Always on Information & Data profusion
“It’s a revolution. We’re really just getting under way. But the march of quantification, made possible by enormous new sources of data, will sweep through academia, business and government. There is no area that is going to be untouched.” Gary King, director of Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, (NYTimes.com, February 11, 2012)
“Our personal data is worth billions of dollars a year, it fuels the Internet, but we don’t get to choose the terms of the deal.” St John Deakins, founder of CitizenMe founder (Irights.info, July 16, 2014)
A billion pieces of information are exchanged every day over a multitude of platforms, including traditional media, digital apps, personal blogs, social networks…Whether it is the news we read in the media or the proliferation of personal data, we are living in an era of information and communication profusion – which has been accelerated and facilitated notably by the exponential rate of technological advances. Daily news in the media; advertising messages everywhere in the street; online content spread on social networks, RSS or personal blogs; all of that, combined with greatly democratized access to knowledge and education, have made an unprecedented wealth of information and data available to anyone, at any time, in one place. As a result, consumers become more informed and educated and thus more discerning, savvier and more empowered than before.
In a 2013 MyLife study, it was reported that 56% of Millennials experience anxiety if they don’t keep an eye on their social networks and status updates.
On the other hand, the giant amount of personal information that is proliferating – the “Big Data” – is gaining incredible value for brands and marketers. More is more, though not necessarily better. The current climate is dominated by choice, as Slovenian philosopher and sociologist Renata Salecl explores in the book La Tyrannie du choix (Albin Michel, 2012) where she analyses how choice, freedom and autonomy have been erected as ideals in Western post-industrial societies. Since such ideals are unreachable, they provoke feelings of anxiety and guilt among consumers and lead to the emergence of unprecedented pathology: the “Fear of Missing Out” (or “FOMO”). In a 2013 MyLife study, it was reported that 56% of Millennials experience anxiety if they don’t keep an eye on their social networks and status updates.
Consumers certainly like to be in control and they also like choice. However, they are surrounded by too much music, too much software, too many websites, too many feeds, too many people, too many opinions and so on. They face a daunting amount of information in the research process, which can easily make them feel overwhelmed and push them to make bad decisions. “Information overload” (also known as infobesity or infoxication) brings some difficulty in the process of understanding an issue and making decisions that can be adversely influenced by the presence of too much information. In the face of all the sharing and discovery, people still have to build context into what they want to do once they connect. The biggest hurdle is organizing and filtering the vast amount of information suddenly at their fingertips, via apps and in social streams.
“Information overload” (also known as infobesity or infoxication) brings some difficulty in the process of understanding an issue and making decisions that can be adversely influenced by the presence of too much information.
Consumers’ ability to spy great value has only increased in the age of the “informed consumer”, as they have armed themselves with the feature- and price-comparison details necessary to secure the best price. But now, however, they are shifting from feeling informed to feeling exhausted. Even if they wanted to know all the necessary facts to find the best value, along the way they would have started to feel like they were wading through info, which they would consider a tiring process. People need assistance, so providing simple tools for context and personal curation are in growing demand.
Need of curation
Curation is king in marketing these days. Individuals feel increasingly overwhelmed by too much information and choice, getting them confused and pushing them to look for assistance. Consequently, they are increasingly seeking processes that ingest, analyze and contextualize content, data or goods onto a platform or into a format they can more easily understand.
Curators essentially operate in the media, both online and offline: fashion magazines suggest selections of clothes or cultural events, music platforms provide select playlists to listen to, while tourist guides and lifestyle blogs edit lists of must-restaurants to must-go dine out or must-see places to visit.
Curation can be found in content and data as well as style and taste. Curators essentially operate in the media, both online and offline: fashion magazines suggest selections of clothes or cultural events and music platforms provide select playlists to listen to, while tourist guides and lifestyle blogs edit lists of must-go dine out restaurants or must-see places to visit. Concept stores that offer curated goods carefully selected from a fine market analysis, and that sell only the “best-of-the-best” are proliferating. In the end, the new curators enjoy unprecedented access to broadcasting and publishing channels to reach their audience, from their own blogs to niche TV channels. What’s more, online users who have a Twitter or Pinterest account may become curators themselves, as they are retweeting, repinning and reblogging content from other people.
