Cold Storage, the Singaporese supermarket chain, will soon equip one of it’s shops with shopping carts fitted with 12 inch colour screens. Customers can use the screens to find products in the supermarket or to call up recipes that will guide them to all the ingredients they will need. When a product is brought to the scanner, the screen will show the details and it’s price. If the screen is not being used by the customer it will show adverts. Because the shopping cart is also equipped with a RFID-transponder, special offers can be shown on the screen as the customer approaches them. (via mb, Dutch).
In this way, brands are leading us ever more by the hand. On the basis of individual profiles we receive appropriate suggestions so that we have less and less need to think and are even surprised sometimes. This development yet another form of media-evolution we have access to a new screen. If we want to discuss a suggestion with a partner at home, we press the button and we are in touch with them. And if we suddenly decide we want to check a file, that is also possible. Every screen is a window to a virtual world.
The call centre industry works much harder on the realisation of brand dialogue than traditional brands. Simple inquiries will often be handled by an automated system whilst more complex inquiries will be dealt with by the help desk. Call centre employees are ever better trained and more expert, they are helped by all sorts of tools which ensure the inquiry is dealt with as efficiently as possible. Location intelligence provides call centre employees with demographic and geographical information about the caller. The time of day (dependant on the time zone), the local weather, the area in which he lives, economic conditions, important sporting events, public transport strikes, threats of war: all sorts of factors that can influence the conversation. Whether someone is calling from a mobile or a land line can give an indication of the situation that the caller is currently in, as well as indication how much time the caller is likely to have.
Dutch energy supplier Eneco has a new animated logo in the top left hand corner of it’s website. The animation is organic, animating once and then staying still. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work in FireFox (via mb. Dutch). It is one of the first brands that has dared to animate their permanent logo (in the top left hand corner). In the future no logo will be static. Sometimes it will be a way of expressing the brand personality , reacting if we click on it - and later - reacting even if we look at it. First we need to learn to let go of the old rule ‘that a logo should be static and do nothing’.
Studies have shown an increase in the levels of aggressive behaviour in people who play violent video games. Less well educated young men who enjoy playing games with violent central characters and also like to be the ‘hero’ in real life behave significantly more aggressively after playing video games than other young men (via tg, Dutch). We are making the virtual world more and more real. What we see today is child’s play compared to what we’ll see in the future. Our human brains are not built to be able to differentiate between the two worlds, they mix it all up together. This will eventually lead to the banning of violence in video games as well as in passive media, so called films. It will take a couple of decades, but we’re slowly moving toward pamper planet.
Business social network LinkedIn introduces company profiles (see below for details, li). A lot of information that hasn’t been available before has now been published. Furthermore, LinkedIn offers companies the possibility to add information. LinkedIn thus pushes the brand coming out for all companies, meanwhile becoming more and more relevant as a career coaching brand: a brand that helps you in your career.
Zoek Alle Huizen, a Dutch housing site, answers all questions consumers have about real estate agents. Questions such as: "Which real estate agent gets the best prices for the houses sold?" or "Who sells the fastest?" Based on objective data, from the city hall amongst others, the answer is given. Through the addition of a zip code the user will be given a selection of real estate agents. The information is sent through email and costs 25 euros for the data of 3 agents. Personal brands stand beside the consumer. They add value by looking up information the consumer doesn't want to look up, or simply can't look up. People will pay for this added value. This example fits seamlessly into this long term trend.
Cubo is a lady who's shown full screen and reacts to movements of our mouse. People copy emotions of other people. Not consciously, but completely subconsciously. Not just when they're real people, but also if they're actors or animated characters. Whether people are happy, scared, surprised, thrilled, horny, or completely confused: we copy the emotion. Just by watching. A simple animation such as this makes us feel that to our core. In a next step Cubo will also respond to how we look (to our facial expression), what we're looking at and also what we say. It's getting increasingly more real. Step by step.
New search engine SearchMe.com allows users to search visually. While they are typing in a key word (for example ‘car’), related categories appear in icons. The icons directly relate to different websites, placed in a row (em), Dutch. Brands thus start to communicate more and more visually. Now you still have to type, soon you can point at what you mean and say: ‘this is what I’m looking for’. The same goes for spoken text: you just have to hum, and you immediately get the song you meant. The written word very slowly gets pushed into the background. This is only the beginning.
With AppleTV, a small device placed near the TV that makes a wireless connection to the internet, the user can now directly download a movie without even getting up from the couch. An interface appears which allows the user to directly select movies. Prices are $2.99 for a normal movie, $3.99 for a new movie, and a dollar extra for HD format. Take a guided tour here. (ap).
Thus home entertainment coaching brands further evolve. Now in HD format, soon in life size screens that cover whole walls. Now AppleTV only gives access to entertainment, soon we will pay a lot more for interactive content. The experience economy then will really come to life, and AppleTV can coach us in making selections out of all these possibilities.
Through Jogging Over A Distance joggers now can continuously stay connected. In this video two joggers who say goodbye and continue each on their own route. Through the headset they can keep talking to each other, whereby they hear the other person’s voice from ahead or from behind, wherever the jogging partner is.
We thus connect the whole world. People, animals, plants, objects, means of transportation: everything is mapped. And we can contact them, wherever we are, whenever we want. In this environment coaching brands will bloom.
SmartyPig offers an online savings account for which you can invite friends, family or colleagues to contribute money towards a goal you have chosen yourself. SmartyPig has developed a widget for social networks MySpace and Facebook, so you can make your savings goal accessible for more people (fe, Dutch). Saving, lending, investing: it is all about trust. And the people directly around you trust you most. Brands are more and more building on this trust: they get better at tribal thinking since they have less chance to reach the consumer with messages, while at the same time they have more chance to facilitate the consumer. This development fits in that trend.
Otello, launched in Germany in beta, provides information to the pictures you make with your mobile phone. Suppose you walk by something (a building, billboard, - well-known - person, etc) and you want to know who or what it is. You pick up your mobile phone, take a picture, and send a MMS message to 4242, Otello’s number. Otello matches the picture to its own information base. Within a couple of seconds you receive a reply message, sometimes with pictures, videos, and links to relevant sites. (fe, Dutch). Brands this way start dialogues, often after activation in the physical world. We see a building somewhere, or a brand costume, or brand shoes. Through a picture we directly get in touch with the manufacturer, and the dialogue can start. Soon we will call our coaching brand: ‘Hey Ray’, and ask: ‘do you know this type of car?’, and we will immediately get an answer. This is really starting to look like that.
I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.
The quote is definitely not new, but it typifies our learning in the future. While older generations just had to listen to the teacher at school (I hear), many people of the contemporary generation had video that made a lot clear (I see), and soon we will have a (school) world in which we can experiment ourselves (in the virtual world). We can travel back in time hundreds of years with our class mates (or others with similar interests). There we get a tour from a virtual tour guide, whom we can ask questions too. And we can run around independently, and explore the city in that time. That is a whole different kind of history class than our generation has ever had.
Research by Marcel Zeelenberg at Tilburg University in the Netherlands shows that most people are sorry for things they haven’t done more than for things they have done. It also shows that our curiosity is stronger than our aversion of the negative ‘sorry’ feeling. In the world to come, developing over the next decades, we can do everything, experience everything, learn everything. From the very first moment in our lives. We can easily fill our lives, satisfy our curiosity, only the question is: does it make us happier? Then a certain wisdom is needed: what choices do yo have to make? How do you psychologically handle the things you don’t do? How do you accept our own life. These are spiritual questions: questions to be answered at a higher level, but still through technology. We are then talking bout 2050 though. We are talking about the world of Pamper Planet.