What is the future of mobile technology? How is design changing? Who is making the most of social media? These are big questions that face everyone from marketers to designers, business owners to customers. So, as to explore and answer a few of these questions, I have compiled a small list of hot-topic buzzwords that will hopefully help to explain a few of the past, present, and future possibilities and potential leading themes of the graphic design and digital marketing landscape.
Business to Business/Business to Consumer/Human to Human
We are all aware of the traditional B2B marketing and B2C marketing, but as we become more and more of a global market, we are increasingly aware of the power of personal and individually unique interaction with our consumers. The term was coined by social business strategist, and PureMatter CEO Bryan Kramer, who endeavours to help us interact more personally and acceptingly of colleagues and business partners, and in turn to hopefully create more credible relationships.
Evolving interfaces have become an integral part of our world. Smartphones, tablets, Bluetooth devices, smart watches and Google Glasses are all examples of how user interaction has been transported from being an experience that is primarily made for a traditional computer screen, to now being a constant part of our lives, no matter where we are. We are also in the midst of experiencing a rapid introduction into the world of biometrics, with finger print identification and motion sensors being used in multiple commercial projects from online games by the likes of KFC, to Apple’s fingerprint identification function.
Flat design has continued to be a prevalent and popular design technique because of its clean and efficient usability. The shift from 3D elements included in skeuomorphic design gave way to block colours and flat SVG illustrations.
Gamification is the inclusion of gaming elements within a context that they are not normally seen within. The rise in gamification comes hand in hand with the rise of mobile technology and applications. Using this specific kind of technology has encouraged us to be a society in which constant smaller updates trump bigger heavier loads of information. Gamification can be seen day to day in the technology that we use, from the app that tracks your music habits, to the route-planner that maps out your journey in real time.
A prime example of masonary grid design can be seen in the popular image-sharing sitePinterest. The formation of irregular boxes that balance out evenly and fit in a Tetris-esque fashion is a great way of organising a constant stream of image data and has become a popular blogging template format as it runs in parallel with the trend of image-led information gathering.
Social, Local, and Mobile Marketing
SoLoMo primarily revolves around the concept of anticipating a consumers needs, and having a firm grasp of their behavioural patterns based on the collaboration of their social media interaction with a brand, their usage of mobile devices to interact with brands, and locational targeting. Each sector has immense customer conversion on its own, but when used in conjunction with each other, they allow brands to intelligently target, and personally connect with users in a credible and individually tailored experience.
The core principles of metro design runs much the same as its graphic counterpart seen in flat design, apart from the fact that metro design encourages implementation of flat, simplified text language. Also known as “Microsoft Design Language” because of it’s Microsoft origins, it allows users, much like flat design, to gather information and consume data quicker than ever, and continues to gain popularity as a design technique because of this very reason.
Born out of the changes between business/consumer interactions, an omnichannel experience encourages the cohesion between consumer points of contact, to the extent that a user’s interaction with a brand becomes that of a universal experience. Personalised connections, personalised offers and promotions, social activity and investing in customer opinions are all actions that customers expect without hesitation from their brands, and they expect them at every point of contact, whether it is in-store, online, on the move or on the telephone. Customers frequently change pathways when interacting with a brand, jumping from device to device to complete their shopping experience, so a cohesive experience is essential when retaining a client’s attention and potential loyalty.
Return On Investment Vs. Return On Involvement
“Return On Involvement” was term coined by renowned business strategist, business owner, and blogger Henriette Weber, essentially examining a company’s actions, intent, and returns from their management of social media. Key failures often come from the misunderstanding that the primary implementation of social media should be to be social, rather than to be seen on said social media. Return on investment it would seem is the ultimate strategy that holds up many of the other key buzzwords mentioned. Credible investment in your consumers has to be just that, credible. Consumer influence is greater than it has ever been, and it is a necessity to connect on a personal human level. Your involvement has no end-date; it is a continuous experience that will grow your credibility and respect. Establishing policies, educating staff, listening to customers, and evaluating everyone’s experience should be continual objectives. The key realisation may be to remember that your social media in actuality is not about you, it is about your customers, and with that in mind you can more credibly tailor the experience in its entirety.