Insights 2014

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Connecting Technology and Story in an Always-On World

For 23 years, we have oriented ourselves on the impact we can make with our clients, which has required us to take the long view on the dynamics shaping our clients’ environments. We believe that today’s marketing environment sits at the crosshairs of not just a massive technology shift but also a unique societal shift that has changed the role technology plays in people’s lives.

The days of viewing technology as a solely utilitarian product are long gone. Particularly for Generation Z and Millennials, technology is embedded into notions of self-image and fashion. Meantime, the stark economic environment and general state of the world have created a shift in values for Gen Z and Millennials. They express an increased desire for transparency and authenticity in all aspects of their lives, including their relationship with brands. They also thirst to make the world a better place.

Those values and the role of technology to empower always-on lifestyles have resulted in a profound change in the relationship between customers and brands. Consumers expect you to meet them wherever they are and to help them do what they expect you to do – to immerse them, delight them and stand for something. For brands, those expectations beg new ways of thinking about brand storytelling – from something told to a person to an experience lived by that person – in a way that changes everything, much the way it did when Alice went down a rabbit hole to experience Wonderland.

What’s particularly exciting is that the ways in which our clients’ brands choose to “step into Wonderland” can take an infinite number of forms. We’re inspired when once seemingly impossible experiences are brought to life every day, changing the way we live our lives. For example, a banking app connects you with cash at an ATM even if you don’t have your bank card. An eyewear company changes the way people quite literally see themselves. A virtual concierge assists you in the retail fitting room. Having meaningful impact is no longer just about building ads for a moment but rather about building worlds at the intersection of story and technology; form and function; and fantasy and utility. Creating meaningful impact is about developing story systems that attract, engage and bring about a transaction.

In this issue of Insights, we welcome you to explore what we’re learning about the behavioral shifts that affect marketers at breakneck speed. In Insights, you will discover how consumers’ 21st century mobile lifestyles have changed expectations of how your favorite brands should behave. I invite you also to delve into some original research that looks at new and powerful ways to think about the retail store. You may choose to study the business lessons of Madonna, Arianna Huffington and Martha Stewart, who were among the first to pave the way to omnichannel branding. By reading Insights, you may also discover what it could mean when businesses finally have the tools to measure return on the consumer experience. Insights also examines some thinking on the implications of changing consumer behavior for organizations and their leadership.

Explore Insights 2014 now and join Hilding Anderson and other SapientNitro thought leaders for a series of webinars examining the marketing trends that will shape the landscape for 2014 and beyond.

By Alan Herrick, President and CEO, Sapient Corporation

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