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Predictions 2017
Brexit, Honey G, Trump, Bowie… 2016 was a bit
of an emotional rollercoaster, wasn’t it? To be
honest, we were reticent to think about any sort
of 2017 Predictions at all, given that most of our
forecasting and media monitoring in recent times
has involved simply covering our ears with our
hands and screaming, or just manically muttering
‘ohgodohgodohgod’ while we make another
military-strength coffee.
But we rallied, as is our nature. The perennial
mantra of WWLD (‘What Would Leo Do?’), as
championed relentlessly by Paul ‘Hand-on-the-
tiller’ Lawson, gave us fresh pep and renewed
vigour. Sure, 2016 was a bit of a car crash in
many respects, but there were some positives to
draw. There was… um… well, there was Boaty
McBoatface, and the baffling sight of Ed Balls
dancing, and… OK, that was pretty much it. But
we’re strapping ourselves in for a belter of a 2017,
and we’ve roped in all sorts of clever minds to
outline just how thrilling a year it’s set to be. Let’s
face it, it couldn’t be any worse. The only way is
up, bay-beee…
Daniel Bevis, Senior Knowledge Editor, Leo Burnett London
Predictions 2017 | 2
Bursting Bubbles
2016 was a year of polarising politics. The results of both
the EU Referendum and the Presidential election left
half the world aghast, and the other half saying ‘I told
you so’. It’s raised all kinds of questions about the flow
of information online, and about the way that political
conversations play out on social media.
Filter bubbles have been created by the algorithms
intended to fill social feeds with content that’s more
relevant to users. Often, these feeds are filled with
clickbait headlines that sensationalise stories –
sometimes even getting them wrong – and 59% of
people will share those stories without actually reading
them, with inaccurate stories 90% more likely to be
shared than those that tell the truth. Because rather than
seeking out the truth, confirmation bias means we’re
naturally more likely to be drawn to – and subsequently
like and share – articles that confirm what we already
think we know.
In short, we’ve entered a post-truth era – where emotion
and populism often win out over facts and expert
opinion. And in 2017 – whether by installing desktop
apps that inject newsfeeds with politically opposing
viewpoints, or simply chatting more with senior (and
potentially, a little racist) family members – people will
be looking for ways to burst the bubble.
Safe Havens
Infrared lasers, CCTV and guard dogs –
these are all things that spring to mind
when we talk about home security. But
as everyday items become increasingly
connected, the number of vulnerabilities
the average consumer faces are multiplying
rapidly. In this climate, 45% of Brits and 85%
of Americans harbour concerns over the
Internet of Things – no wonder, given than
70% of connected devices having twenty
flaws apiece.
But while people are concerned about
cybersecurity, they’re also fatigued by the
measures that need to be taken – 80%
of all online security incidents could be
the fault of a weak password, with easy
guesses like ‘123456’ still commonplace.
But with hackers becoming increasingly
sophisticated – and increasingly
newsworthy – concerns are set to spike.
In 2017, people will be paying more attention
to this threat – and maybe even paying a
little cash as well. So whether it’s CUJO – a
‘guard dog’ suited to the smart home – or
PortaPow, which offers ‘USB condoms’ to
protect devices from digital viruses, people
will be seeking cyber reassurance.
Canvas8 Predictions
We’ve been working with Canvas8 for years on our crystal ball-gazing. They style themselves as ‘the
leading authority on consumer behaviour’, and who are we to argue? So we asked them for half a
dozen things to look out for in 2017 – here’s what they came up with:
Predictions 2017 | 3
Side Hustlers
From Etsy stores to YouTube channels, ‘side hustling’
outside of the regular nine-to-five is increasingly
common. With around 70% of people saying they’d
shun traditional companies to work independently, and
a fifth saying they’d quit their jobs to work on their own
projects if they could, it’s easy to assume these people
want to stick it to the man. But in reality, these ventures
offer Gen Yers and Zers an outlet for their creativity, and
a way to add meaning to their lives.
So as more young people choose not to cash in on
creative pursuits, they’re seeking platforms that
encourage and enable it. In 2017, we’re set to see the
ranks of hustlers on platforms like YouTube, Etsy and
Uber swell, we’ll see more platforms pop up to join them,
and we’ll see more social platforms step up to support
them. And no doubt we’ll see a few headlines about the
unlikely millionaires that were made in these pockets of
the internet.
AI Anxieties
When was the last time you checked
your Discover Weekly on Spotify? Got
recommended a book by Amazon? Or asked
Siri a question? AI is already integrated into
the way many of us interact with technology
brands and services on a day-to-day basis.
And it’s only set to become more integrated,
especially given the uptick of AI bots and
automated customer service tools. But
while they serve their purpose concerning
customer enquiries, bots have a lot to learn
– 44% of people wishing their assistants
were better at understanding them, while
28% want to be able to talk to them more
naturally.
While Google has hired comedians to help
ensure its bots are witty and engaging, a
researcher at Carnegie Mellon is designing
a bot that’s smarter, and – in particular
– more relatable. As the presence of AI
grows, we can expect growing pains, and
2017 could well be the year of bots behaving
badly. But we’ll also see designers work to
teach them a thing or two about the art of
conversation.
Predictions 2017 | 4
App Monopolies
Storage real estate is a real thing, and apps are feeling the strain. There might be more than a million of them on the
App Store, but the number of apps people are downloading is on the decline – and 80% of the time people spend
using them is reserved for their favourite three.
The apps people are using are often the most intuitive – 79% of users rank ‘easy to use features’ as the top reason to
engage with an app. As a result, brands are bothering less with their own apps, and moving into existing ones, making
these interactions even easier. It’s why you can check up on your ASOS order via Facebook Messenger, and it’s why
people in Shanghai can pay their taxes on WeChat.
People have long wanted their experience with technology to be a seamless one, but in 2017, that minimalism will
become even more pronounced. The apps people have already downloaded are starting to look the same – Instagram,
Airbnb and Apple Music all boast the same bold headlines, colour-free interfaces and simplistic icons – and we’ll see
more apps join those ranks, while standalone apps will begin to be phased out.
Vertical Viewing
Whether you’re checking out the latest upload of the Mannequin Challenge, last
night’s flurry of Instagram Stories, or catching up on your Stranger Things Netflix
binge, there’s more chance now than ever that you’re doing it from your phone.
Half of YouTube’s traffic is via mobile, and 36% of people consume long-form
content from their phones too.
But phones aren’t designed to be horizontal, and – as a result – neither is a
growing body of video content. Already having been embraced by the millions of
users of portrait-orientated apps like Snapchat and Musical.ly, the format is now
being adopted by advertisers, publications and video content platforms alike.
