Today, 66% of consumers want more meaningful experiences – and understanding this, along with other trends in consumer engagement, is critical to shaping our work in the future. Havas Media Group’s New Rules for Consumer Engagement 2022 Outlook report analyses these trends to help us engage with consumers today and in the future – and we spoke with Seema Patel, Managing Director, Havas Media Group, to learn more.
Can you talk about why this research is so important?
Everything should start and end with the consumer. Understanding why, where and how consumers engage in an increasingly fragmented media landscape and complex world will unlock true engagement. Brands need to understand the way forward with consumers on their terms, in order to create meaningful media experiences that enable long-lasting relationships.
Crucially, post-pandemic, it is no surprise that how consumers engage with the world has evolved at a rapid pace. Consumers are more aware, and in control of their personal being; it’s vital brands make sure they have a finger on the pulse, engaging with consumers in a way that resonates.
Our research gives a deeper understanding of the overarching consumer trends, mindsets and behaviours to ‘level out’ the consumer playing field in 2022, and beyond.
What is the process for doing this research and putting the report together?
As we look for emerging consumer patterns over the past three to five years, the more research we can get our hands on, the better! There are a number of external trend reports released annually which provide a solid foundation to work from.
We combine this with the insights we glean from our internal and external global, cultural and audience tools. We have our major proprietary research which is Meaningful Brands, as well as local, specific research, for example, Covid and post-Covid trackers in the US, Europe and Asia. Our proprietary research effectively rounds out our global understanding of how consumers feel about brands and the state of the world over time. From there we can identify key macro and micro themes.
In this way, we are able to recommend and create media experiences that connect the right people, with the right content, in the right context, with a longer view in mind.
Can you talk about some of the key results? Was there anything that surprised you?
If brands have been staying close to consumers, there should be no surprises. In terms of key results, three macro areas emerged and become a priority for people: Technology; Holistic well-being; and Macro Societal Impact.
During the global pandemic, we saw people becoming more familiar with tech: 71% of people tried a new digital activity in lockdown. This led to expectations for more ‘next-level’ experiences afforded by technology, with people discovering the limitless possibilities it brings.
In terms of mental and digital health, we discovered consumers are taking control of their real life and digital selves. They are more proactive about who they engage with and who engages with them.
Macro Societal Impact
Holistic well-being macro area spills over into Macro Societal Impact. People have gained a greater sense of self, a greater sense of others, and a greater sense of their surroundings and the fragility of the planet and people. Authentic action is taking precedence over ‘lip service’ for the betterment of all – 67% of people are actively trying to have a positive impact on the environment through everyday actions.
In addition to the above macro areas, in our report we also explore six micro, cultural themes: Transformative experiences; Amplified engagement; Physical/Mental health; Digital health; People-Planet-Purpose; Accountability.
If you could give one piece of advice to brands looking to make meaningful connections with consumers, what would it be?
People seek more value and meaning. Consumers expect brands – as well as media publishers and advertisers – to act now! Authentic action drives meaningful experiences. It is paramount for brands to drive value and be values-driven. They must ‘stay in touch’ with their consumers and actively understand how to sense and respond to their evolving needs and expectations.
How do you see consumer engagement evolving in the next 5-10 years? What does the future hold?
The three macro areas and six micro themes we identified in our research are longer-term, and overall, consumers are taking more ownership of their lives. They are more empowered and will not hesitate to speak up if they are unhappy or disappointed.
We see past trends re-surface in a building block fashion, augmenting experiences and normalizing them at the same time; for example, the evolution of the Second Life environment into a metaverse landscape, or cryptocurrency to NFTs.
By contrast, we also know people are checking out, and checking in with themselves and others for their total health and the betterment of all. Both will continue to gain momentum. Against this backdrop, consumers will continue to expect authentic and purposeful action from brands, disengaging with those who they feel are disingenuous.