September 19 2018

Where Next?

Thought Leadership

It’s no secret that today’s consumer landscape is changing fast. Individuals continue to shift how they make purchase decisions - and consumers are increasingly interacting with brands through content and experiences. So, where are they going next? How can brands reach them there?

Each Wednesday, we'll be sharing a few trends on where consumers are heading next.



The NBA is making a social impact, generating its own buzz by tapping into consumers’ cultural interests across fashion, gaming, music and technology. The league’s strategic involvement in social media platforms has empowered players to become their own brands, creating distinct personalities that fans love engaging with. As the NBA dives into the mental health conversation, the opportunities for future topics in the space are seemingly unlimited.



2018 marks the year Media Rights overtook all other revenue drivers across the sports ecosystem. The shift in revenue drivers is accompanied by another sizeable shift: the streaming sports fan becoming commonplace. As traditional sports head to streaming sites, leagues, teams and athletes are embracing the evolving reality of the multiscreen, digital-first sports fan. While traditional linear broadcasters try to balance the lionshare of audience reach with the next generation of OTT consumers, new platform distributors are bidding on sports rights, resulting in evergrowing rights fees for premium properties.




With the rise of streaming, niche sports (think: speed climbing) and diaspora sports (think: rugby or cricket) no longer need a broadcast deal to gain fans; they’re gaining them online. Access to these sports and athletes are becoming a cost-effective way for brands to engage with specific target communities.







Consumers seek content and experiences with a purpose or focus on inclusion and activism. And today’s consumers expect companies to do their part. Taking a stand on key issues has become an effective way for companies to get involved socially and earn the approval of consumers (Elevent). Consumers spot inauthenticity, so it’s not just about standing for something, but making it a part of the brand DNA.



A deluge of compelling content like audiobooks, podcasts and music are freeing consumers’ hands while they cook, commute and work. According to a Nielsen Q1 2018 research study, 69% of podcast listeners agreed that podcast ads made them aware of new products or services, giving brands ample opportunity to reach their target even as their eyes are elsewhere while multitasking. While the technology does not allow for traditional advertising, Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, has been integrated with Sonos speakers, Garmin navigation and BMW vehicles, and brands have the opportunity to use content to continue the conversation with their consumers through custom Alexa Skills.


Live streams are turning audience members into active participants. Platforms like Twitch allow consumers to interact with live content and give brands an opportunity to enter conversations as they’re happening to truly connect with their consumers. Most recently, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported the Alliance of American Football will release a new in-game feature, enabling fans to watch a game in-app while betting on the same screen. They’re also working with MGM to put wearables on players to better assess odds.




Instagram and Snapchat are reinventing commerce, turning influencers into POS and keeping consumers in-app with native payment features. With the ability to purchase a product within clicks of an Instagram scroll, this seamless customer experience is changing the way products are discovered and purchased. For example, always ahead of the curve, sister agency Rogers & Cowan launched Click My Closet, which gives consumers the ability to seamlessly save, share and purchase clothing.



For thousands of years, we’ve been gathering socially around music. With the addition of social features, it’s no surprise that apps like Spotify and Apple Music could become their own social networks. According to Nielsen, Americans spend, on average, 32 hours per week listening to music. That’s twice as long as they’re spending on social media (Social Media Today).



Younger consumers are driving a resurgence in outdoor activities with the rise of national park attendance and popularity of outdoor festivals (music, food, thought-leadership, etc.) Brands like Outdoor Voices are taking advantage, developing their brand voice around getting outside and #DoingThings, and launching programs to shake up the indoor shopping experience by creating outdoor AR trail shops in parks around the country.


Check back next week for more.