Design and innovation agency Fjord published Fjord Trends 2018 trends, following the identification seven specific tendencies by 1,000 designers and developers also known as ‘Fjordians,’ from their observations, research and client work, as well as 85 clients.
These predictions are:
1. Physicals fight back. The use of digital as an enabler of physical and sensory experiences.
2. Computers have eyes. With the help of AI, computers can read images and cameras are being built into a greater variety of devices.
3. Slaves to the algorithm. Algorithms are acting as gatekeepers between consumers and brands.
4. A machine’s search for meaning. The rise of artificial intelligence and robots.
5. In transparency we trust. A lot of work will be done using blockchain. Organisations will need to shift emphasis from 'touch points' to 'trust points'.
6. The ethics economy. Organisations have started to take political stances on issues of general concern and this will grow more commonplace, driven by consumers’ and employees’ expectations.
7. Design outside the lines. Designers need to continuously educate themselves and put greater emphasis on design craft to deliver good, affordable digital product.
After analysing these trends, managing director at the design and innovation agency Nandini Nayak said that to stay relevant, brands need to think of ways to incorporate design into their methodology. She said: “It’s very important that brands think from a consumer and human context on how they can continue to evolve their services.”
Elaborating on the first trend, Nayak said: “There’s going to be lots more objects in the environment that are digital, and environments and contexts are going to get digitised.” She highlighted the digitisation of many mirrors in New York clothing stores that give augmented information about the item of apparel that they detect. She said that the advantage physical shops have over e-commerce retail is the immediacy and the fact that people can have a connection to a human who can guide through the process of finding the right item. She added that the human connection turns the service into an experience which cannot be delivered solely digitally.
With specific guidance to marketers, Nayak said they should think more about continuous communication with customers as opposed to just communication in a transactional context.
“It is important to think about what you know about your target audience."
"It's important to think about what you know about your target audience; how do you convert that into intelligence that then can render experiences,” she said. Nayak added that marketers may want to partner with others to render experiences that bring value to the lives of consumers rather than just thinking ‘how do I sell a product?’
"It is all about experience, and a product or service is part of that experience but it is not the only thing."
“That is the important transformation we are seeing. It is all about experience, and a product or service is part of that experience but it is not the only thing,” she said.
Nayak gave the example of a hotel. Those running it could simply see themselves as renting rooms or providing food. However, in order to turn a stay at that hotel into an experience, the hotelier should try to be more supportive of the customer. If the hotelier knows that a guest has lost their luggage and has an important party to attend, they could offer directions to the closest clothes store or procure a representative of that store to visit the guest on premises.
“This type of service gives you a broader playing field by looking from a customer perspective and that allows innovation to happen. We are beginning to see how adjacent services are collaborating with each other to provide that,” she said.
She said that the trends show that a more customer-centric and human-centric view of the world is coming to the fore. Those who do not take this view will be more to the back stage than at the forefront in the lives of consumers and humans, Nayak warned.
"Previous years’ trends are coming to life and more is happening in those spaces."
Nayak concluded by underscoring the accuracy of the trends reports of previous years. She said: “It is a demonstration that previous years’ trends are coming to life and more is happening in those spaces."