Your Planet Sustainable?Your Tribe Harmonious?Your Life Vibrant?
Future Proof Ideas since 2005, by Erwin van Lun

Trend observations, analysis and future predictions since 2005

KTF detects romance in speech

Korean mobile phone operator KTF offers a 'Love Detector' service which analyzes if someone talks with love and affection. Users can test themselves. They have to aim their mobile phone at themselves during a video conversation, see a 'love meter' bar on their screen or mobile phone, and later get a text message with the analysis. The service costs $0.32 (yh). Brands thus get better at understanding us. Not only our written language, not only our spoken words, but also the way we say them. In the end brands will be better listeners than humans. It will take at least another thirty years for that to happen though.

Speech converted to e-mail

Through SpinVox users can have spoken text in their mobile phones converted to text. It is handy for example to have voice mails delivered as text, or to record a memo which is delivered in your mailbox (dc, Dutch). The world consists of our environment, animals and ourselves. Images are part of that. Sound is part of that. But not written text. We have made that up ourselves a long time ago. Now we get more and more devices we can control with our voice. Now it is converted in text, but soon if we say 'refresh oil for car', we get a spoken message at the gas station the next day: 'grab a bottle of oil while you're here'. The phase in between will then be skipped. That is the direction we are going with this.

Musicovery without advertisements

Music lovers have unlimited possibilities to discover new music with Musicovery. Although the interface counts five languages, almost all interaction is visual. We click something, and fast as lightning get new, similar music. The service is free. Registered members can listen, save their favorite music, and exclude certain songs. Songs can be ordered or downloaded at Amazon, eBay or iTunes. Besides, paying members can listen to HiFi music, and don't get any advertisements (dc, Dutch).

Thus new business models in music slowly evolve. It is all about being entertained musically, to discover music, and to re-experience music (and the emotions that go with it). The better a brand is capable to offer this experience, the more money they can charge. And advertisements then are only disturbing. It is very simple: the more value you add, the more money you can charge. This is a nice example.

Extra content next to video

Through Viddix users can easily place extra content next to an uploaded video. Ideal for a personal product presentation, an online course, or, yes, an inspiring presentation (ab, Dutch). Thus video and other interactivity slowly mix. Now you can place extra static content, soon you will be able to upload an interactive layer. We then more or less build a website based on the video, which you then can easily share. Or the second screen controls our mobile phone, or the TV. Thus the virtual world slowly integrates, with different screens to look at it.

Amstel site for men

At the website of beer brand Amstel men are the boss. In a 3D bar world you can order a beer, listen to the friends of Amstel, or just look around. You can say something anonymously or, after registering, start a dialogue with other visitors. It can never get too crowded: once the amount of visitors goes over 50, a new bar is opened (see am, Dutch).

Brands with a symbolic function, brands that add to our identity, can build virtual worlds in which they invite consumers, and have them meet each other. Through registration Amstel can recognize his customers and slowly start building profiles. We then will happily come back. Today's 3D world is only child's play compared with tomorrow - when the whole Amstel world will be projected in 3D holographic images - but it is definitely a step in that direction.

Trendupdate renamed into Newsletter

From today under the header 'keep on track' in the top right corner it no longer reads 'trendupdate' but 'newsletter'. This because I came across the word 'newsletter' a lot in the site's search function. A learning point. The newsletter itself will still be called 'brandupdate' and the email address will remain 'TrendUpdate'. The word 'brand Update' is already in the graphic design and I can't get it changed today. All in all I call my newsletters TrendUpdates, with a specialisation in brands, so a 'Brand Update'.

The moral of this story: always use the terms your customers use. I always say that, but I hadn't implemented it completely right yet. And make sure there are synonyms. That's too much work right now, but still it's also solved through a simple workaround. This post can later be found in the search function through just about any term, with or without spaces. Go ahead and check. Enfin, click here to sign up for the Trend Update wink (almost 1800 subscribers).

Uitzendbureau logo animates spanners has an animated logo. First the spanners are seen, then slowly character is added to the logo. Thus the connection between work (the hammer and sickle) and people's work is quickly made. The logo animates once, when first arriving at the homepage, and then stays the way it is. Only when you come back to the homepage you get to see the animation again. Very nice, and functional (ub, Dutch).

Brands will more and more often animate their logos. Marketers will realize that the rule 'the logo has to stand still' is a rule from the mass communication era. An animated logo gets more attention and is easier remembered, it can help the brand communicate functional features (like in this example), and it can furthermore help establish the emotional associations. If well executed, an animated logo can even show brand personality. The only good example I have seen so far is the two year old example of Jetix. In the end the logo will be moving, 3D and interactive by default. The color logo is then demoted to use in static media, like we now still know a black-and-white logo. However there are lots of steps to take. This is a good example of another brand that dares to animate its logo. But it doesn't go very fast at all. Maybe because of a lack of scientific research? What brand dares to experiment? Or are we waiting for examples from other countries?