Given that vertical video ads on Snapchat have up to nine times more completed
views than horizontal video ads, it’s a move that makes sense. Horizontal is so
last year; expect to hear a lot more of that in 2017. With ads and social content
already designed with upright screens in mind, expect to see TV shows – and
maybe even movies – join them.
Predictions 2017 | 5
Progressive Approach to Partnerships
We anticipate 2017 to be a year of progressive, inspirational partnerships between brands and
ambassadors promoting equality and diversity while also blurring the lines between sport, entertainment
and culture.
We have already seen glimpses of brands promoting diversity: Guinness’ compelling campaign around
the Rugby World Cup 2015 with Gareth Thomas, ‘My Story’ was beautifully produced; the former Welsh
Rugby Union player who came out as gay in 2009 highlighted the challenges throughout this journey.
More recently, Nike’s partnership with transgender athlete Chris Mosier resulted in the pioneering
‘Unlimited Courage’ campaign; Mosier is the first transgender athlete to earn a space on the US Men’s
Duathlon team. These two campaigns will pave the way for brands keen to promote the same values.
Partnerships will also continue to blur lines between fashion, sport and music and instead become
‘cultural’ partnerships. In 2016, we witnessed adidas’ partnerships with Stormzy and Pogba become
almost interchangeable as the worlds of British grime and football fused and became intertwined. Their
multi-ambassador campaign ‘First never Follows’, which included the announcement of Paul Pogba
signing for Manchester United, exposed the brand to a hugely increased audience appealing not just to
the football world but to the wider sub culture of UK grime and hip hop.
In summary, 2017 will bring new, innovative partnerships through which we will see brands being bold
and openly tackling taboo themes such as sexuality, gender discrimination and disability whilst also
broadening their reach by pushing themselves into all aspects of popular culture.
Leo Burnett London
Sponsorship Team:
Sponsorship in 2017
Unlike 2016, which included the Olympics and the EUROs, 2017 will not have the same
plethora of high-profile sporting events. So, after the whirlwind of activation creativity
and excitement during 2016, does this mean an uneventful, lacklustre 2017 for sports
sponsorship? Quite the opposite. Without the initial platform of any large-scale events,
brands will have to be increasingly imaginative in order to continue engaging and
entertaining their audiences for successful sponsorship campaigns. Whether targeting
different, lower-profile sporting events, or introducing new and innovative ways to
activate their sponsorships, we will have to see - but here are the top five trends that the
Leo Burnett Sponsorship Team expect to see as we move into the New Year.
Predictions 2017 | 6
Evolution of
the Traditional
Sponsorship Model
This progressive approach to partnerships could also be
reflected in a more progressive approach to the evolving
sponsorship model. The traditional model has always
been based on category exclusivity. Brands pay rights
holders a sponsorship fee for the label “Official Sponsor”
to achieve a positive image transfer (amongst other
things) from the rights holder to the sponsoring brands.
However, in the past year and a half, this model has
come under heavy criticism and sponsors feel that
official sponsor status has become more of a burden
than a benefit. Coke UK’s former marketing director
complained that “the plan that Coca-Cola has in that
period is utterly predictable”. With Coke centring its
marketing activations around its sponsorship of the
world’s biggest sporting events, it has become easy
for competitors to plan their counter-strategy, e.g.
by offering price promotions during the sports-heavy
summer months.
This is inextricably linked to another issue – ambush
marketing. Social media nowadays makes it easier for
competitors and non-sponsoring brands to create a
connection with an event or athlete in the consumers’
eyes without any official affiliation. Additionally,
rights holders are caught in a complex playing field of
conflicting interests – athletes, federations, and media –
and find it increasingly difficult to protect their partners
from ambush. In fact, several sponsors have announced
they will review their sponsorship commitment of the
Olympics in light of a relaxation of advertising rules.
Armed with insights from two mega-events in 2016,
rights holders will need to address these fundamental
issues with the traditional sponsorship model. Ultimately,
they will need to work harder to provide protection
to their partners as traditional Official Sponsor
designations fall short. Rather, rights holders will need
to open up and provide sponsors with exclusive content
and other money-can’t-buy opportunities. This trend will
probably start to take shape in 2017 with the first effects
felt at the Olympic Winter Games and FIFA World Cup
in 2018.
Predictions 2017 | 7
How Technology
is Changing the
Fan Experience
On the theme of money-can’t-buy opportunities, the fan experience
is undergoing a huge transformation at the moment. Not too long
ago, the fan experience meant going to the match or, more often,
screaming at the players on your 4K Ultra HD Smart TV. Now
however, whether you’re at home or in the stadium, technology is
making watching a game much more of an active experience.
Stadia are increasingly partnering with giants of the technology
sphere to immerse consumers into the sporting experience and
boost attendance at games. The Levi’s stadium for example, home
of the San Francisco 49ers, has over 400 miles of fibre-optic cable
with 680 Wi-Fi access points, meaning fans can access a 40 gigabit-
per-second broadband network that is roughly 10,000 times faster
than at home. Fans can therefore enjoy the atmosphere of being at
the game, without missing out on all the stats, replays, and info they
would get on their own sofa.
Dedicated apps for onsite use, like ordering food from your seats,
or even upgrading your seats mid-game to get a better view, are
becoming more common, and giving pure-tech companies like
IBM, Cisco, and AT&T the chance to enhance fans’ engagement,
entertainment, and match-day experiences away from the living room.
Back from the pond, EE’s partnership with Wembley is of a similar
ilk, allowing fans to design and creatively light up the arch, and
providing free Wi-Fi in the stadium. However, it still has some way to
go to match the level of fan engagement that is on show in the USA.
For 2017, expect to see VR lounges, iBeacons to better navigate
inside stadia to find exclusive on-site deals, and mobile apps with AR
for personalised team content, not to mention the ability to order
your half-time pies or upgrade your seats here in the UK. Get ready
for the next level of fantertainment.
The Rise of
Social Broadcasting
As the fan experience changes, so will the way consumers actually
watch content. Live Broadcasting has become increasingly
prominent and is now a feature on both Twitter and Facebook as they
continue to modernise to compete with newly developed apps such
as Periscope. The development of this functionality also enables
them to engage users directly on their platforms and remain relevant.
As an example of this direct engagement, former U.S. Men’s soccer
National Team coach Jürgen Klinsmann used Facebook Live to
have an open discussion with fans about their World Cup qualifying
campaign while England Rugby used it to interview players at half-
time during the Autumn Internationals.
