• author
    • Will Ockenden

    • November 4, 2013 in Opinion

    The future of social media – 5 big trends

    Here at Rinsed we take inspiration from a wide variety of sources. It might be what’s going on in pop culture, music, fashion, a midnight stroll along the beach…you get the idea. We also like to shoot the shit with people who are at the very top of their game, and pick their brains on what’s hot in their particular field.

    GemmaSo we were excited to be able to grab half an hour with the very knowledgeable Executive VP & New York Group head of Social@Ogilvy, Gemma Craven. Gemma is great at what she does and has led the team to great heights for nearly four years, winning countless awards along the way and working with some of the biggest brands in the world.

    That means she really, really knows her stuff when it comes to how businesses are adopting social media and where the market is headed. Naturally we were interested in finding out more, and here’s five of Gemma’s most interesting points. Thanks for the insight Gemma!

    Responsive marketing.

    Social media means that brands can (and indeed have to) respond to the news agenda faster than ever before. So that means bypassing traditional approval channels, sidestepping compliance and making a judgement call on the spur of the moment. Oreos is the master of this, a position confirmed by their now-famous ‘you can still dunk in the dark’ ad that appeared minutes after the Super Bowl power cut earlier in the year.

    Smart community.

    Brands have been building online communities for years now. Great. But what’s more interesting are those that are using their online communities in unusual or unique ways, and putting their fans back in control of a brand’s destiny. Take Kellogg’s; after a tweet from Charlatans lead singer Tim Burgess speculating  the phrase ‘Totes Amazeballs’ sounds like a make of cereal, Kellogg’s decided to actually create it, and release it via social media. Bodyform did it too with the brilliant ‘The Truth’ Youtube video, mocking the man that dared ask why tampon ads always featured lurid blue liquid.

    Data-driven insight.

    More and more brands are getting a handle on how they can use data in new and creative ways. While marketing has always been driven by data, what we’re now seeing is a boom in data visualisation, driven by the wealth of information spewed out of social media. This ranges from highly evolved infographics, such as the ones used to illustrate voting intent on the US elections, through to ‘surprise and delight’ strategies, such as KLM targeting passengers in an airport terminal with bespoke gifts based on their social media preferences. The New York Times and UK Guardian have now even got full-time data journalists, demonstrating the increased focus on this area.


    We’re big fans of this here at Rinsed, and it’s exciting to see more and more brands looking for ways to introduce game play and game mechanics into a non-game context to drive engagement and enjoyment. It might be the Nike Fuel Band, which turns a simple jog into a competition, or it might be the My Starbucks Reward app, where consumers play games via an app to win free coffee. Whatever it is, Gamification represents a broader movement of brands enabling self-improvement every step of the way for the consumer.

    Total brand transparency.

    A final trend we’re seeing is the shift towards total corporate transparency, driven by social media. While social media norms dictate transparency to a degree, it has taken a while for corporations to catch up but we’re finally reaching a tipping point.  Take McDonalds – the whipping boy for fast food culture across the globe. However, not so in Canada, where, the brand decided to tackle this negative sentiment head on, and created the Our Food Your Questions forum, allowing consumers to ask senior level executives anything they wanted. A few years ago the idea of this would be laughed out the boardroom. Not so now in todays’ social media age and we’ll see more brands embrace this new transparency. 

    We would love to know your thoughts on these trends. Are there any that  we have missed?

    Image credit: Jose Maria Cuellar used under Creative Commons