…The Digital Leaders Conference 2014After attending the recent Digital Leaders UK conference I left thinking about my role as a creative, a designer and a digital leader and the responsibilities and opportunities we have to shape the world we live in.
This conference focused on how we will be handling personal data, the process of design, the communication opportunities opening up to us, and the impact that connected technology will have on the way we could live.
JP Edwards from Futures at Manning Gottleib OMD set up the event talking about two key trends The ‘things’ we make and the ‘network’ that supports them. He discussed technological innovations such as wearable technology, miniaturisation and virtual experiences, the power and size of networks, quantum computing and how moving into the age of Web 3.0 will impact us and the relationships users have with their physical and digital world.
History has shown us that web 2.0 was a ‘Social Consumer’ web, but the companies who thrived like Amazon, Google and Facebook were in fact based on the principles of web 3.0 ‘World of Data’.
It is safe to assume that if those same companies (or hopefully new ones, please let there be some new companies) want to thrive, they will need to adopt the principles of Web 4.0. Whatever they might be is still up for debate but I think I’d agree with JP’s take, in that they will lie in the areas of ‘Value’ or ‘Intelligence’.
What value will these companies add to the customer? And how will they use their data intelligently?
Niall Murphy from Evrythng came in at this point and discussed how the ‘Internet of Things’ is connecting man to machine and how this is transforming the person into the interface.
Nikes fuel band demonstrates nicely the interconnectedness between our exercise patterns and our digital profile, but it is also happening in the energy sector, health sectors and many others too.
The notion of merging your physical actions with digital lives really appeals to me and – should I allow it – if I popped to some clothes shops, that data could be added to my digital profile and on getting home could facilitate a continued shopping experience.
The services that could be created around the digital profiling of products and the customer beggars belief, but the tide is turning. What will become evermore important is ‘Vendor Relationship Marketing’ (VRM). It will no longer be about companies telling you what you might want, rather the customer allowing those companies to give them what they actually want – serving their own needs. The digital shoe is moving from one foot to the other.
Again a designers role is key here will be key for a businesses growth.
Brands will have to engage with customers and communicate their ‘Digital Engagement Value Proposition’ so customers will buy into their offer and trust them with their data. Creatives will need to design those experiences, help to develop the strategy that resonates with them, articulate the messaging that explains it, create engaging content that inspires them and structure that content in a way that sells it to the customer in a user friendly way.
Mo Syed, head of UX at Ampliance talked really well about design as a science, and for me this really hit the nail on the head in terms of the approach we need to take to help service the needs of our clients customers perfectly.
At Pancentric this is how we treat our creative process. Our approach is an iterative one that bases its deliverables on insight, analysis and collaboration. We work with each of our departments, our clients and their customers closely to ensure we deliver the best solutions to fit their users needs.
Someone said at the conference (I forget who) that: ‘Individuals don’t actually exist, only user personas.’
So we need to educate our clients and ourselves as to what the users persona requirements are. What are they doing, why they are doing it, what is their mindset, what are their needs, and how can we define, refine and enhance their experience so that when the user engages with a brand, in their digital world, they build a sense of trust in the relationships they encourage.
Smarter users with smarter data will need smarter solutions for businesses to deliver smarter growth. The creative industry has a massively important role to play and I cant wait to see where we go next.