While having an open communication channel with users is an
integral feature, the upcoming trend is the live-streaming of events,
i.e. social media broadcasting. Twitter have stated that they will
focus on broadcasting sport, entertainment and politics, with
the aim of increasing engagement on their platform. Again, Live
Broadcasting challenges the traditional broadcast and sponsorship
models of sports, indeed, the social media platforms have been
pitted against each other to bid for broadcasting rights. The most
recent success stories highlight Twitter and their partnership with
the NFL to show Thursday Night (American) football whilst YouTube
Live signed a deal to live-stream the UEFA Champions League finals
in partnership with BT Sport.	
The partnership between YouTube Live and BT Sport illustrates a
trend for next year; broadcasters looking to modernise their offering
both to remain commercial and adapt to the growing number of
typically younger sports fans who watch their sports online.
Additionally however, as younger audiences start to defer their
attention away from traditional sports and towards e-sports,
broadcasters will need to adapt accordingly. Rights holders and
broadcasters have spotted this growth area and many have already
invested in professional e-sports teams and competitions in an
attempt to try and keep up; another behavioural trend to look out for
in 2017.
Expect Big
Sponsorship Moves
and Innovative
Activations from
Wearable Tech Brands
It’s not just broadcast technology that’s evolving,
wearable technology is also developing at an incredible
rate. As the wearables market continues to grow, with
its market value forecast to hit $100 billion by 2020, we
predict that wearable tech brands and products will
be leveraging major sports sponsorship opportunities
in 2017 once they have more marketing dollars and
a greater need for both differentiation and engaging
activation opportunities.
In today’s world, sports fans, broadcasters and clubs
live and breathe statistics and it has become more
important than ever to record an increasingly in-depth
variety of facts and figures. Any brand that is able to
facilitate data-capture and showcase their technologies
in the right way is on to a winning formula, especially if
it is adding value to the consumer experience. Imagine
if you got to compare your stats or workouts with how
your heroes lived, trained or performed; allowing a
fan to scrutinise their own physical activity with the
benchmark of a professional would be an enthralling
and motivating concept. Currently, you can only do
this type of comparison at a very top-line level, and it
would be fascinating to get into the nitty, gritty stats
that this technology can record. A partnership deal with
a high-profile brand or event could offer wearable tech
companies the opportunity to publicise the impressive
output of their products alongside some of the greatest
athletes in the world.
Although we have seen some of the big players such as
Fitbit, Jawbone and Garmin use sponsorship extensively
over the last couple of years by partnering with
marathons, obstacle courses, NBA teams, the X Factor
and recently delving into the eSports world, we are
predicting that there will be some very high-profile deals
and fantastic activations in the pipeline for 2017.
Predictions 2017 | 8
Frictionless
Commerce
It’s clear that when paying for certain things,
we want it to be as easy as tapping a card
to ride the Tube or donate to charity (Breast
Cancer Care), tweet an emoji to order a
pizza (Dominos) or, as Amazon Go promises,
add items shopped in their real stores to
our account, bypassing the shop checkout
entirely, relying instead on AI to monitor
behaviour. As McDonald’s moves towards
kiosk-based ordering, bots act as personal
shoppers, and Google allows you to get
real time information on its Popular Times
app so you can avoid the queue, it is clear
that successful retailers will continue to
remove barriers (and the associated costs)
to purchase.
Personalisation
In a year when programmatic marketing was alternately
the darling of the industry or just problematic, it was
interesting to see it extend into the retail space. At
FutureShop we demonstrated IBM Watson’s AI solution
that allows retailers to tailor POS messages to the
shopper – by gender, age, or even mood. We also
explored ways that shoppers can use their own social
profiles to help stores curate solutions for them – from
clothes in your Pinterest colour palette for Top Shop to
T-shirts to match your mood in Uniqlo. This approach
puts the shopper in control by helping them make
choices rather than risking the feeling of being stalked
by a machine.
Retail Technology
Predictions
Following the success of FutureShop in the summer of 2016, our shopper practice – Arc
- have been looking at emerging retail trends, and identified those which are most likely
to impact the retail experience in 2017. We also predict that FutureShop will take place
again in June 2017, so watch this space for details…
Ian Thomas, Managing Director, Arc London
Predictions 2017 | 9
Technology with Utility
As VR and AR moved into the mainstream it has been easy to argue that much technology
in retail has been for the sake of it. But where it is applied well it can deliver real benefits to
shoppers, such as getting them to ‘try on’ their products without actually having to use them.
From virtual changing rooms, interactive mirrors or the ability to virtually try on make-up
before committing to a purchase, through to Ikea’s VR showroom that allows you to walk
around your new kitchen before it has been bought.
Low cost additions like ThinFilm labels have enabled any product to become ‘smart’, so that
users don’t need to download an app to access the additional benefits or content that the
brand wants to offer buyers.
Location
Mobile devices are being used on more
shopping missions now, not just for
ecommerce purchases. When this is
combined with smart objects and access
to more data, location is becoming one of
the most important criteria in influencing
how shoppers navigate various categories.
Brands can now connect immediately based
on proximity; from retail apps that help
navigate the shopper around a category
(Clinique) or store (Macy’s), to finding where
to watch the match in a pub near you tonight
(Match Pint), through to fashion brands that
allow you to see what’s trending in your area
(The Outnet), we are only seeing the tip of
the iceberg of what’s possible in converting
shoppers close to the point of purchase.
Social Currency
As many social platforms introduce
shoppable content and buy buttons, social
media has become an integral part of the
buying process. And shoppers continue to
share good (and bad) experiences online as
well as generating wish lists. Retailers are
developing experiences that can be shared
socially, and most experiential campaigns
now include a shareable component - our
own McDonald’s Christmas Tray Liner is a
case in point. Companies like Olapic allow
brands to harness this by incorporating
these social posts into the brand website
and making them shoppable to other users.
Predictions 2017 | 10
The Sweet
Hereafter
Ahead of the UK’s April 2018 sugar tax,
international soft drinks brands are already
scrambling to reformulate and innovate,
with AG Barr being one example, launching
its sugar-free Irn-Bru XTRA in August 2016.
While the British Soft Drinks Association
boasts its members have already cut sugar
in their products by 13.6% since 2012, they
are going to have to go further. The tax itself
targets imports or production of high-sugar
soft drinks across two bands – one for total
sugar content above 5g per 100 millilitres
(at a likely 18p per litre) and a second for
those with more than 8g per 100 millilitres
(at a likely 24p per litre). Pure fruit juices
and milk-based drinks will be excluded, as
will the smallest producers. The avowed
aim is to reduce obesity and specifically its
£5 billion a year cost to the NHS, with the
UK government saying that the estimated
£520 million in revenue will go towards
encouraging sports participation in primary
schools. Beyond the UK, more and more
governments are concerned about obesity’s
financial hit on public health services. While
they will be taking an interest in the levy’s
effectiveness in health, more brands across
Europe will consider this as a portent for a
need to reformulate not just carbonated soft
drinks but also other high-sugar products in
other sectors.
