How to have meaningful brand-consumer relationships in a hyperconnected world

July 12, 2021

Alex Wilman
Research Director
Northstar and Cadence Design recently collaborated on a report Hyperconnectivity & You: a roadmap for the consumer experience – which can be downloaded here.

The rise of hyperscale computing

Hyperscale computing scales up data processing to support new technologies and the exponential rise of today’s data economy. Although computing is hidden behind the walls of the 600+ hyperscale data centres that exist today (this number has more than doubled since 2015 and continues to grow), it’s impact will be visible all around us.

The age of hyperconnectivity

That’s because this scaling will deliver hyperconnectivity, where more data than ever before is collected, transported, and analysed in the cloud, on the network, or on mobile devices. By 2025, this will result in smarter, more powerful consumer devices, that will play an ever increasingly important role in our lives.

Connecting with consumers in the right ways

Smarter devices will create opportunities for more meaningful brand-consumer relationships.

But it won’t be easy.

Prioritising what consumers want in a hyperconnected world will be key. As will be listening to and mitigated against consumer concerns.

Our global research with Cadence Design, where we interviewed over 3,000 global consumers, identified these challenges and how to overcome them to create meaningful brand-consumer relationships in a hyperconnected world.

The three Cs of hyperconnectivity
For brands to succeed in a hyperconnected future, they must create confidence, communicate convenience and celebrate collaboration.

Create Confidence
Consumers have confidence in technologies such as 5G (73% stating will have positive impact on our lives in next 5 years), AI (67%) and hyperscale computing (62%).

But they don’t have confidence in data security (only 42% are confident their devices won’t be hacked) and are therefore reluctant to share data.

This represents a fundamental challenge for all businesses operating in a hyperconnected data economy – where data sharing is the fuel.

To overcome this, hardware and software developers must prioritize data security, while brands and marketers must deliver complete transparency in how personal data is used, including highlighting what the consumer gets back in return for sharing their data.

Without consumer confidence in data sharing, the full potential of hyperscale computing cannot be realized.

Communicate Convenience
Despite their lack of confidence in data security, consumers still buy connected devices and share data today, and will continues to in the future. That’s because of the convenience they can bring to consumer’s lives.

Convenience-related features, such as predictive maintenance and automated software updates (both of which resonated most strongly with car owners), will continue drive uptake of new hyperconnected technology in the future. As will the rolling out of new and frictionless human-device communication methods.

Hyperconnected devices can remove tedious tasks, provide a frictionless user experience and deliver clear and obvious benefits to the user. These convenience messages will be central to any brand and marketers messaging if they are to convince consumers that the trade off with data sharing is worthwhile.

Celebrate Collaboration
Hyperconnected technology will be smart enough to independently make decisions and perform actions for people. However, if you push people into things, they’ll push back.
That’s because consumers like to retain agency over their actions and relinquishing full control can be scary. For example, 79% of consumers would need the ability to disable the autonomy of a car, even though the benefits of autonomous features are largely recognised. Similarly, the concept of a smart speaker suggesting you seek counselling because it heard repeated arguments between you and your partner is negatively received – considered as overly intrusive.

The sweet spot is people and technology working collaboratively together, such as human-led robotic surgery, or autonomous car features that augment, but not replace, the driver.

Brands and marketers must celebrate this collaboration so consumers can feel confident and embrace all the benefits hyperconnectivity has to offer them.

Hyperconnectivity will present great opportunities for brands to build meaningful relationships with their consumers. To do so they must overcome the challenges that also exist by creating confidence, communicating convenience and celebrating collaboration.

To read the full report, download it here.

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