Communications Officer
Havas Media Group’s 2023 Reality Check report focuses on today’s consumers who are more empowered than ever, and how ‘trends’ are quickly becoming realities that strategists and marketers must embrace in order to succeed in an increasingly complex world. Seema Patel, Global Managing Director, Mx Intelligence and Anna Sanmiguel, Global Intelligence Director tell Dare! more about this latest report.

What is the process for doing this research and putting the report together?

The process involves research, research, and more research! We compile countless articles and reports to get a foundation and begin to connect the dots on what is relevant and what consumers are truly searching for. We leverage both proprietary reports, like the Prosumer, Meaningful Brands and Resiliency reports, and Havas’ Media Landscape, and we also explore our external trends reports from partners, such as Canvas8 and Foresight Factory, that are released annually.

Once we identify key themes, or in the case of our latest report the ‘Realities’ which surface from the consumer perspective, we dive into work we have done for our clients. We look at case studies to understand the media experiences which have driven the best outcomes and have been the most meaningful for consumers to pinpoint illustrations of our identified themes. For our latest report, ‘2023 Realities Check: From Consumer Trends to Today’s Realities’, we identified over 40 case studies and campaigns from around the globe that supported our findings.

“It is important for brands to know and embrace these ‘Realities’; to not only be competitive in today’s noisy context, but to also engage with consumers in a more meaningful way.”

Why is this research so important?

The way we have navigated the world since the onset of Covid, coupled with the continued chaotic context – political, social, health, economic – in which we live, is redefining the way we navigate the world. It is becoming clear that the behavioral changes we began to see in 2020 are not actually temporary and are here to stay.

Additionally, our research shows that capturing consumer attention and engaging with consumers is increasingly difficult. In fact, our Meaningful Brands data has shown us year after year that people would not care if 75% of brands disappeared. It is important for brands to know and embrace these ‘Realities’; to not only be competitive in today’s noisy context, but to also engage with consumers in a more meaningful way.

Can you highlight some of the key findings from your report?

Our key findings centered around eight consumer ‘Realities’ which brands must address and ACT NOW on.

1. I expect respect + action for us, you, we, me, and ours

Consumers continue to be conscientious of global issues such as inclusivity, sustainability, social equity and diversity, and they also continue to expect action over lip service.

2. I won’t deal with you if I don’t trust you

The ongoing trust gap from years of skepticism around misinformation/ disinformation, data privacy, lack of cybersecurity have led people to take an active role in the handling of their personal data and monitoring algorithms, but have also made them more cautious about who they engage with and how (people, brands, media).

3. I’m here, there, and everywhere

Layering in hybrid & multi-sensory experiences is necessary. Technology is both literally and metaphorically interwoven with the fabric of daily life and with it comes blended everything – home, school, work, shopping, social, telehealth, entertainment – for ALL generations.

4. Tech is my new try before I buy

Brands should be speaking to the growing market of ecommerce, tech and the human touch. There is a desire and expectation for more convenient, holistic, seamless and engaging experiences inclusive of brands, influencers, friends, family and like-minded acquaintances – and technology is central to this.

5. I want it because I couldn’t have it

The Covid lockdown limited and/or deprived the access people had to so many of their daily creature comforts, necessities and desires. People want to have fun and are focusing on the NOW. While financial security might pose an additional challenge to balance against the rising prices and impending recession, not all people are necessarily holding back.

6. My well-being is a priority

Self-care is a priority that has only increased, with personal needs sometimes even taking precedence before family needs. The elevated sense of stress and anxiety, caused by living in a state of ‘constant unknown,’ has created hyper action-oriented awareness towards well-being among people who are making sure that all aspects of themselves and their lives are fully nurtured.

7. Putting myself(s) out there has never been more real

The importance of personal creativity and the expression of brand continues to grow, highlighting the importance of authenticity, identity and self-expression. The brands people use say something about who they are as an individual, hence they carefully choose who they interact with based on transparency, authenticity and shared values.

8. It’s easy to catch my attention, but hard to keep it

Capturing peoples’ attention has become more challenging, and being more mindful and meaningful when engaging continues to be paramount for people as the plethora of media and entertainment content nears saturation point. People are willing to try anything, but ‘sticking around’ is a whole other ball game.

Was there anything that surprised you or that was unexpected?

In terms of anything that we were not expecting, the lack of surprise was surprising! As we begun building the foundation of this report, we saw common themes that have been around for the last few years. The global pandemic changed the world. In 2020, we saw new trends and technologies emerge, but since then we are mostly seeing these same trends intensified or advanced.

Consumers continue to run the show and expect more and more from brands each day. Our reality check deck is just that – we hope nothing was earth shattering or new to anyone in our field. Instead, we wanted to speak to the advancements, offer suggestions on how to address the themes, and most importantly, inspire our team to continue to build meaningful experiences for our clients.

How do you see these trends continuing to evolve?

We believe these realities will continue to intensify as consumers become more empowered, connected and more in control. Consumer expectation for brands to deliver on their promises and move towards visible, tangible action, meeting them on their terms, will only increase. Over the past few years, the world has experienced crisis after crisis – consumers want to take control where they can, and ARE. They want to be the change they see in the world, and they are putting their personal needs first. The key for brands to win and remain relevant will continue to hinge on putting the consumer first and not only listening, but also acting, on their needs.

Click here to read the full report.

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