Airpocalypse Now
Consumers are wising up to the killer in their midst, with
the World Health Organization reporting that 4.3 million
deaths occur each year from exposure to household
(indoor) air pollution and 3.7 million deaths each year are
attributable to outdoor air pollution. What’s more, this
isn’t unique to Asia: air pollution kills 48,000 people in
France, 9,500 Londoners, and 400,000 across Europe
every year. We expect European consumers to follow
China’s lead. Mintel research reveals that ownership of
masks (83%) and air purifiers (56%) is a major concern
in China and that using houseplants (52%) and air
quality index monitoring (33%) to counter pollution is
commonplace behaviour. Meanwhile, in France, 41% of
consumers agree that the environment (e.g. pollution)
affects skin, followed by 37% in Italy, 35% in Germany
and 28% in Spain. Ahead of the first statistical stocktake
in 2018, European governments will start implementing
some of the actions called for by the Paris climate
summit. This will include ‘urban greening’ plantation
programmes, clamping down on older vehicles and
incentivising e-cars and construction programmes using
building materials that chemically counter pollution.
The continued lobbying of governments by Greenpeace
to take more drastic, more immediate action with very
public campaigns will also educate consumers about the
dangers and the protective products they can purchase.
In London, for example, a £10 emissions surcharge on
the bulk of pre-2006 registered vehicles entering the
city centre is being proposed for 2017, but lobbyists
are pushing for an outright ban on diesel vehicles in the
most polluted areas. In Paris, the action has been more
stringent and urgent: as of July 2016 any car registered
before 1 January 1997 has been banned from the entire
city’s streets in the week between the hours of 8am and
8pm. Norway has gone even further, banning the sale of
all fossil-fuel-based cars by 2025.
Mintel – Europe 2017
‘Change is good: see it coming and react first.’ Wise words from Mintel there.
So, what do they reckon we’ve got coming in 2017…?
Predictions 2017 | 11
Ascending Africa
In 2017, Europe will start to buy into
and reach out to the benefits of Africa’s
growing middle class and rapidly improving
connectivity, which is helping people access
credit to start up their own businesses.
A host of factors are raising Africa’s
prospects, including its youthfulness
(65% of the population is under the age
of 35 according to the UN), its growing
independence (annual cereal output growth
has exceeded 3% for a decade, according to
the UN Food and Agriculture Organization,
while ex-pat remittances exceed foreign aid,
says the World Bank) and its burgeoning
middle class (The Economist has estimated
that 15% live in households with incomes
of $5,500 or more). Mintel Global New
Products Database (GNPD) highlights that
between 2011 and 2015 the percentage of
food and drink products launched globally
containing an African ingredient increased
by 41%. If African exporters and brands
can successfully mobilise, there is strong
potential to appeal to youthful, premium,
artisan, ethical European markets in
food and beauty. In the UK, some 48% of
consumers aged 25–34 say companies’
ethics and behaviour have an impact on
their purchasing decisions but they need
convincing of credibility. Meanwhile, around
half (52%) of UK consumers would only
pay more for ethical products if they knew
where the extra money went.
Predictions 2017 | 12
Right Here, Right Now
Pokémon GO’s widespread popularity, coupled with further
improvements in geolocation and beacon technology, will have
a knock-on effect on how people interact with their immediate
surroundings and how they search for things to do and buy at any
given moment. Brands can alert users to sales or special offers
curated just for them or leisure events happening in the here and
now. This provides businesses with a positive, serendipitous way
to offer deals, something that will appeal as economies across the
Euro region remain shaky. Mintel’s data states that in the UK 29%
of millennials would be happy to share their real-time location with
brands they like in exchange for nearby offers. Beacon technology
is becoming more powerful and pervasive: launched in August
2016, French app Yatù allows users who have opted in to chat with
retailers, view stock levels, order products and receive offers up
to 5km away in their local area. According to Mintel, this has the
potential to appeal to the 27% of UK, 21% of Spanish, 20% of Italian,
13% of German and 12% of French consumers who have bought
luxury branded items in the past 18 months and would be interested
in smartphone marketing relevant to them and their location at the time.
Seamless Spending
Growing consumer confidence in technology born
of familiarity, along with technological advances
and product launches, will increase adoption. Mintel
research reveals that 30% of UK consumers already
feel comfortable about the potential for a completely
cashless society, while 29% say that it is more
convenient to pay for things using a smartphone than
other payment methods. In its second year of operation,
Apple Pay will begin to gain greater traction (naysayers
should remember that contactless took six years to
catch on!) after its one-click payment services have been
rolled out to any device running on the Safari browser
in the autumn of 2016. Meanwhile, Android Pay is also
growing in popularity and practicality, thanks to the
fact that 40% of smartphones now have an NFC chip,
according to Barclaycard, and also due to the incentives
offered by its ‘Android Pay Day’ discount schemes.
Innovating a step further, Vodafone has announced a
partnership with PayPal to allow users with Android
devices to make contactless payments from their PayPal
account even when the phone is switched off or out
of battery – a feature achieved by embedding NFC
technology into the SIM rather than the handset.
Predictions 2017 | 13
Talking Shop
Social media platforms are growing in popularity as secure and
trustworthy communication channels connecting brands and
consumers. As of July 2016, over one billion messages were being
sent between people and businesses on Facebook Messenger
every month across the globe. Mintel research reveals the extent
of the popularity of social networks across Europe, showing that
social networks are used by just under half (47%) of the European
population weekly and the region has 393 million active social
media users. The importance of social media in customer services
cannot be underestimated. According to Mintel, a quarter of French
consumers would like to be able to chat with a customer service
advisor using social media; this rises to half of Italian consumers.
Meanwhile, in Italy, 59% of consumers say they would like to be
able to contact customer service through an instant messenger,
while in Germany 24% of consumers would like to be able to use an
instant messenger service to contact a customer advisor online. As
such, brands are looking to take customer service in-house: firstly
to avoid the damaging public glare and secondly to nurture closer
relationships and greater customer loyalty. Following WhatsApp’s
introduction of end-to-end encryption and Facebook Messenger’s
trial of similarly encrypted ‘secret conversations’ since July
2016, consumer confidence in sharing sensitive information with
companies via messaging apps will grow. And this is something
consumers are seeking: Mintel finds 43% of consumers in the
Republic of Ireland and 41% of consumers in Northern Ireland say
that raising issues with a company via social media is more effective
than contacting it directly, while 27% of UK consumers say they
would find it useful if they could contact brands via messaging apps,
e.g. WhatsApp. This will be stimulated by the fact that Facebook’s
Messenger Platform – an application programming interface
(API) – will give any third party the opportunity to develop its own
chatbots (automated programs that can chat to users in a humanlike
way) for Messenger. Away from transactional or data exchanges,
we will also expect campaigns on Snapchat to grow and develop
further beyond Sponsored Lenses (where users can overlay official
branded animations on their selfies) and Geofilters (custom filters
that are available based on a user’s location), especially following
the launch of Snapchat Partners in June 2016. This API connects
brands with tech developers making it easier for brands to buy ads as
well as optimise and analyse campaigns. Advertising will be further
integrated into the platform following a raft of new developments
which will allow brands to insert ads between video content (Stories)
posted by a user’s friends.

