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Global Digital Partner

Jean-Guillaume Paumier

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Home as a Playground

Home as a Playground

Consumers’ in-home access to experiences has increased exponentially over the last years. While media is the heart of these new immersive moments, advertising sits at the fringes. Many of the ecosystems supporting these experiences were not originally designed to embed advertising, and their business models (e.g., subscriptions, micro transactions, games sales) do not rely on advertising to thrive. This creates a dual challenge for brands. First, to find their place in these environments, they need to develop innovative content-led integrations that add value to platforms without alienating users. Second, as these experiences do not exist in a vacuum, consumers’ expectations do not disappear once they sign out. This increases pressures on brands to elevate their overall marketing effort through a renewed focus on interactivity and experience if they are to build lasting connections. This article is excerpted from the new Vizeum report Future of Home. Download it now for key insights on the trends shaping the home revolution. 1399 Yet, the real revolution is happening on the software side, deeply transforming the way we consume culture. The nearly unlimited access to content offered by video streaming platforms has created new on-demand cultural moments, as illustrated by Netflix’s already iconic Tiger King series. While the recent lockdown seems to have cemented video streaming as a turning point in media consumption, things get even more interesting as streaming's rise in power collides with another steadily growing trend, gaming. The $159 billion a year industry is now looking into cloud computing to fuel its growth, with Google betting big on its Stadia platform. The gaming sector also keeps reimagining how people can make the most of its virtual worlds. For instance, Fortnite's popular Battle Royale game is now hosting live concerts of artists such as Marshmello and Travis Scott. By venturing beyond its original genre, Fortnite has attracted millions of participants looking for new kinds of shared cultural moments. Beyond playing, we also observe that consumer curiosity for personal development in the home environment has become an enduring trend, with professional training available on demand.  1199 As a result of the social distancing measures made necessary by the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the outside entertainment opportunities we were used to, such as cinemas, concerts and sports games, have been cancelled. Consequently, people are looking for entertainment options inside their homes. Fortunately, the new home playground powered by hardware and software has not relegated us to downgraded experiences – quite the opposite. Hardware has traditionally been at the heart of the home experience. Over the last few years, home devices took a giant leap in terms of sophistication (new soundbars like Sonos’ Arc are dynamically tuned to the unique acoustics of rooms) and democratisation (more than 100 million 4K TVs are estimated to have been sold in 2019). But today, technology can do much more than recreating the cinema at home, with the most immersive experiences now starting in the living room. Both Sony's and Microsoft’s next generation consoles, equipped with enhanced specs to render increasingly photorealistic and richer worlds, are expected for the 2020 holiday season. Virtual reality (VR) headset shipments are set to more than quintuple in the next four years, and the technology is gaining traction well beyond its roots in gaming. For instance, in 2019, rugby fans could already enjoy spectacular 360-degree video highlights of the World Cup games.

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Home as a Polymorph

Home as a Polymorph

In other cases, we also see that home is a place to educate, nurture and grow as home schooling and online classes take on new significance in our daily lives during lockdown. Physical health is the most oft-quoted driver of people’s sense of health and wellbeing, and the home is increasingly turning into a place to exercise and heal. Peloton, the fitness company offering gym hardware and online workout classes, more than tripled its number of subscribers over the last two years. The integration of live streaming and social elements has led to rapid developments in replicating the gym experience in the home, from yoga instructors moving their classes online to Joe Wicks, a YouTube fitness instructor dubbed UK’s Physical Education Teacher for leading daily classes for kids to stay in shape at home.   Meet MIRROR., by getthemirror on Vimeo. Consumers’ in-home access to experiences has increased exponentially over the last years. While media is the heart of these new immersive moments, advertising sits at the fringes. Many of the ecosystems supporting these experiences were not originally designed to embed advertising, and their business models (e.g., subscriptions, micro transactions, games sales) do not rely on advertising to thrive. This creates a dual challenge for brands. First, to find their place in these environments, they need to develop innovative content-led integrations that add value to platforms without alienating users. Second, as these experiences do not exist in a vacuum, consumers’ expectations do not disappear once they sign out. This increases pressures on brands to elevate their overall marketing effort through a renewed focus on interactivity and experience if they are to build lasting connections. This article is excerpted from the new Vizeum report Future of Home. Download it now for key insights on the trends shaping the home revolution. 1399 Home is much more than an entertainment hub. It has become a polymorphic space where we work, dine, play, get healthy and replicate outside world experiences. Pandemic confinement accelerated this pre-existing trend, and the home is now under pressure to become the primary – and for many, the only – venue for life’s various activities: work, learning, downtime, shopping, fitness, dining, rest, childcare, socialising, creativity, romance, and cultural nourishment. With the constant need for economical accommodation, particularly in cities, the home has to multitask and be more efficient with space than ever before. Working from home is not a new phenomenon. In 2019, about 27 million Americans[i] and 13 million Europeans[ii] were already working remotely. However, the mass work-from-home experiment due to stay-at-home orders is making it a reality for millions more for the first time, and many companies have been forced to adapt to agile working almost overnight. What does this mean for the future of work? As cloud computing and collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams have enabled many of us to work from home fairly seamlessly, the needs to occupy large costly office space in city centres and business travel are likely to come under scrutiny. After working from home for months, employees will expect flexible working arrangements with the option to work from home and minimise commuting. Home is also a place to pamper, and we expect beauty and care services performed at home to become a fast-growing category. With the rise of platform-based services such as blow LTD and Urban, there is no need to leave home for a haircut, a massage or a manicure. Beauty specialists will come directly to you. While such companies have not reached mass market levels yet, their platform models enable them to better understand their clients' individual wellness needs over time. Consequently, they will probably gain a competitive edge over independent or single-service salons to provide personalised beauty services to consumers.

