MONDAY 9 JAN 2017 1:49 PM

AWAY FROM ANALOGUE

Throughout 2016, several changes to the media and digital landscape occurred which continue to have repercussions across the wider world. In Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump, social media arguably had a hand in these two most significant political upheavals of a generation. Toward the end of last year, 'fake news’ became a key story, with wider implications on the dissemination of traditional news outlets overall.

Yet digital seemed to do good, too. In UK popular media, the TV drama Humans depicted lifelike humanoids, called Synths, learning to live and work as servants among humankind; virtual reality extended into households and the first self-driving car became a reality.

For digital agency, Code Computerlove, these changes are not too far from the possibilities of what 2017 might entertain in the digital marketing sphere. And, they're not as heavy in doom and gloom as 2016 might suggest. Managing director of Computerlove, Louis Georgiou, says, "Nearing the turn of each year we predict what the major digital trends are likely to be, how the industry is going to change and how businesses and brands can prepare for the 12 months ahead (and beyond).”

"Predicting (and responding to) trends undoubtedly gives brands a competitive edge.  Knowing what’s on the horizon – and using this insight to help shape business strategy – can help organisations exceed consumer expectations, deliver an experience that drives positive reviews and recommendation, and it future proof entire business operations.”

And while personal robot assistants are not yet on the cards, Apple’s Siri and the Alexa voice system created by Amazon Echo provide an affordable alternative. A system of audio recognition is something Code Computerlove predicts will be utilised more by brands in the coming months.

Similarly, another implication on business strategy is predicted to be the increased prevalence of chatbots. Better technology and more mobile digital devices allow brands to utilise them for a more integrated customer experience. It also negates the time limits enforced by shop opening hours, or even social media feeds. The internet of things will also have an impact on immersive customer experiences.

Rather than merely practical changes, however, Code Computerlover has identified what it believes will signal new way of digital thinking in 2017. Georgiou continues, "Whereas in previous years, our predictions have been around digital trends, we can no longer categorise them as such; more and more ‘digital’ trends are actually impacting how companies operate and structure their business. Therefore, this year we are looking at business trends in a digital world."  

This is set to include personalised products and measurement sophisticated enough it can communicate and market directly to the intended customer. Another key change may well be the slimming down of content channels such as Twitter feeds, in order for brands to more succinctly focus on the story they wish to tell.

Overall, Code Computerlove has identified increased innovation as the main driver for digital in 2017. While its impact in 2016 was varied, a plethora of new techniques and campaigns with a more specific focus may help avoid the types of digital fallout which accompanied the year’s most impactful events.

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