ForewordIt‟s hard to go more than a few minutes in a day without touching technology. It‟s now so ubiquitous thatit‟s replacing fundamental items we have carried with us for generations – like pens, watches and money.This ubiquity is not necessarily a bad thing. Technology makes it possible to offer mobile banking to themasses in developing countries. It‟s enabling patients with chronic disease to be monitored remotely.Online education is disrupting traditional models. And on a more personal front, people are usingtechnology to connect with friends and relatives, share ideas, solve problems and sometimes just get amuch-needed laugh.But consumers are asking „when is it too much‟? Does technology bring us closer together – or drive usfurther apart? What underlying values drive the constant dance of technology adoption/rejection?At Ketchum, these questions fascinate us. Based on the work we do in our Global Technology Practicehelping consumer technology manufacturers and service providers differentiate themselves and resonatewith their target audiences, we‟ve formed our own opinions about what it takes to break through today‟s“wall of technology.”We decided to examine this question systematically by creating the Ketchum Digital Living Index. At theheart of its design is our belief that technology must connect with the values of the human experience.This led us to adopt a uniquely anthropological approach.It also led to surprising results. They call into question several of the dominant narratives widely believedand repeated about technology.One is that people are motivated by features and functions, that “technology sells itself.” Instead, theKetchum Digital Living Index shows that people yearn for simplification. That doesn‟t mean they want lessfunctionality – just less perceived mental clutter and so-called “jargon monoxide” about the products.Another dominant narrative is that location no longer matters. But the Ketchum Digital Living Indexreveals provocative differences by country. Cultural DNA exerts a strong effect over aspects such as howpeople feel about technology, what is important to them, what trade-offs they will make, and which of thestudy‟s four types of Digital Living natives they are likely to be.Looking at all of this from an ethnographic perspective has significant implications for communicationsand marketing professionals. To shift behaviors and drive greater adoption of new technology products,the Ketchum Digital Living Index points to a major opportunity for companies to integrate an ethnographicapproach, communicating more around the human experience.Ketchum is pleased to share our insights from this study. We‟re very passionate about the power ofconsumer technology – and we look forward to continuing the conversation with companies about thebest way to communicate its power in helping people achieve their desired experiences. Esty Pujadas Partner, Director, Global Technology Practice firstname.lastname@example.org
Ketchum Digital Living Index | 1Key Finding No. 1What People Really Want – SimplicityThe most surprising finding in the study is the satisfied with technology‟s ability to make their lifeoverwhelming desire for simplicity. simpler. In addition, a comparison between what consumers expect and what they feel they areDespite how major a role technology plays in getting in the area of simplification shows a 25-everyday life, the 2012 Ketchum Digital Living percentage point gap – one of the biggest in theIndex shows that fully three quarters of the 6,000 study.people surveyed by Ipsos state they are not verysatisfied with its ability to simplify their lives. “That’s been one of myThe Digital Living Index groups a set of 17 mantras — focus andattributes into three overall Experience categories simplicity. Simple can be– simplification, empowerment and enrichment –and one Values category. harder than complex: YouAcross the six countries in the study, more people have to work hard to get your(50 percent) value technology that provides thinking clean to make itsimplification than empowerment (40 percent) orenrichment (23 percent) and prioritize all three of simple. But it’s worth it in thethese over personal values (15 percent). A closerlook at a few of the attributes of simplification end because, once you getshows that a greater number of people find itimportant for personal technology to be easy to there, you can moveuse (54 percent) and simplify their life (46 percent) mountains.”than entertain them (35 percent) or signal who they - Steve Jobsare to the world (11 percent).Simplification is not just important – it is alsolacking. The Index shows that more than three in The notion of simplification is not simplyfour people (76 percent) say they are not very technology that is easy to use, it also reflects the
Ketchum Digital Living Index | 2broader concept of making life simpler – i.e., In terms of geography, Americans were most likelystreamlining the technology experience in order to to find simplification very important (61 percent ofget to the desired outcome, whether that is looking U.S. survey respondents), followed by Spain (56up recipe ingredients from your phone at the percent), Germany (50 percent), France (48grocery store, tracking your daily health and fitness percent), U.K. (44 percent) and China (42 percent).statistics, or using Skype to connect withgrandchildren thousands of miles away.Key Finding No. 2Location, location, locationThe dominant narrative in the technology industry • In Spain, empowerment is more importantis that “technology sells itself”. In addition, notion than enrichment or personal values. Therethat mobile technology removes barriers of place were fewer big gaps between importanceand time suggests that a user‟s physical location and satisfaction on