 49
  50. 50. Technology and convenience have always been intertwined as advancements in tech have always enabled new levels of convenience. It’s all about doing things better, faster, cheaper, and easier. We're now witnessing this idea being extended to an elevated personal level. There’s a constant need to replicate human actions and to automate, so whatever need we are solving becomes more convenient and fits seamlessly into our lives. CONVENIENCE 2. 50
  51. 51. a. Technology is continually advancing to emulate what humans can do, e.g. recognize voices, identify genders — visual recognition is simply the next step. A few photo recognition-esque tools are already integrated into platforms that we use on a daily basis. These include: • Facebook Messenger’s “Photo Magic” feature that scans newly taken photos, recognizes your friends, and helps to share the photos with them. • Image recognition function advancing in Google Photos. • Continued integration of photo categorization and recognition features in mobile operating systems, e.g Moments/Collections in iOS. In 2016, the idea of photo recognition will become less foreign (or “creepy”) to the general public and we will see further integration of visual recognition features and consistent usage as they are implemented to social media platforms. Our mainstream technology may have reached its highest peak of convenience for now, but we are still tethered by wires. With 48% of Americans living in landline free households, it appears that we’re itching to “cut away.” Brands we know and love are introducing “wireless” living to our daily routine. We have Samsung taking a hold of the mainstream market with wireless charging pads for their devices as well as IKEA integrating the convenience of wireless charging into affordable furniture. One of the most debatable topics on the tail of 2015 was the rumored elimination of the headphones jack by Apple on their iPhones. While wireless headphones are not by any means a new product on the market, it speaks volume when a tech giant chooses to rid of such a common item. We’ll continue to see opportunities open up for consumers to be mobile 24/7. b. RISEOFPHOTO RECOGNITION WIRELESS 51 CONVENIENCE:
  52. 52. c. In 2015, there was a whole new range of Artificial Intelligence making its way to you in the future. They are becoming more human, more personable and more helpful to you than ever. • Google released ‘Google Now’ as another aspect of Google Search, which proactively delivers to users information that it predicts they may want. • Siri is becoming more personable each day with Apple’s continuous upgrades to the personal assistant. The media provides continual coverage on new quirks and hidden talents of the AI (e.g beatboxing). • Microsoft released ‘Cortana’ as a personal AI assistant for Windows 10. • Amazon pairs their wireless speaker and two new products with companion app ‘Alexa’, allowing you to manage your Echo from afar. • Facebook reveals ‘M’ for the first time — it is a step beyond other AI-based services in the market, M can actually complete tasks on your behalf. It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments, etc. • Mark Zuckerberg also made his unconventional New Years resolution to build his own AI and has committed to providing monthly updates, bringing the AI conversation regularly to the forefront. It’s no longer about giving commands and receiving a response, but how much they can replicate the action of a human. AREALLYPERSONALASSISTANT 52 CONVENIENCE:
  53. 53. Clearly, platforms and companies are adding layers of personalization to technology. We’re seeing the first steps laying down the foundation for Artificial Intelligence to take off. It’s still a while away, but brands are on the cusp of smarter technologies to elevate their services to consumers. Even with all the progress, this market has yet to really make its way mainstream; the barrier to growth lies in consumers embracing the “convenience” tech, as it’s still considered somewhat intrusive. Brands should think about the ways smarter, more human technologies could elevate their services to consumers. CONVENIENCE: THETAKEAWAY 53
  54. 54. Advertisers are looking for every piece of demographic information they can get their hands on— with location at the forefront. Pinpointing a consumer’s location opens up opportunities for brands to insert themselves in the conversation at the right time with the right people. Updated technology and location services are on the rise, and it’s time for brands to learn how to harness it. KNOWINGWHEREYOUARE 3. 54
  55. 55. a. Beacons allow a brand, store, or marketer to connect with a consumer based on their location. Think: sending a coupon for a sale directly to a consumer’s phone as they walk near your store. Retail giants Macy’s and Lord & Taylor were among the first to set up beacons in their stores. And for good reason: Business Insider Intelligence reports that beacons would drive $4 billion in retail sales this year. Major League Baseball uses beacon tech to connect with fans in stadiums to give them special offers and updates. Coupons aside, we are seeing beacon technology used in new ways: • Hotel chains are experimenting with beacon- activated keys. • Facebook to connect users to old friends nearby. 