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2017 Predictions: Bursting Bubbles, Side Hustlers & Vertical Video

  • 2. Brexit, Honey G, Trump, Bowie… 2016 was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, wasn’t it? To be honest, we were reticent to think about any sort of 2017 Predictions at all, given that most of our forecasting and media monitoring in recent times has involved simply covering our ears with our hands and screaming, or just manically muttering ‘ohgodohgodohgod’ while we make another military-strength coffee. But we rallied, as is our nature. The perennial mantra of WWLD (‘What Would Leo Do?’), as championed relentlessly by Paul ‘Hand-on-the- tiller’ Lawson, gave us fresh pep and renewed vigour. Sure, 2016 was a bit of a car crash in many respects, but there were some positives to draw. There was… um… well, there was Boaty McBoatface, and the baffling sight of Ed Balls dancing, and… OK, that was pretty much it. But we’re strapping ourselves in for a belter of a 2017, and we’ve roped in all sorts of clever minds to outline just how thrilling a year it’s set to be. Let’s face it, it couldn’t be any worse. The only way is up, bay-beee… Daniel Bevis, Senior Knowledge Editor, Leo Burnett London Predictions 2017 | 2
  • 3. Bursting Bubbles 2016 was a year of polarising politics. The results of both the EU Referendum and the Presidential election left half the world aghast, and the other half saying ‘I told you so’. It’s raised all kinds of questions about the flow of information online, and about the way that political conversations play out on social media. Filter bubbles have been created by the algorithms intended to fill social feeds with content that’s more relevant to users. Often, these feeds are filled with clickbait headlines that sensationalise stories – sometimes even getting them wrong – and 59% of people will share those stories without actually reading them, with inaccurate stories 90% more likely to be shared than those that tell the truth. Because rather than seeking out the truth, confirmation bias means we’re naturally more likely to be drawn to – and subsequently like and share – articles that confirm what we already think we know. In short, we’ve entered a post-truth era – where emotion and populism often win out over facts and expert opinion. And in 2017 – whether by installing desktop apps that inject newsfeeds with politically opposing viewpoints, or simply chatting more with senior (and potentially, a little racist) family members – people will be looking for ways to burst the bubble. Safe Havens Infrared lasers, CCTV and guard dogs – these are all things that spring to mind when we talk about home security. But as everyday items become increasingly connected, the number of vulnerabilities the average consumer faces are multiplying rapidly. In this climate, 45% of Brits and 85% of Americans harbour concerns over the Internet of Things – no wonder, given than 70% of connected devices having twenty flaws apiece. But while people are concerned about cybersecurity, they’re also fatigued by the measures that need to be taken – 80% of all online security incidents could be the fault of a weak password, with easy guesses like ‘123456’ still commonplace. But with hackers becoming increasingly sophisticated – and increasingly newsworthy – concerns are set to spike. In 2017, people will be paying more attention to this threat – and maybe even paying a little cash as well. So whether it’s CUJO – a ‘guard dog’ suited to the smart home – or PortaPow, which offers ‘USB condoms’ to protect devices from digital viruses, people will be seeking cyber reassurance. Canvas8 Predictions We’ve been working with Canvas8 for years on our crystal ball-gazing. They style themselves as ‘the leading authority on consumer behaviour’, and who are we to argue? So we asked them for half a dozen things to look out for in 2017 – here’s what they came up with: Predictions 2017 | 3
  • 4. Side Hustlers From Etsy stores to YouTube channels, ‘side hustling’ outside of the regular nine-to-five is increasingly common. With around 70% of people saying they’d shun traditional companies to work independently, and a fifth saying they’d quit their jobs to work on their own projects if they could, it’s easy to assume these people want to stick it to the man. But in reality, these ventures offer Gen Yers and Zers an outlet for their creativity, and a way to add meaning to their lives. So as more young people choose not to cash in on creative pursuits, they’re seeking platforms that encourage and enable it. In 2017, we’re set to see the ranks of hustlers on platforms like YouTube, Etsy and Uber swell, we’ll see more platforms pop up to join them, and we’ll see more social platforms step up to support them. And no doubt we’ll see a few headlines about the unlikely millionaires that were made in these pockets of the internet. AI Anxieties When was the last time you checked your Discover Weekly on Spotify? Got recommended a book by Amazon? Or asked Siri a question? AI is already integrated into the way many of us interact with technology brands and services on a day-to-day basis. And it’s only set to become more integrated, especially given the uptick of AI bots and automated customer service tools. But while they serve their purpose concerning customer enquiries, bots have a lot to learn – 44% of people wishing their assistants were better at understanding them, while 28% want to be able to talk to them more naturally. While Google has hired comedians to help ensure its bots are witty and engaging, a researcher at Carnegie Mellon is designing a bot that’s smarter, and – in particular – more relatable. As the presence of AI grows, we can expect growing pains, and 2017 could well be the year of bots behaving badly. But we’ll also see designers work to teach them a thing or two about the art of conversation. Predictions 2017 | 4
  • 5. App Monopolies Storage real estate is a real thing, and apps are feeling the strain. There might be more than a million of them on the App Store, but the number of apps people are downloading is on the decline – and 80% of the time people spend using them is reserved for their favourite three. The apps people are using are often the most intuitive – 79% of users rank ‘easy to use features’ as the top reason to engage with an app. As a result, brands are bothering less with their own apps, and moving into existing ones, making these interactions even easier. It’s why you can check up on your ASOS order via Facebook Messenger, and it’s why people in Shanghai can pay their taxes on WeChat. People have long wanted their experience with technology to be a seamless one, but in 2017, that minimalism will become even more pronounced. The apps people have already downloaded are starting to look the same – Instagram, Airbnb and Apple Music all boast the same bold headlines, colour-free interfaces and simplistic icons – and we’ll see more apps join those ranks, while standalone apps will begin to be phased out. Vertical Viewing Whether you’re checking out the latest upload of the Mannequin Challenge, last night’s flurry of Instagram Stories, or catching up on your Stranger Things Netflix binge, there’s more chance now than ever that you’re doing it from your phone. Half of YouTube’s traffic is via mobile, and 36% of people consume long-form content from their phones too. But phones aren’t designed to be horizontal, and – as a result – neither is a growing body of video content. Already having been embraced by the millions of users of portrait-orientated apps like Snapchat and Musical.ly, the format is now being adopted by advertisers, publications and video content platforms alike. Given that vertical video ads on Snapchat have up to nine times more completed views than horizontal video ads, it’s a move that makes sense. Horizontal is so last year; expect to hear a lot more of that in 2017. With ads and social content already designed with upright screens in mind, expect to see TV shows – and maybe even movies – join them. Predictions 2017 | 5