Audi & Motion@Waterloo
Automotive brand Audi partnered with Motion@Waterloo to launch a 40-metre-long digital screen at London’s Waterloo train station on February 10, 2014. It was launched with the Audi Dashboard, a creative concept featuring live statistics and contextual messages about “One day in the life of Waterloo” – a series of quirky station facts which are compared to the Audi range. For example: “31,451 cups of coffee bought. If this was petrol, you could drive an Audi A3 Sportback to the moon.” The dashboard also offered genuinely useful, real-time information, including how many seats are available on trains departing from Waterloo. All data refreshed every two minutes while commuters could interact using #AudiWaterloo.
United Kingdom, February 2014
Global social network Facebook is about to become a media platform – and thus to expand all the more the amount of content available to people. It has recently launched Facebook Paper, a standalone mobile app that intends to serve as a phone-based equivalent of a newspaper or magazine. Facebook wants to bring content serendipity through this app, which delivers human and algorithm-curated full-screen articles and photos in categories users will select like Tech, LOL, and Pop Culture.
United States, January 2014
Brief.me is an online service that makes the news on the media simpler to read and understand. It “explains what is complicated, summarizes what is long, analyzes what is important.” The service sorts out all kinds of information and news; summarizes those which really matter in a daily email; then it gives analysis of the news in order for users to form their own opinion. Brief.me focuses on information that will be useful to one’s personal and professional lives.
France, August 2014
General Electric has partnered with the New York concept store Story to promote one of its products. As a concept store, Story curates the goods they sell as media does with content. Every month there is a new theme according to the products – clothes, jewellery and gadgets – that are selected and displayed in the store. GE is using the store not so much to generate sales but rather as a platform to test new products– like a smartphone-controlled air conditioning unit, for instance. The brand says this method is more efficient to learn about each product’s long-tail narrative than mere transactions.
United States, July 2014
Swedish minicab service Taxi Stockholm uses great amounts of data to give visitors the chance to travel like a local. TaxiTrails app is a new type of tourist guide based on GPS-data from the 8 million trips that are made around Stockholm every year. The technology tracks the routes of all the firm’s taxis to create a heat map showing the most popular destinations. Yellow areas on the map show where Stockholmers usually choose to travel with the taxi company. Users can filter the data by date of trips, time of the week or the type of area visited – such as “hip” or “posh”.
Sweden, August 2014
Business & Marketing guidelines
|Help shoppers by facilitating the decision-making process. Don’t base your decision on transactional information but rather on behavioral information in order to understand consumers’ true needs and the reasons why they’re making a purchase.|
|Harness the advantage (with the help of data) of the existing ability to pinpoint not only when a customer is in-store, but where and what they might be interested in.|
|Find innovative ways to integrate updatable digital information into store environments, as an alternative to mobile apps. QR codes and embedded RFID tags in smart clothes hangers are two engaging options.|
|Find personal ways to strengthen and facilitate connections with your customers without overstepping their bounds. An explosion in consumer-generated data in myriad mobile social forms is reshaping consumers’ relationship with the world around them and moving symbiotic communications to the center of their daily lives.|
|Recalibrate your efforts to create better end-user experiences rather than invasive advertising.|
|Grow your touch point offerings. Since shoppers who engage with more touch points are more loyal, your brand should embrace more touch points in order to command a higher share of wallets and gain higher brand equity scores.|
- Whether it is the news we read in the media or the proliferation of personal data, we are living in an era of information and communication profusion – which has been accelerated and facilitated notably by the exponential rate of technology.
- In a 2013 MyLife study, 56% of Millenials experience anxiety, or “FOMO” (fear of missing out), if they don’t keep an eye on their social networks and status updates.
- Consumers face a daunting amount of information, and that can easily cause them to feel overwhelmed and make poor choices. Information overload brings some difficulty in the process of understanding an issue and making decisions.
- Curation services have become crucial for consumers seeking processes that ingest, analyze and contextualize content, data or goods onto a platform or into a format they can more easily understand.
Experts that we recommend
|Eric Scherer & Barbara Chazelle
Directors of Future Media at France Télévisions
|Philippe Pestanes & Sarah Perez
Partner and senior manager at Kurt Salmon France & co-authors of study
Instantanéité, hyper choix, innovation : la culture se consomme-t-elle autrement ? (Kurt Salmon, 2014)
Digital Innovation director at agency The LINKS & author of article
Big Data : quel est le seuil de tolérance chez le consommateur ?