most attributes –no longer matters. However, the Ketchum Digital meaning that people in Spain are generallyLiving Index shows that human experiences with more satisfied with technology‟s ability totechnology differ profoundly by country and by meet their expectationscultural DNA. These variances emerged in many • The Chinese value the role of consumerways, but were particularly striking in such areas technology in helping them manageas the importance of simplification and the relationships and health and wellness morelikelihood to express “love” for specific types of than other countries do. They also are moreproducts. likely to appreciate brands that share their values and signal who they are to theExamples of differences by country: outside world • Consumers in the U.S., more so than in other western countries, value technology • In the UK, the product category most liked is that understands and shares their values. the TV, which is more than any other Most enrichment factors, including country. British people also strongly value entertainment and staying on top of news technology‟s ability to keep them informed and trends, are also much more important to about the latest trends and news and are the Americans than to their global counterparts second highest country to prioritize getting the information they want when they want it • The French view technology as more of a tool that empowers than as a way of relating Love/Hate Relationship to others. For example, few French people When asked to rate their overall feelings about think it important that technology help them personal technology and choose between love, be a better parent, spouse/partner or friend like, dislike and hate, fully 96 percent of people are • Germans are more likely to love mobile and positive, although the “likes” (53 percent) outweigh home entertainment technology than their the “loves” (43 percent). Passion varies widely by global counterparts and come second only to country. Germans are more likely to express love China in being more likely to love household for personal technology; the French least likely. technology, such as appliances
Ketchum Digital Living Index | 3Sentiment also varies by product category, with opportunities for companies in this sector totablets/computers (42 percent) inching out increase the emotional appeal through the humanTV/video product (38 percent) and smartphones experience.(35 percent) for types of products that people love.Consumers feel far less strong emotion forhousehold technology (e.g., household appliancesor security systems), providing greaterKey Finding No. 3Four Kinds of Digital Living NativesA cluster analysis shows that consumers can be Infomaniacsdivided into four groups, based on their importance The next largest are Infomaniacs (25 percent).rankings and their place on the technology Infomaniacs feel only an average amount of “love”love/hate continuum: for consumer technology. For this group, the ability to get the information they want, when they want it,Enthusiasts is above average in being rated very important,The largest group is the Enthusiasts (37 percent of and it spans a number of product categories.the study‟s population). Their love of personaltechnology is 10-15 points above the average, Technology‟s value as a way to help them discoverregardless of category, and they place more new information and experiences is vastly moreimportance on personal values (such as “the brand important to this group than to Pragmatists andshares my values” and “signals who I am”). Disconnects (29 percent vs. 16 percent and 3 percent, respectively). Simplification is veryThey are much more likely to rate attributes as important, and the dissatisfaction gap is large (25“very important” than the other segments and they points). Infomaniacs attach little importance toare hard to please, with an average gap of 14 personal values and less than 5 percent ratedpoints between an attribute‟s importance and their technology‟s ability to help them be better friend,satisfaction with it. Enthusiasts are more willing to partner or parent as very important.sacrifice simplification in order to have a productgive them what they want. Percentage of Infomaniacs by RegionPercentage of Enthusiasts by Region France 23 China 29 Spain 19 US 18 UK 19 Spain 18 US 16 UK 14 Germany 16 Germany 13 China 6 France 9 0 10 20 30 0 20 40
Ketchum Digital Living Index | 4Pragmatists DisconnectsPragmatists, who constitute just less than one in Disconnects (16 percent) feel far less positivelyfour Digital Living natives (22 percent), value than other segments (20 percent say they lovetechnology as a helper. They love technology mobile and home entertainment technology vs. anslightly less than the average, but ease of use is overall global average of 43 percent). Themore important to this group than any other. importance of all aspects of technology is much lower than the average, ranging from 0 percent toTechnology‟s ability to help simplify life comes 38 percent for Disconnects, while the averagesecond (47 percent), although the percentage that ranges from 11 percent to 54 percent. To them,finds this very important is about the same as technology isn‟t about making them a betterEnthusiasts and Infomaniacs. person or allowing them to customize or be creative – „easy to use‟ is the top-rated attribute,Pragmatists appreciate and value how technology with 38 percent rating it very important.can help them live a more enriched life – they areabove average in valuing technology‟s ability to Like the overall population, simplification is foundhelp them be a better friend, parent, partner, to wanting. There is a 29 percentage point gapmanage their health and wellness, and to help between importance and satisfaction for “ease ofthem find time. Overall, they‟re a satisfied group – use” and a 13-point gap for “helps simplify life”personal technology is doing a good job of meeting among this least emotionally invested segment ofPragmatists‟ expectations. the survey population.Percentage of Pragmatists by Region Percentage of Disconnects by Region Germany 21 France 26 US 17 Germany 20 UK 17 UK 19 France 17 Spain 15 China 15 US 14 Spain 14 China 6 0 10 20 30 0 10 20 30s
