Why Brands need to be ‘Futurologists’

Last week, we were thrilled to attend Unlocking Potential’s Future Focus event with Brand Manager at Innocent, Dan Germain, and IT Innovation Manager at John Lewis Partnership, Gavin Jones.

As a lifestyle PR and social agency, we’re all about creating killer content to captivate our clients’ audiences. So the workshop’s theme – ‘seeking tomorrow’s customer’ – was of huge interest, and we were excited to find out more about how these two important brands strategically adapt and evolve to meet the needs of consumers of the future.

Brand Manager at Innocent, Dan Germain, spoke on differentiation – in particular authenticity and ‘always being yourself’. He highlighted the fact that the Innocent brand, founded in 1999, started in the days before social media. Therefore creating a brand identity at the start that people felt genuine love and trust for, involved genuine engagement with their audience (eg Innocent’s free music festival, ‘Fruitstock’).

Even now, with such a strong following on Facebook and Twitter, Innocent deliberately looks wider than social media to sustain brand loyalty. The team still send hand-written replies for the people who post notes and and gifts to the them (everything from poetry to drawings and Innocent-inspired handmade quilts).

 Our insight: engaging with customers doesn’t always have to be product driven – being interested in your customers and getting to know their interests and humour is vitally important when attempting to forge genuine connections. 

Gavin Jones, IT Innovation Manager at the John Lewis partnership, discussed how emerging technology trends can be utilised in-store to connect with the tech-savvy consumers of the future. It was really interesting to hear how vital innovation and experimentation is, even for an iconic British brand like John Lewis, led by the need to adapt to changing markets.

Our insight: this attitude is important to all businesses, whatever their size. The ability to innovate, be brave and ‘run in a different direction’ is what allows brands to stand apart from the competition.

The workshop reinforced the need for us to help our clients keep their ear to the ground about what’s coming next. It’s fundamental to be engaged with your current customer base but equally as vital for all of us to be ‘futurologists’ and embrace new technologies and consumer trends before they happen.

Megan Hocking - Senior Campaign Executive at Wild West Comms

Words: Megan Hocking

Account Manager at Wild West Comms