  • 6. Progressive Approach to Partnerships We anticipate 2017 to be a year of progressive, inspirational partnerships between brands and ambassadors promoting equality and diversity while also blurring the lines between sport, entertainment and culture. We have already seen glimpses of brands promoting diversity: Guinness’ compelling campaign around the Rugby World Cup 2015 with Gareth Thomas, ‘My Story’ was beautifully produced; the former Welsh Rugby Union player who came out as gay in 2009 highlighted the challenges throughout this journey. More recently, Nike’s partnership with transgender athlete Chris Mosier resulted in the pioneering ‘Unlimited Courage’ campaign; Mosier is the first transgender athlete to earn a space on the US Men’s Duathlon team. These two campaigns will pave the way for brands keen to promote the same values. Partnerships will also continue to blur lines between fashion, sport and music and instead become ‘cultural’ partnerships. In 2016, we witnessed adidas’ partnerships with Stormzy and Pogba become almost interchangeable as the worlds of British grime and football fused and became intertwined. Their multi-ambassador campaign ‘First never Follows’, which included the announcement of Paul Pogba signing for Manchester United, exposed the brand to a hugely increased audience appealing not just to the football world but to the wider sub culture of UK grime and hip hop. In summary, 2017 will bring new, innovative partnerships through which we will see brands being bold and openly tackling taboo themes such as sexuality, gender discrimination and disability whilst also broadening their reach by pushing themselves into all aspects of popular culture. Leo Burnett London Sponsorship Team: Sponsorship in 2017 Unlike 2016, which included the Olympics and the EUROs, 2017 will not have the same plethora of high-profile sporting events. So, after the whirlwind of activation creativity and excitement during 2016, does this mean an uneventful, lacklustre 2017 for sports sponsorship? Quite the opposite. Without the initial platform of any large-scale events, brands will have to be increasingly imaginative in order to continue engaging and entertaining their audiences for successful sponsorship campaigns. Whether targeting different, lower-profile sporting events, or introducing new and innovative ways to activate their sponsorships, we will have to see - but here are the top five trends that the Leo Burnett Sponsorship Team expect to see as we move into the New Year. Predictions 2017 | 6
  • 7. Evolution of the Traditional Sponsorship Model This progressive approach to partnerships could also be reflected in a more progressive approach to the evolving sponsorship model. The traditional model has always been based on category exclusivity. Brands pay rights holders a sponsorship fee for the label “Official Sponsor” to achieve a positive image transfer (amongst other things) from the rights holder to the sponsoring brands. However, in the past year and a half, this model has come under heavy criticism and sponsors feel that official sponsor status has become more of a burden than a benefit. Coke UK’s former marketing director complained that “the plan that Coca-Cola has in that period is utterly predictable”. With Coke centring its marketing activations around its sponsorship of the world’s biggest sporting events, it has become easy for competitors to plan their counter-strategy, e.g. by offering price promotions during the sports-heavy summer months. This is inextricably linked to another issue – ambush marketing. Social media nowadays makes it easier for competitors and non-sponsoring brands to create a connection with an event or athlete in the consumers’ eyes without any official affiliation. Additionally, rights holders are caught in a complex playing field of conflicting interests – athletes, federations, and media – and find it increasingly difficult to protect their partners from ambush. In fact, several sponsors have announced they will review their sponsorship commitment of the Olympics in light of a relaxation of advertising rules. Armed with insights from two mega-events in 2016, rights holders will need to address these fundamental issues with the traditional sponsorship model. Ultimately, they will need to work harder to provide protection to their partners as traditional Official Sponsor designations fall short. Rather, rights holders will need to open up and provide sponsors with exclusive content and other money-can’t-buy opportunities. This trend will probably start to take shape in 2017 with the first effects felt at the Olympic Winter Games and FIFA World Cup in 2018. Predictions 2017 | 7 How Technology is Changing the Fan Experience On the theme of money-can’t-buy opportunities, the fan experience is undergoing a huge transformation at the moment. Not too long ago, the fan experience meant going to the match or, more often, screaming at the players on your 4K Ultra HD Smart TV. Now however, whether you’re at home or in the stadium, technology is making watching a game much more of an active experience. Stadia are increasingly partnering with giants of the technology sphere to immerse consumers into the sporting experience and boost attendance at games. The Levi’s stadium for example, home of the San Francisco 49ers, has over 400 miles of fibre-optic cable with 680 Wi-Fi access points, meaning fans can access a 40 gigabit- per-second broadband network that is roughly 10,000 times faster than at home. Fans can therefore enjoy the atmosphere of being at the game, without missing out on all the stats, replays, and info they would get on their own sofa. Dedicated apps for onsite use, like ordering food from your seats, or even upgrading your seats mid-game to get a better view, are becoming more common, and giving pure-tech companies like IBM, Cisco, and AT&T the chance to enhance fans’ engagement, entertainment, and match-day experiences away from the living room. Back from the pond, EE’s partnership with Wembley is of a similar ilk, allowing fans to design and creatively light up the arch, and providing free Wi-Fi in the stadium. However, it still has some way to go to match the level of fan engagement that is on show in the USA. For 2017, expect to see VR lounges, iBeacons to better navigate inside stadia to find exclusive on-site deals, and mobile apps with AR for personalised team content, not to mention the ability to order your half-time pies or upgrade your seats here in the UK. Get ready for the next level of fantertainment.