 We’ll see more retailers and sites utilizing beacon technology as it becomes more accessible and viable for successful implementation. BEACONTECHNOLOGY 55 KNOWING WHERE YOU ARE:
  56. 56. Location technology is disrupting the typical marketing notions of relevancy. Beacon tech, in conjunction with surge in mobile usage, adds a new layer to advanced targeting. This form of technology is not exactly something that the everyday consumer consciously thinks about, but it is most certainly changing the way they interact with brands. It makes for a more holistic and seamless consumer experience. Beacon based technology is expected to result in more than $4 billion in U.S. sales this year alone, so you can certainly expect an impact on business results. KNOWING WHERE YOU ARE: THETAKEAWAY Beacon technology will become increasingly relevant to retail brands and stores as they become more personalized. 56
  57. 57. Countless sci-fi movies, sitcoms, and books have all toyed with the same idea: what if we could live another life? Virtual Reality is now very much a reality. The headsets are just making their way into the mainstream market and although they may not in be every American’s home by the end of 2016, you can bet the early adopters will be quick to demonstrate the advantages of Virtual Reality and all-encompassing video projects. VIRTUALLY UNRECOGNIZABLE 4. 57
  58. 58. a. 2016 is the year that breaks the video frame open with the introduction of interactive 360° videos, providing an immersive experience with an unprecedented amount of viewer control. Facebook quickly adopted 360° video and ‘do-good’ shoe brand Toms was one of the first to utilize 360° video. Their 360° video brought us into the action, allowing us to see exactly what happens when Toms goes to give: everything from driving past the red rocks of Peru to watching the interactions between the children, often wearing the first pair of shoes they have ever owned. Eliciting an emotional response is a strong suit of 360° video, and brands are capitalizing on the opportunity to make a deeper connection between their brand, their initiative, and their consumers. We’ve already seen brands leverage these kinds of videos on Facebook. For example, Vanity Fair used 360° video to show a unique view of all the celebs arriving to their infamous Oscars after party. Your feeds are about to get a lot more interesting. Whereas 360° video is more “virtual”, headsets take it into “reality.” Placing your phone into a personal Virtual Reality headset allows you to experience the video by literally turning your head. Their introduction last year has still not been widely adopted; however, with Facebook’s Oculus Rift on sale this year and the accessibility of Google Cardboard, we can expect that 2016 will only find further innovative uses for a virtual reality experience. VR tech is even beginning to save lives. Last December, Dr. Redmond Burke, the chief of cardiovascular surgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, performed a life-saving heart surgery on a baby born without half of her heart. After a faulty 3D printer left him and his team solution-less, the utilization of Google Cardboard allowed the surgeon to see baby Teegan’s heart. This is only the tip of the iceberg for the potential of Virtual Reality, and we can expect even more as it begins to enter our regular lives. b. 360°VIDEO VRHEADSETS 58 VIRTUALLY UNRECOGNIZABLE:
  59. 59. It will still take awhile for consumers to get used to wearing a headset and viewing the world without actually tangibly being there. Virtual Reality lends its itself to brands looking to bridge the gap between emotion and facts. With VR, instead of just telling a story you can really employ empathy to amplify your story. As consumers demand more experiences, VR will become an important tool for brands. Where will advertisers be able to get their foot in? Maybe a buy button to book the resort on the spot, or airfare to get to that museum. It’s hard enough to grab consumers’ attention in real life, so there will need to be some serious creativity in order to translate ads and branded content into miscellaneous Virtual Reality experiences. 2016 will be somewhat of a learning year as both content creators and consumers will have to adjust to dealing with a very different kind of video format. VIRTUALLY UNRECOGNIZABLE: THETAKEAWAY 59
  60. 60. Not long ago the thought of wearables in our everyday lives seemed like a futuristic fantasy in a parallel universe. It’s increasingly less foreign to us as we see well-known brands, such as Apple Watch and Google Glass, make their way into the mainstream market. With wearable usage growing by nearly 60% in 2015, compared to 2014, it is clear that these nifty gadgets will be unavoidable in the near future. WEARABLES 5. 60
  61. 61. As people grow towards a healthier mindset, they are become more mindful of themselves as emotional individuals and their level of physical fitness. Everyone is constantly keeping track of how many steps they’ve taken or recording the quality of the sleep. The need for “self-data” has created a large demand for wearables and the value of self-data will only increase as it continues to play a huge role in changing the way consumers manage their health. Pricing of wearables is one of the major barriers that is stopping people from mass adoption of the technology. The industry is still trying to “convince” consumers of the value of wearables. On a smaller barrier scale, the appearance of wearables is also hard to integrate into the everyday style of many people. However we can see brands challenging this, notably seen by Apple Watch x Hermes and FitBit x Tory Burch. SELF-DATA 61 WEARABLES: a.
