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The Future’s Here, and It’s Digital.

How many times per day do you use digital tools such as apps, fitness devices or smartwatches? You probably can’t even count, right? We know from our own experiences that digital tools are expanding into nearly every aspect of our lives. And the consumers we’re speaking to in the field have certainly verified this as well – even elderly populations and consumers of low socioeconomic status.

Whether we are having conversations related to home energy, credit cards or health condition management, digital is becoming more and more a part of the conversation. So we decided to take a look at our recent research projects to understand exactly how and why consumers are using (or not using) digital tools.

We uncovered several drivers that consumers desire or even require in digital interactions, and if your company is playing in this space, we highly recommend you take a look.

Those insights got us thinking: What’s next? So our team did some online research to get a glimpse of the digital tools we all may be using within the next few years. Here’s a sneak peek:

  • Consumer personal health on demand (aka wearables) is still growing strong. If you don’t already have a fitness tracker, you might by the end of 2017 – and yours might be in the form of a ring rather than a watch.
  • Consumers are becoming more and more connected. From smart homes to ceiling tiles that wirelessly power our devices, tech will continue to infiltrate our homes and lives.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer something seen only in sci-fi movies. Machine learning is ever increasing. For example, it’s apparent in the form of autonomous vehicles and personalized digital concierges like Wiidii.
  • Technology is helping to level the playing field for consumers with disabilities, including apps that help the blind “see” and software that interprets and translates sign language.

There’s a big part of our team who, we’ll be honest, loves nerding out on this stuff. But we also know understanding consumer expectations related to tech could have a big impact on your business. Read how by requesting our full trend report here.


| Research

SXSW Interaction: Through Our Researchers’ Eyes.

Have you ever wondered what a room full of creatives, innovators, researchers, music lovers, techies and financial gurus would be like? Look no further than South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW). In March, our team was right in the middle of this crowd in Austin, Texas.

SXSW brings together individuals from across the world to discuss what’s next for consumers and businesses – and challenges them to drive innovation across all industries. Our researchers were excited to attend events that specifically addressed our areas of expertise: finance, health care and consumer-packaged goods. While they left with notepads full of ideas, the team wanted to share three key takeaways.

Technology

We know technology is touching every area of our lives, and the speakers at SXSW wouldn’t disagree. Whether presenting on the future of mobile banking or the importance of health monitoring devices, the conference made it clear that we live in an increasingly digital world. Speakers specifically focused on how these advancements can directly resolve consumer needs. Fintech and virtual reality took center stage.

Storytelling

Utilizing emotional narratives to fuel consumer product development was also a common theme. For example, Jeff Dachis, founder of diabetes care startup One Drop, expressed the need for direct patient interaction in the health care space. “By speaking with consumers, companies can better understand patients’ lives and make their product a crucial piece of their care,” he said. “If you’re just a piece of the puzzle, you’re not solving the puzzle. Talk to users about every part of their journey and where you can add value.”

Inclusion

Diversity in the tech space is often a theme at SXSW – this year more than ever. Sessions ranged from combating ageism to the impact LGBTQ people have on the workforce. Our team learned how data can create a better business climate for all people, legally and economically. By honoring stories, companies are able to create deeper connections. Writer Fawzia Mirza said it best: “We are telling stories every single day, and we love that feeling of sharing and receiving.”

Four full days of interactive sessions, panels and speakers left our researchers brewing with inspiration. Check back in May to learn what our creative team discovered at SXSW.


| Culture, Research

Till Death Do Us Part: Committing to the Brands We Love.

Think about your last shopping trip. Did you pause at the laundry detergent aisle to consider your options, or did you just grab your longtime favorite? How about the toothpaste and cereal aisles? For many of us, the choices are simple. That’s because we long ago formed relationships with brands we know and trust.

In a world of ever-increasing options, achieving this brand loyalty is more important for brands than ever before. And that extends from the shoes we wear to the cars we drive and beyond. So, what is currently driving consumer brand loyalty? And how can you make a consumer trust your brand, not just buy your brand? We explored the answers in our recent Brand Loyalty Trend report.

Engagement

Consumers want to be engaged in a brand’s story and product. Companies that encourage collaboration with their consumers are more likely to create long-lasting relationships.

Millennials are especially knowledgeable when it comes to what they buy, and they drive market trends because of their significant buying power.

