Things are changing… fast. Today people’s expectations are being shaped by new experiences with media, peers, technology and brands. These expectations form assumptions people have about how companies should engage with and create experiences for customers.

The truth is, brands that don’t deliver experiences that meet or exceed these rapidly changing expectations are increasingly being ignored, brushed aside or deemed irrelevant.

Trends-Based Innovation

Trends mark an identifiable shift in what customers are expecting out of brands, technology, services and experiences. Following and identifying trends enables us to understand these changing expectations in order to capture new market opportunities, take smart risks and spur innovation.

This week we released our 2017 trends report, following 56 trends across Consumer, Digital, Communications and Healthcare. You can download these reports here.

2017 Digital Trend: Living in the Moment

2017 may mark the end of the golden age of YouTube. The massive growth of short-form episodic content – like Snapchat and Instagram– had been fragmenting its audiences and stealing its talent for years. Now live streaming apps – like Periscope, YouNow and Facebook Live– are finally earning significant share, especially among younger viewers. Users are turning to the apps because they fit part of the growing expectation to be part of what’s happening right now vs. being satisfied with the archive of what was. In 2017, the best content lives in the moment.

Basic Needs It Meets:

  • Need for Immediacy: Letting viewers be part of the conversation happening now and building a sense of being in the loop or ahead or the curve
  • Need for Agency and Engagement: Giving viewers the ability to interact with and direct the conversation rather than passively consume content
  • Need for Authenticity: Livestream videos have a sense of realness that pre-recorded or even text-based updates don’t have


Drivers of Change:

Long Term Shifts:

  • Video is King in Social: With mobile cameras and connection speeds improving, video has become the default medium for maximum engagement (Snapchat and Facebook video-auto-play contributed big here)
  • Live Release Events: Steve Jobs cemented the role of live product releases into the tech industry, and many brands have found live newsworthy events critical to their overall marketing mix
  • YouTube Created The Social Star: The rise of YouTube and the industry of YouTubers making a living posting video content of themselves talking to their subscribers has created a whole new network of celebeties
  • Mobile Breaks the News: Ever since 2009 when twitter broke the story about US Airways flight 1549 crash landing in the Hudson river we’ve seen more and more amateur reporters live posting news events as they happen

 Short Term Triggers:

  • Facebook Doubling Down on Live: Facebook has poured millions to get key influencers to go live, they’re encouraging users to go live and redesigning their mobile apps to feature live content more seamlessly
  • Twitter Buying Periscope: Twitter bought live-streaming app Periscope and is integrating it directly into its platform

Emerging Expectations:

  • News is Live or It’s Dead: Sharing a documentation of events that already happened isn’t news – it’s history
  • A Tweet Isn’t Enough: Live tweets and photo updates aren’t enough to engage an audience in breaking news- live streaming video is expected to give the audience an immersive experience of what’s happening
  • Real Conversations Happen Live: Customers expect live experiences with brands that create conversations that are engaging, authentic and able to incorporate their questions and feedback

How These Expectations Are Shaping Conversations in Healthcare

Making a Spectacle Out of Surgery

Marketing Objective:

Dr. Shafi Ahmed is a London based surgeon who works at the Center for Academic Surgery at the Royal London Hospital. He is interested in developing new ways to teach and leverage technology in the OR. His goal is to create relevant, engaging content for his students that is educational, cuts out boring sections that lack impact and can be shared with as many people as possible.

Experience Innovation:

Dr. Ahmed was the first surgeon to use Snap Inc.’s Spectacles to showcase his unique first person perspective on a surgery to his students. Spectacles are a wearable camera in the form of sunglasses that enable filming and streaming of video in 10-30 second clips to the Snapchat app. Ahmed used the sunglasses to share a series of video clips that, put together, formed a tutorial for medical students via a Snapchat story.

Ahmed leveraged the platform’s 10-30 second limit on video clips to curate relevant information during the surgery and ignore any portions that weren’t useful.

“It’s like you’re presenting a recipe […] you’re training people in a structured way. [Students] thought the segments worked quite well [given we removed] all the boring bits of the operation that may not have educational value” – Dr. Shafi Ahmed

Keeping the Heart Failure Conversation Live

Marketing Objective:

Novartis has had a hard time marketing Entresto, a heart failure drug approved by the FDA in 2015. Initially some of its marketing drew significant criticism, when it’s first attempt at D2C ads sparked protests from cardiologists and consumers for how it depicted heart failure.

Novartis wanted to re-engage patients and HCPS in a meaningful, more authentic way to amp up the conversation around heart failure and inspire people to make small changes in their daily lives to manage the disease.

Experience Innovation:

As part of their Rise Above Heart Failure campaign, Novartis broadcasted a panel discussion on Facebook Live during World Heart Day in partnership with the American Heart Association. It featured Queen Latifah and Karol E. Watson, co-director of the UCLA Program in Preventive Cardiology.

“We were drawn by the potential of Facebook Live to reach a wide audience in real time, to facilitate live engagement, and to allow on-demand viewing.” – Novartis Spokesperson.

About the Author:

Zach Friedman