We’ve recently celebrated our 30th birthday at HRG, and we’ve taken the time to reflect on what we have learnt during our time in the industry. We are no stranger to the constantly shifting landscape and we’ve witnessed trends work out beautifully and others fail at the first hurdle.
But most importantly, each of these have been a learning curve and we’ve learnt to adapt with every brand & retail evolution.
App’s have become an incredible part of digital strategies, with many of our smartphones filled with useless (and pointless) applications. But Progressive Web Apps are equally as important in our modern economy. They take advantage of the latest technologies to combine the best of web and mobile apps.
Microanimations are a great way to keep your digital screen engaging, without overpowering the message. Focus on the experience animation delivers, not the ways in which we can overwhelm with fancy designs.
The human approach means everything. We relate to people; we buy from people. In reality, even the brand is a person. If we’ve learned anything in 30 years, it’s that we cannot forget the concept of personality in all aspects of marketing.
After 30 years in the industry, we have seen the world change dramatically. From the amplification of digital media through to a keen focus on sustainability, there is evolution in retail every day. Our mindset now embraces this change, we have made flexibility a big part of our DNA.
Brands, retailers, marketeers, creatives – we may have once thought that we fuelled the success of a brand. In reality, brands truly live within the mind of the consumer and it is this opinion which can make or break us.
Sure, we all like to look good. But when our digital applications are pretty without substance, what use are they? If we’ve learned anything in 30 years, it’s that creativity must be backed up with tangibility.
In a saturated market, simply having a good product is no longer enough. Shoppers now seek brands who align with their personal values. Whether that value is health, achievement or just something to ‘gram’ about, communicating the right message at the right time in a shopper journey is incredibly important.
…your consumers over with digital advertising. It is that quick.
The last decade has seen a momentous shift in the GTR channel. What was once the opportunity for tax-free purchases is now a platform for some of the most engaging and theatrical brand activations. Even as GTR faces difficulty in light of the current situation, it will once again become a stage for innovative shopper experiences.
If you’re anything like us, you’re tired of reading countless articles on the death of the high-street. It is a simplistic headline and one which solely focuses on those retailers who are not evolving quickly enough. Globally, we may have become fatigued with the traditional store experience, but this just gives brands the opportunity to curate something innovative in physical retail.
We have learned to see creativity as much more than a platform for the next design award. It is the way in which our creative thinking can lead to a clean, easy to understand and relevant shopper strategy. Similar to our comment on digital design, it is the user experience which elevates any form of creativity.
We’re a creative agency, so we know what it means to answer a brief. We understand the importance of adhering to a strategy built by experienced brand ambassadors. But there is more to a creative agency than responding to the ‘need’. We’ve learned to use our expertise, insight, and creativity to push the boundaries and challenge what is asked of us.
From circling Christmas gifts in the Argos catalogue to sifting through the latest fashion trends laid out by Next, we once brought the retail experience into our homes with hefty literature. But consumer tastes have changed over the years, moving towards internet purchasing for convenience. Retailers with a history in printed catalogues have learnt how to transform the nostalgia of flicking through pages into inspirational digital experiences, as well as tactile physical engagement.
We’ve discussed how shoppers are becoming more concerned with brand values, but we cannot forget the progression in mindfulness. Shoppers are now making decisions based on social, ecological, environmental, and political trends. They are looking beyond the label and beginning to truly understand what impact their purchase makes on our individual and global identity.
Yes. We have no doubt in our minds that every agency who uses the word omnichannel is faced with some form of eye-roll. But we cannot forget the importance of it. Consumers are everywhere, all the time. Which means that in order to succeed, brands must assume a multi-territory strategy which answers consumer demand in any format; and more importantly, at any time.
In the last 30 years, the store became a playhouse. In the next 30 years, we predict a progression from playhouse to stage. A serene performance of products, without the tactility of ‘test and play’. A result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but not necessarily a negative one.
With over 30 years in the industry, we’ve seen the rise of the pop-up as a key marketing strategy. And we certainly don’t see that trend slowing down anytime soon. From traditional retailers through to innovative DTC brands, there will always be scope for pop-up retail.
Controversial. But let us explain. Digital and physical experiences will always maintain a form of separation, how can they not? They each have their own unique qualities and must be considered for this. Instead of merging the words, how can we amplify them both to create enviable experiences. We no longer need to “bridge the gap”, we need to create strategies which are inclusive of every single consumer touchpoint.
Daniel Kahnemann identified two different systems for decision making. System one focuses on our emotional approach to decisions, the way our brain instinctively works. System two is considered, it is rational and requires far more thought. Throughout many years, we’ve come to understand the rational and emotional cues which define the shopper experience and influence their decision.
Power and knowledge now rest with the consumer. We are quick to understand when we are being mis-sold and take it upon ourselves to shop intelligently. Knowing this has allowed us to develop strategies for our clients which look far beyond the simple approach.
A one-word insight which carries so much weight in the world of retail. We could not discuss our learnings in 30 years without reference to this eCommerce juggernaut. From its compelling Prime incentive scheme and introduction of the cashless store, through to its recent partnership with Morrisons, Amazon is quickly becoming one of the most important channels for brands to maximise.
The incredible growth in technology and information has led to an increase in consumer desire for more personalised rewards and recommendations. According to IGD, 57% of consumers are now willing to share personal data in exchange for personalised offers and discounts, and 44% of shoppers would like personalised offers sent to their phone when in-store.
Subscription models have been around for a long time. It could be argued that the success of Netflix is one of the big factors which has helped to normalise the model and it now represents a significant part of retail. Everything from Amazon Prime, to Whisky tasting clubs, to meal kits are enjoyed by consumers on a regular basis delivered right to their doors.
We continue to see the growth in prominence and power of social consensus bias. The wisdom of crowds is now used by many to help make decisions about what product to buy easier, based on reviews and the opinions of other customers and has even brought about a new marketing buzzword – micro-influencers.
Seemingly out of nowhere, the influencer trend appeared and shifted the course of retail forever. With such a wealth of choice in every sector, we find ourselves placing trust on influencers; perhaps even more so than the brand itself?
Prior to 2008, many consumers would’ve swayed away from private label brands, but with the financial crisis we saw a real switch and shift to greater acceptance. The rise of the discounters Aldi and Lidl became testament to this, and the amount of money saved almost became more of a badge of honour as many sought ways to minimise their expenditure.
But we’re not talking just recycling bins. We’re talking sustainable beauty regimes, ethical fashion purchases, and planet-friendly production. Sustainable was the buzzword of 2019, and yet continues to make an impact on our buyer behaviour.
Despite the phrase ‘shopper behaviour’ often referred to as consumer demographics, we should not be defined by this mass data. As individuals, we demand a sense of exclusivity – a piece of the puzzle just for us. However, alongside this tailored experience, we also seek a world in which inclusivity is prioritised.
Over the years, we’ve seen some impressive introductions within the VR / AR environment. From headsets for gamers through to virtual fashion try-ons, we are not averse to a little digital reality. However, as we become accustomed to VR as the norm, we’re looking for more advancement. The technology must become slicker, more user friendly, and far more exciting.
We might refer to fear of missing out just in relation to nights out, coffee dates, and events. However, FOMO is strong within the retail sector. From the latest release in Yeezy’s through to the limited-edition alcohol in a specific supermarket, we are often fuelled by the chance to purchase an exclusive item. It may be short-lived, but with such a plethora of products on the market, we are constantly seeking the ones which stand out.