  • 8. The Rise of Social Broadcasting As the fan experience changes, so will the way consumers actually watch content. Live Broadcasting has become increasingly prominent and is now a feature on both Twitter and Facebook as they continue to modernise to compete with newly developed apps such as Periscope. The development of this functionality also enables them to engage users directly on their platforms and remain relevant. As an example of this direct engagement, former U.S. Men’s soccer National Team coach Jürgen Klinsmann used Facebook Live to have an open discussion with fans about their World Cup qualifying campaign while England Rugby used it to interview players at half- time during the Autumn Internationals. While having an open communication channel with users is an integral feature, the upcoming trend is the live-streaming of events, i.e. social media broadcasting. Twitter have stated that they will focus on broadcasting sport, entertainment and politics, with the aim of increasing engagement on their platform. Again, Live Broadcasting challenges the traditional broadcast and sponsorship models of sports, indeed, the social media platforms have been pitted against each other to bid for broadcasting rights. The most recent success stories highlight Twitter and their partnership with the NFL to show Thursday Night (American) football whilst YouTube Live signed a deal to live-stream the UEFA Champions League finals in partnership with BT Sport. The partnership between YouTube Live and BT Sport illustrates a trend for next year; broadcasters looking to modernise their offering both to remain commercial and adapt to the growing number of typically younger sports fans who watch their sports online. Additionally however, as younger audiences start to defer their attention away from traditional sports and towards e-sports, broadcasters will need to adapt accordingly. Rights holders and broadcasters have spotted this growth area and many have already invested in professional e-sports teams and competitions in an attempt to try and keep up; another behavioural trend to look out for in 2017. Expect Big Sponsorship Moves and Innovative Activations from Wearable Tech Brands It’s not just broadcast technology that’s evolving, wearable technology is also developing at an incredible rate. As the wearables market continues to grow, with its market value forecast to hit $100 billion by 2020, we predict that wearable tech brands and products will be leveraging major sports sponsorship opportunities in 2017 once they have more marketing dollars and a greater need for both differentiation and engaging activation opportunities. In today’s world, sports fans, broadcasters and clubs live and breathe statistics and it has become more important than ever to record an increasingly in-depth variety of facts and figures. Any brand that is able to facilitate data-capture and showcase their technologies in the right way is on to a winning formula, especially if it is adding value to the consumer experience. Imagine if you got to compare your stats or workouts with how your heroes lived, trained or performed; allowing a fan to scrutinise their own physical activity with the benchmark of a professional would be an enthralling and motivating concept. Currently, you can only do this type of comparison at a very top-line level, and it would be fascinating to get into the nitty, gritty stats that this technology can record. A partnership deal with a high-profile brand or event could offer wearable tech companies the opportunity to publicise the impressive output of their products alongside some of the greatest athletes in the world. Although we have seen some of the big players such as Fitbit, Jawbone and Garmin use sponsorship extensively over the last couple of years by partnering with marathons, obstacle courses, NBA teams, the X Factor and recently delving into the eSports world, we are predicting that there will be some very high-profile deals and fantastic activations in the pipeline for 2017. Predictions 2017 | 8
  • 9. Frictionless Commerce It’s clear that when paying for certain things, we want it to be as easy as tapping a card to ride the Tube or donate to charity (Breast Cancer Care), tweet an emoji to order a pizza (Dominos) or, as Amazon Go promises, add items shopped in their real stores to our account, bypassing the shop checkout entirely, relying instead on AI to monitor behaviour. As McDonald’s moves towards kiosk-based ordering, bots act as personal shoppers, and Google allows you to get real time information on its Popular Times app so you can avoid the queue, it is clear that successful retailers will continue to remove barriers (and the associated costs) to purchase. Personalisation In a year when programmatic marketing was alternately the darling of the industry or just problematic, it was interesting to see it extend into the retail space. At FutureShop we demonstrated IBM Watson’s AI solution that allows retailers to tailor POS messages to the shopper – by gender, age, or even mood. We also explored ways that shoppers can use their own social profiles to help stores curate solutions for them – from clothes in your Pinterest colour palette for Top Shop to T-shirts to match your mood in Uniqlo. This approach puts the shopper in control by helping them make choices rather than risking the feeling of being stalked by a machine. Retail Technology Predictions Following the success of FutureShop in the summer of 2016, our shopper practice – Arc - have been looking at emerging retail trends, and identified those which are most likely to impact the retail experience in 2017. We also predict that FutureShop will take place again in June 2017, so watch this space for details… Ian Thomas, Managing Director, Arc London Predictions 2017 | 9
  • 10. Technology with Utility As VR and AR moved into the mainstream it has been easy to argue that much technology in retail has been for the sake of it. But where it is applied well it can deliver real benefits to shoppers, such as getting them to ‘try on’ their products without actually having to use them. From virtual changing rooms, interactive mirrors or the ability to virtually try on make-up before committing to a purchase, through to Ikea’s VR showroom that allows you to walk around your new kitchen before it has been bought. Low cost additions like ThinFilm labels have enabled any product to become ‘smart’, so that users don’t need to download an app to access the additional benefits or content that the brand wants to offer buyers. Location Mobile devices are being used on more shopping missions now, not just for ecommerce purchases. When this is combined with smart objects and access to more data, location is becoming one of the most important criteria in influencing how shoppers navigate various categories. Brands can now connect immediately based on proximity; from retail apps that help navigate the shopper around a category (Clinique) or store (Macy’s), to finding where to watch the match in a pub near you tonight (Match Pint), through to fashion brands that allow you to see what’s trending in your area (The Outnet), we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible in converting shoppers close to the point of purchase. Social Currency As many social platforms introduce shoppable content and buy buttons, social media has become an integral part of the buying process. And shoppers continue to share good (and bad) experiences online as well as generating wish lists. Retailers are developing experiences that can be shared socially, and most experiential campaigns now include a shareable component - our own McDonald’s Christmas Tray Liner is a case in point. Companies like Olapic allow brands to harness this by incorporating these social posts into the brand website and making them shoppable to other users. Predictions 2017 | 10