  62. 62. Whilst wearable technology is growing rapidly, it is still very much trying to find its footing and has yet to overcome the challenge of becoming a staple of our lives. We can see this industry challenge demonstrated by FitBit: the company went from a market capitalization of over $10 billion in early 2015 to $3.7 billion today. WEARABLES: THETAKEAWAY Brands will continue to break down these barriers and make wearables more affordable and accessible through common distribution channels. 62
  63. 63. Be more.. HumAn ONE MORE THING: 63
  64. 64. Imagine an annoying, prepubescent boy vying for the undivided attention of his “dream girl.” He relentlessly texts, messages, tweets and calls her. He jumps at every possible opportunity for a chance with this girl. He is everywhere. She can’t escape him. Think of this as today’s advertising. The emergence of 20th century media platforms has created opportunities to reach consumers at any time. It has turned advertising into a ubiquitous industry whereby brands cram incessant messages at every juncture. In doing so, advertising has begun to take on a pervasive form, prompting consumers to develop ad-avoidance strategies to filter excess visual and auditory stimuli. This has never been more clear than it was in 2015: Ad-blocking increased 41% from 2014 to 2015. If ad-blocking has done one thing, it has thrust the role and value of user-experience to the forefront of the conversation. In 2016, we’ll begin to see marketers confront the way they think about the people on the other side of the screen. It will be a year where every single decision must meticulously attempt to add meaning through engrossing and captivating stories. Why? Because it’s in our primal nature as humans, to seek out a good story. Therefore, as brands approach marketing efforts this upcoming year, it will be their duty and obligation to be customer- obsessed—to put the human being first. It’s time to grow up and mature. As Seth Godin once said, “Permission Marketing is just like dating. It turns strangers into friends and friends into lifetime customers. Many of the rules of dating apply, and so do many of the benefits.” 64
  65. 65. Here’s one final trend that will have major implications in 2016
 and beyond… ONE FINAL TAKEAWAY: THE GOLDEN BANANA This year, marketers must ask themselves: in what ways can we make our communications more meaningful and less disruptive? Instead of vying for undivided attention, be more sincere. Instead of the relentless messaging, be more relevant. By reducing people to mere purchase behavior, we’ve eradicated the ability to humanize the actual people who we ask to invest in our products. Think of these people as you might think of yourself: as a human being. 65
  66. 66. spot all the bananas…? 66 Cutting The BS Fracturing Gender Walls Let’s Be Real Better Together Don’t Just Show Me, Move Me The Hotel California Effect Customer Service Model Conversing Differently Social Advertising Flourishes E/M Commerce Look Above! Convenience Knowing Where You Are Virtually Unrecognizable Wearables Be More Human
  67. 67. Anna Lai
 Social Interactions Manager Rachel Hitzig
 Associate Strategist Sarah Schneebaum
 Associate Project Manager Let’s Chat... 67 Tenthwave is an ultra-curious digital agency on a mission to increase brands’ market share, launch new products with a bang, and out-innovate the competition. We dig deeper to find transformative ideas that seduce the hearts and minds of customers. Special thanks to Drew Rayman, Eric Schwamberger, Gunny Scarfo, Ben Zeidler, Nat Thomson, Sheri Westfal, Luciano Calvaruso, and Rebecca Beyer for all their help and contribution.
  68. 68. References 68 Larry Kramer, The C-Scape: Conquer the Forces Changing Business Today Huffington Post: The Ultimate Guide to Realistic Minimalism (What You Need, What You Don't, and How to Break the Cycle of Wanting) Bustle: 8 Things You Need To Know If You Are Interested In Minimalism Time: Oxford’s 2015 Word of the Year Is This Emoji Warc: Carat's top 10 trends for 2016 Digiday: 2016 Year In Preview Hotwire: Communications Trends Report 2016 eMarketer: 11 Key Digital Trends for 2016 eMarketer: US Social Trends for 2016 Landor: Landor’s 2016 Trend Forecast JWT: The Future 100 Trend Watching: 5 Consumer Trends For 2016 CBS News: Which consumer tech trends will rise, fall in 2016? ADWEEK: These Brands Broke The Internet in 2015 Digiday: 5 things we learned about Snapchat in 2015 TechCrunch: What We Talk About When We Talk About Ad Blocking Mashable: 9 Technologies To Watch in 2016