How technology brands can fill the information void for UK consumers. By Marcus Stoll, head of marketing EMEA, at content marketing platform NewsCred.
Looking back at technology trends set out for 2015, this was meant to be the year of the smart home, super drone, connected vehicle and clothing, and mobile payments, among many other developments heralded as ‘the future’.
But there is a disconnect between early adopters and their understanding of new technologies and that of the public, who will end up being the mass consumers of these products in the next 10 years. There is a content gap that needs filling – and tech brands themselves should take on the challenge of fulfilling this role.
This is a key recommendation from NewsCred’s latest report, ‘From tech savvy to content savvy’, where we asked UK consumers what they are looking for in content from tech brands. The answer? Being a leader on the future of technology.
This is highlighted by the fact that 33% of respondents say they are looking to brands to guide the way on future products. 37%, meanwhile, are demanding more from brands on how they can make the most of technology in their daily lives.
This opens up an opportunity for brands to be the navigator through what looks to be an increasingly complex future.
In a world where tech start-up launches are as frequent as social media updates, and products Oculus Rift go through several iterations before they even hit the market, the public need reliable sources of information through which they can stay informed. Through content, tech brands can be that trusted advisor through this minefield, and help consumers feel intelligently informed rather than swept away.
For example, through effective storytelling, Google have become synonymous with future technologies. Using very human stories, products such as Google Earth and the driverless car have captured the imaginations of the media and the public alike.
For example, this video shows how Google Earth helped to reunite a man with his long lost family, and in this one, the driverless car provides a new level of freedom for a visually impaired man. Each piece of content moves on from the technical “facts” – things like horsepower or dpi of Google Earth’s imaging – in favour of highlighting how these products can impact people’s lives. The stories resonate, activating emotional triggers that create a strong bond between brand and audience.
Tough content space
With such dominant brands leading the way, it’s a tough content space for others to edge their way into, particularly as this is still a space dominated by user review websites.
However, this is an area ripe for brands to make a well-executed content assault, given that, according to our research, less than one in 10% of UK consumers actually believe online user reviews and 53% question whether they can trust them. Brands can capitalise on this by finding their niche with their own content offering and in doing so, can influence a shift in positive consumer attitudes.
“Half-measures will not do, and can in fact cause lasting damage to your brand”
This type of investment doesn’t come lightly, but according to our research, over half of UK consumers say they are more likely to remain loyal to technology brands if they enjoy their content. 66% of consumers feel high quality content is important to a tech brand’s reputation and trustworthiness. 34% even say that would purchase from a competitor tech brand if their preferred brand began producing low quality content.
Half-measures will not do, and can in fact cause lasting damage to your brand. When asked what low-quality or infrequently published content would do to their perception of a technology brand, 27% say they would believe that brand is out of touch or not up to date with customer habits, while 18% say they would feel the brand doesn’t care about engaging with their customers.
Furthermore, 16% said that they would expect the brand to sell low quality products, indicating a perceived correlation between content quality and product quality amongst the UK public.
Eroded in front of our eyes
It’s clear that whether you’re looking to invest in a new smartphone or smartwatch – or in the near future, Oculus Rift or a driverless car – the traditional buyer-seller model has all but eroded in front of our eyes.
Gone are the days when purchases were made entirely in store. We no longer wait for our monthly technology magazine to hit the shelves to digest whatever carefully positioned information the manufacturer has released to a select number of reviewers. Today, with the plethora of tech websites, videos, online reviews, blogs and social media available to us, our content world – particularly in the tech industry – is busier than ever.
According to futurist Brian Solis, by 2020 the number of devices connected to the internet is expected to exceed 40 billion, including connected clothing, cars and home-based items. That’s not just a lot of devices, but a lot of users hungry for to the point, easy to understand and access information on not just product specs, but tangible learning points on how technology is enriching their lives.
Are you willing to be the brand that goes out on a limb to put your name on content that does more than just advertise your products but tells stories about your audience and the world around them? Are you ready to take your audience by the hand and lead them into the future with intelligent, inspirational content?