  • 11. The Sweet Hereafter Ahead of the UK’s April 2018 sugar tax, international soft drinks brands are already scrambling to reformulate and innovate, with AG Barr being one example, launching its sugar-free Irn-Bru XTRA in August 2016. While the British Soft Drinks Association boasts its members have already cut sugar in their products by 13.6% since 2012, they are going to have to go further. The tax itself targets imports or production of high-sugar soft drinks across two bands – one for total sugar content above 5g per 100 millilitres (at a likely 18p per litre) and a second for those with more than 8g per 100 millilitres (at a likely 24p per litre). Pure fruit juices and milk-based drinks will be excluded, as will the smallest producers. The avowed aim is to reduce obesity and specifically its £5 billion a year cost to the NHS, with the UK government saying that the estimated £520 million in revenue will go towards encouraging sports participation in primary schools. Beyond the UK, more and more governments are concerned about obesity’s financial hit on public health services. While they will be taking an interest in the levy’s effectiveness in health, more brands across Europe will consider this as a portent for a need to reformulate not just carbonated soft drinks but also other high-sugar products in other sectors. Airpocalypse Now Consumers are wising up to the killer in their midst, with the World Health Organization reporting that 4.3 million deaths occur each year from exposure to household (indoor) air pollution and 3.7 million deaths each year are attributable to outdoor air pollution. What’s more, this isn’t unique to Asia: air pollution kills 48,000 people in France, 9,500 Londoners, and 400,000 across Europe every year. We expect European consumers to follow China’s lead. Mintel research reveals that ownership of masks (83%) and air purifiers (56%) is a major concern in China and that using houseplants (52%) and air quality index monitoring (33%) to counter pollution is commonplace behaviour. Meanwhile, in France, 41% of consumers agree that the environment (e.g. pollution) affects skin, followed by 37% in Italy, 35% in Germany and 28% in Spain. Ahead of the first statistical stocktake in 2018, European governments will start implementing some of the actions called for by the Paris climate summit. This will include ‘urban greening’ plantation programmes, clamping down on older vehicles and incentivising e-cars and construction programmes using building materials that chemically counter pollution. The continued lobbying of governments by Greenpeace to take more drastic, more immediate action with very public campaigns will also educate consumers about the dangers and the protective products they can purchase. In London, for example, a £10 emissions surcharge on the bulk of pre-2006 registered vehicles entering the city centre is being proposed for 2017, but lobbyists are pushing for an outright ban on diesel vehicles in the most polluted areas. In Paris, the action has been more stringent and urgent: as of July 2016 any car registered before 1 January 1997 has been banned from the entire city’s streets in the week between the hours of 8am and 8pm. Norway has gone even further, banning the sale of all fossil-fuel-based cars by 2025. Mintel – Europe 2017 ‘Change is good: see it coming and react first.’ Wise words from Mintel there. So, what do they reckon we’ve got coming in 2017…? Predictions 2017 | 11
  • 12. Ascending Africa In 2017, Europe will start to buy into and reach out to the benefits of Africa’s growing middle class and rapidly improving connectivity, which is helping people access credit to start up their own businesses. A host of factors are raising Africa’s prospects, including its youthfulness (65% of the population is under the age of 35 according to the UN), its growing independence (annual cereal output growth has exceeded 3% for a decade, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, while ex-pat remittances exceed foreign aid, says the World Bank) and its burgeoning middle class (The Economist has estimated that 15% live in households with incomes of $5,500 or more). Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) highlights that between 2011 and 2015 the percentage of food and drink products launched globally containing an African ingredient increased by 41%. If African exporters and brands can successfully mobilise, there is strong potential to appeal to youthful, premium, artisan, ethical European markets in food and beauty. In the UK, some 48% of consumers aged 25–34 say companies’ ethics and behaviour have an impact on their purchasing decisions but they need convincing of credibility. Meanwhile, around half (52%) of UK consumers would only pay more for ethical products if they knew where the extra money went. Predictions 2017 | 12 Right Here, Right Now Pokémon GO’s widespread popularity, coupled with further improvements in geolocation and beacon technology, will have a knock-on effect on how people interact with their immediate surroundings and how they search for things to do and buy at any given moment. Brands can alert users to sales or special offers curated just for them or leisure events happening in the here and now. This provides businesses with a positive, serendipitous way to offer deals, something that will appeal as economies across the Euro region remain shaky. Mintel’s data states that in the UK 29% of millennials would be happy to share their real-time location with brands they like in exchange for nearby offers. Beacon technology is becoming more powerful and pervasive: launched in August 2016, French app Yatù allows users who have opted in to chat with retailers, view stock levels, order products and receive offers up to 5km away in their local area. According to Mintel, this has the potential to appeal to the 27% of UK, 21% of Spanish, 20% of Italian, 13% of German and 12% of French consumers who have bought luxury branded items in the past 18 months and would be interested in smartphone marketing relevant to them and their location at the time.
  • 13. Seamless Spending Growing consumer confidence in technology born of familiarity, along with technological advances and product launches, will increase adoption. Mintel research reveals that 30% of UK consumers already feel comfortable about the potential for a completely cashless society, while 29% say that it is more convenient to pay for things using a smartphone than other payment methods. In its second year of operation, Apple Pay will begin to gain greater traction (naysayers should remember that contactless took six years to catch on!) after its one-click payment services have been rolled out to any device running on the Safari browser in the autumn of 2016. Meanwhile, Android Pay is also growing in popularity and practicality, thanks to the fact that 40% of smartphones now have an NFC chip, according to Barclaycard, and also due to the incentives offered by its ‘Android Pay Day’ discount schemes. Innovating a step further, Vodafone has announced a partnership with PayPal to allow users with Android devices to make contactless payments from their PayPal account even when the phone is switched off or out of battery – a feature achieved by embedding NFC technology into the SIM rather than the handset. Predictions 2017 | 13 Talking Shop Social media platforms are growing in popularity as secure and trustworthy communication channels connecting brands and consumers. As of July 2016, over one billion messages were being sent between people and businesses on Facebook Messenger every month across the globe. Mintel research reveals the extent of the popularity of social networks across Europe, showing that social networks are used by just under half (47%) of the European population weekly and the region has 393 million active social media users. The importance of social media in customer services cannot be underestimated. According to Mintel, a quarter of French consumers would like to be able to chat with a customer service advisor using social media; this rises to half of Italian consumers. Meanwhile, in Italy, 59% of consumers say they would like to be able to contact customer service through an instant messenger, while in Germany 24% of consumers would like to be able to use an instant messenger service to contact a customer advisor online. As such, brands are looking to take customer service in-house: firstly to avoid the damaging public glare and secondly to nurture closer relationships and greater customer loyalty. Following WhatsApp’s introduction of end-to-end encryption and Facebook Messenger’s trial of similarly encrypted ‘secret conversations’ since July 2016, consumer confidence in sharing sensitive information with companies via messaging apps will grow. And this is something consumers are seeking: Mintel finds 43% of consumers in the Republic of Ireland and 41% of consumers in Northern Ireland say that raising issues with a company via social media is more effective than contacting it directly, while 27% of UK consumers say they would find it useful if they could contact brands via messaging apps, e.g. WhatsApp. This will be stimulated by the fact that Facebook’s Messenger Platform – an application programming interface (API) – will give any third party the opportunity to develop its own chatbots (automated programs that can chat to users in a humanlike way) for Messenger. Away from transactional or data exchanges, we will also expect campaigns on Snapchat to grow and develop further beyond Sponsored Lenses (where users can overlay official branded animations on their selfies) and Geofilters (custom filters that are available based on a user’s location), especially following the launch of Snapchat Partners in June 2016. This API connects brands with tech developers making it easier for brands to buy ads as well as optimise and analyse campaigns. Advertising will be further integrated into the platform following a raft of new developments which will allow brands to insert ads between video content (Stories) posted by a user’s friends.