Ketchum Digital Living Index | 5 Why Cultural Anthropology? Understanding why consumers embrace some technology products and reject others is a tricky proposition. Unlike basic necessities like food or a bar of soap, consumer technology can be viewed as optional and is not always easy to use right out of the box. What‟s even more challenging for technology marketers and communicators is that the same feature seen as a benefit by one person is perceived as a negative by someone else. For example, opinions can be sharply divided on the value of being reachable any time from one‟s mobile phones or the many buttons and features on the TV remote control. Talking about technology’s By necessity, the consumer technology industry value proposition – faster, needs to talk about features and functions more than companies who sell food or detergent. bigger, smaller, cheaper – is Consumer electronics, mobile devices and home not enough. It is the context appliances are not typically single-use products that don‟t require a manual. However, consumer surrounding the value technology manufacturers are more likely to proposition that cultural uncover relevant information about their target anthropology provides. audience if they look at how technology is used, what attracts people to it and what aspirations they have for it, all through the values of the human experience. Talking about technology‟s value proposition – faster, bigger, smaller, cheaper – is not enough. It is the context surrounding the value proposition that cultural anthropology provides, ultimately leading to more relevant audience targeting. As cultural anthropologist Emma Gilding, who collaborated with Ketchum on designing the study and interpreting the data, notes, it is not enough to know that people look to their consumer technology products to drive human experiences. Companies need to know how those human experiences look in the analog world in order to understand the technology-based behavior. For example, knowing that people in China value technology to manage human relationships more highly than other countries do is only part of the insight. Using cultural anthropology, companies can understand the role of human relationships as part of the Chinese cultural DNA. This approach is what will yield the deeper insights needed to communicate in ways that connect a company‟s products with the target audience‟s desired experiences.
Ketchum Digital Living Index | 6Implications for Communicators and MarketersThe findings of this study highlight five critical implications for communications and marketingprofessionals in consumer technology manufacturing or services.1. Focus on the experience, not just the objectTechnology manufacturers can communicate more meaningfully with consumers and break through themental clutter consumers perceive when they think about today‟s wall of technology by talking about thehuman experience, not just the object. By linking product features and capabilities with the experienceeach type of consumer wants, companies will show that they understand the consumer‟s real needs anddrive greater product adoption.2. Take a page from consumer packaged goods companiesConsumer brands have been integrated into the human conversation far longer than technology brands –Ivory soap was first sold over a hundred years ago, for example. As a result, successful companies in thatsector have become very creative in order to sell themselves. Technology brands, on the other hand,tend to emphasize the comparison of one micro-innovation to another. Consumers want to hear moreabout how these products are integrated into everyday life.3. Don’t ignore the elephant in the room – simplificationAll signs in this study point to simplification as an unmet need. It may seem counter-intuitive that peopleseem to want to hear “less” at a time when each generation of new technology promises more. But lifetoday is complicated, and the study data says that personal technology is falling short of expectations asa helpmate in navigating all this complexity. Communicating the „what‟ – getting easily to the desired end-experience – instead of only the features-focused „how‟ – will forge a stronger emotional connection andbrand loyalty.4. Understand the cultural DNAStudy findings indicate that a group or region‟s cultural DNA overrides many of the existing assumptionsabout consumer technology. Communications and marketing professionals that make the effort tounderstand the prevailing cultural framework for the audiences they are targeting and then developculturally relevant communications will have greater success. This approach, used successfully byleading consumer brands, can be applied equally to consumer technology brands.5. Segment by experiencesViewing the context that surrounds technology‟s value propositions leads to a richer way of segmentingthan conventional approaches such as demographics or frequently used product features. Segmenting bythe values of human experience (for example, Ketchum‟s four types of Digital Living natives) and layeringin cultural frameworks enables companies to develop more relevant and compelling communications andcreative programming. For example, communicators can make Infomaniacs (who are almost equally aslikely to be women as men) heroes to their tribes by letting them release information ahead of others.