Quality

For many consumers, the quality of a product or service determines the likelihood that they will trust a brand with their repeat purchases and establish an ongoing relationship. However, consumers are also likely to cite reliably high-quality customer service as the reason for remaining loyal even after encountering issues with a brand’s product.

Shared Values

Consumers are attracted to brands they view as altruistic and commit to companies that have a similar philosophy or values. They identify with and are more likely to stay loyal to brands that authentically demonstrate their commitment to social or environmental issues in their business practices.

90% of Americans say they are more likely to trust and feel loyal to companies that support social issues.1

Personalization

Consumers seek novelty and are more likely to be loyal to brands that pay attention to their individuality and respond accordingly. They develop trust and express satisfaction when brands continually surprise them with new products and experiences that are customized to their needs – or give consumers the power to customize on their own.

In an oversaturated market, the consumer is king. Never underestimate the power of brand loyalty, and always invest in your consumers – getting to know their needs so you can speak to them more directly than your competition can.

See five quick examples of companies that are succeeding, and learn how you can increase brand loyalty by requesting the full report.

 

1 2013 Cone Communications Social Impact Study.


| Research

Proud To Be Women Owned.

As we celebrate another Women’s History Month, we’re reminded of a stat we heard at the 3% Conference: In 2012, only 3% of creative directors in the United States were women. Anyone who has taken a tour of our offices will surely realize we’ve turned that number upside down. And, for many of our clients, being a women-owned business means we help them meet Tier 1 Diversity supplier standards. Yet our work in creating a diverse workplace certainly isn’t done.

Here are five of our favorite tips from the 3% Conference that we try to apply every day:

  1. Celebrate diversity in all its forms, and be open to discussing it at work.
  2. Allow flexibility. (At Fusion Hill we have Flex Fridays to celebrate hard work and accommodate busy schedules.)
  3. Invest in personal development, whether that is presentation, diversity or leadership training. Prioritize giving your employees the tools they need to continue being successful.
  4. Join organizations in the community that celebrate women and diversity.
  5. Be a mentor to someone. Always be intentional about building each other up. Include men in these mentorship relationships, too, to avoid creating an echo chamber where women talk to women and no progress is made.

We are proud to do our part to boost the ratio of women in our industry, and we hope you’ll join us. Connect with us on Twitter, and tell us what you’re doing to make your workplace more diverse – and more accepting.


| Creative, Culture, Research

Does a Healthy Heart Start with Your Wrist?

Take a quick look around and you’re sure to see someone wearing a Fitbit® or similar device. You might even be wearing one yourself.

Over the past few years, the popularity of trackers has skyrocketed, and the trend doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. But does wearing a device really help people stay more engaged in their fitness? And, considering this is American Heart Month, is it a smart solution for keeping people heart healthy?

Our team looked into these questions and discovered that how trackers work to help improve heart health depends on who’s using the device. Our research identified five distinct personas of people who use wearable tracking devices:

  • People with Chronic Conditions—This group tracks at a greater rate than all others and takes more action as a result of their tracking. Detailed, specific daily health reports on blood pressure, respiration, oxygen, sugar levels, and—you guessed it—heart rate and rhythmic patterns are all essential to managing health conditions.
  • Athletes—Athletes know that keeping a workout within a certain “optimal heart rate” not only increases endurance and performance but also maintains heart health. They desire a tracker that can measure their heart rate.
  • Weight Managers—Studies show that using a food diary can double a person’s weight loss.1 On the flip side, tracking calories burned is also very important, and these devices are an easy way to do it.
  • Caregivers and Their Dependents—Wearables for the elderly are especially valuable because they can allow people the freedom to live independently. In some cases, a tracking device that alerts their caregiver or doctor when they are in need through location, posture, and heart rate data may even replace expensive nursing home care.
  • People Undergoing Severe Change—Women who are pregnant, people attempting to lose a dramatic amount of weight, and people who are quitting smoking are just a few examples of people who can use trackers throughout a change. Some wearables can even track a fetus’ heartbeat as well as a pregnant mother’s.

So the short answer seems to be that wearables can be helpful in keeping your heart healthy—if you use them in a way that makes sense for your lifestyle.

From all of us at Fusion Hill, have a happy, healthy American Heart Month.

 

  1. Science Daily. Keeping a Food Diary Doubles Diet Weight Loss, Study Suggests. Available at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080708080738.htm. Accessed February 10, 2017.

| Research
 
 

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