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Home influencers

Home influencers

Social platforms are extending their reach into commerce journeys to create seamless customer interactions. As the nature of influence is changing, brands need to deeply understand the channels and partnerships that make the most sense to their customers. Designing new engaging and real-time experiences for customers at home will be essential to grow customer loyalty. This article is excerpted from the new Vizeum report Future of Home. Download it now for key insights on the trends shaping the home revolution. Social platforms have opened a very public two-way conversation between brands and consumers. For brands, these channels are the quickest way to reach their audiences without intermediaries. They are also the most natural way to intertwine brands with cultural, political and social discussions happening at any moment. For consumers, social platforms are an easy way to interact with the brands and keep them in check. According to research by Sprout Social, 45% of respondents have already reached out to a company on social and 55% have called out brands on social to get a resolution or response. Yet, social platforms are today much more than an enhanced customer service conduit, they have become a fully-fledged commerce channel, particularly helpful for at-home shopping. In Asia, many consumers are already purchasing within social channels and we believe this trend will continue. In China alone, we expect close to four out of ten people to be social buyers by 2023. Although Western platforms have been trailing behind in the social commerce space, over the last 18 months they have considerably strengthened their capabilities to support end-to-end social shopping experiences. Instagram introduced Checkout, enabling customers to conveniently pay, get delivery notices and save their contact information for future purchases directly within the platform. Since then, the platform announced it is testing the ability for businesses to run their existing shopping posts as ads. Snapchat has also been experimenting with native checkout for some high-profile influencers. By bridging inspiration and transaction without ever leaving the social platform, these features enable a seamless shopping experience. We anticipate a boom in social commerce experiences in future years. According to the adage, everything old is new again – and e-commerce is no exception. The well-known mechanisms of traditional TV shopping channels (e.g., creating a sense of urgency and exclusivity) have found a new home online, with livestreaming and virtual drops turning into the new battlegrounds for exciting younger generations. Once again, Asia leads the world. The gross merchandise volume driven by Taobao Live (Alibaba Group’s livestreaming channel) has grown by about 150% a year for three years straight, and the company plans to host livestreaming sessions from 300,000 merchants per day in 2020. Influencers are a cornerstone of the live shopping success. In China, superhosts grow brands’ heat and sales: Austin Li Jiaqi, known as the Lipstick Brother, reportedly sold 15,000 lipsticks within 15 minutes, and Dong Mingzhu, Chairwoman of Gree Electric, sold more than $42 million of home appliances in one three-hour livestream on video platform Kuaishou. Amazon is also betting big on influencers, recruiting celebrities such as Taylor Swift for its annual Prime Day event and adding livestreaming to its Amazon Influencer Program. Although high-reach livestreaming, unboxing videos and brand collaborations command huge followings online, the most interesting influencer trend may be happening at the one-on-one scale. We've seen an increasing number of brands experimenting with connecting customers at home with their in-store sales assistants. For instance, the technology of the conversational specialist HERO® enables in-store associates to see in real-time what products people are browsing on the brand website and to answer any questions ranging from availability to complementary items to personal advice. Customers are connected to associates from the nearest store, and online sales are attributed to the store associate. In the midst of the pandemic, this type of solution can help brands offer new perspectives to their staff. We believe these local individual connections will grow exponentially in the future.

4 min read