Related trends

Nokia’s vision at the future

Nokia shows what the future of mobile phones looks like. Bendable, flexible, color-changing, shape-changing displays which furthermore also work as extra senses for us. For example by being able to smell special substances. All as a result of nano technology which makes it possible to assemble products at a molecular level. Interesting video!

Gina speaks for Eurail

Eurail, the organization of cooperating European railways with products for international tourists, has recruited a new employee: a virtual employee named Gina. She answers questions about Eurail's products (cb). Brands thus take the dialogue further, and speak with you far beyond their own borders. Soon Gina will speak all languages. If you then say 'Gutentag', Gina will talk back in German. In the long run she will also be able to take care of your transactions, or anything else you would want to get from the brand. It all starts with these simple dialogues.

Indipenda helps women in divorce

Indipenda helps women get through a divorce. With advice, inspiration, relaxation, talking and even dating, the life of a divorced woman is filled in a little better (mf, Dutch). In tomorrow's new economy a new type of brands evolves. A type of brands functioning as coaches. They stand beside us and help us make choices. This service is to be included in the portfolio of social coaching brands. These types of brands get to know someone very well from a very young age, and they can connect people, help them maintain the connection, and if necessary also terminate the contact. Independia contributes to this development.

Google more or less understands what you mean

Google gets better at understanding what you mean if you type in a search word, and has advertisers react to this. Using the so-called Expanded Broad Matching, queries are changed in variations. For example: Chogogo Beach Resort -> Vacation Curacao, Holiday park Netherlands-> Holiday park and Vacation -> Turkey (mf, Dutch).

Brands thus start to better understand what we mean. Now through lose words, but soon they will be placed in a personal context: where are you, what are you doing, and what have you asked earlier? In the end it is all about answering the consumer's question. After all, the consumer is not interested in the search but more in the answer to a question. The purchase of the query 'vacation' by a Turkey specialist might be relevant for the advertiser, but not always for the consumer. The consumer soon will rather go to a vacation specialist, a travel coaching brand, and gets a better answer to his or her question there. Even if it's just because this type of brands know if you are on vacation right now or have just come back, and where you have been before. For that to happen the technology for smart interpreting of questions has to develop further first, and that is what we see happening here.

Philips builds worldwide CRM database

Philips had an internal worldwide CRM database built (mb, Dutch). Nowadays it is harder for brands to reach consumers (send their messages) through today's media. It becomes more profitable to invest in existing customers, with whom a dialogue can be started, accompanied by their detailed profile. This move of Philips points to that direction.

MarketingTribune and MarketingFacts work together

Dutch professional marketing magazine MarketingTribune and leading Dutch marketing community MarketingFacts (of which I am one of the contributers) have signed a strategic partnership (mf). Publishers transform to be community managers. The community becomes leading, and paper is just a copy for background and entertainment. In the long run MarketingFacts can grow to be a career coaching brand for marketers. By bringin together all the news, showing all jobs and all events, and making these relevant for the individual marketer, the personal development of the marketer can be carefully coached. A server the marketer will be willing to pay for (and not so much for the paper he gets in his mailbox at home). I wonder what the new title of the magazine will be (MarketingTribune, Facts from the daily marketing practice?).

TomTom has users share content

Navigation devices supplier TomTom has its users upload and share content. Routes, icons, voices, colors (for a specific country for example) or warning signs can be shared without a problem (tt). We thus don't just map the world all together, but also what we think about it. By facilitating this, TomTom turns users into employees. In the long run, TomTom won't even be able to survive without the help of all these people. Brands thus become more and more clubs, bringing people together. No brand without people.

Wehkamp asks for reviews

Dutch mail order company Wehkamp doesn't just offer the possibility to write a review on any product at their site: they now actively ask people to write a review two weeks after they have bought a product. (mf, Dutch). Reviews become relevant when you know for sure that someone did buy the product. In a next step, Wehkamp will connect to social networks. You then don't only see reviews, but also what your friends thought of it. Then brands get better at understanding their customers. If Wehkamp then can also advise us if a product goes well with a product we bought earlier (like the style or color for fashion, or compatibility for computer devices), then they will take the dialogue to a next level. As long as Wehkamp keeps striving to have a complete range of products, consumers won't have any reason to go somewhere else.

BBC personalized homepage

British broadcaster BBC personalizes the homepage for the national and international editions. You can choose categories, colors, and the number of items per category. No commercials are shown (mf, Dutch). Thus brands more and more start to provide consumers the information the way they want it. Now by actively make changes, soon BBC will look at what we watch, what colors we like, what reaction we give, and then automatically will adapt the content selection, the colors and the dynamics. This is a small step in that direction. And in the long run the information becomes so personal and relevant, that we are more than willing to pay for it.

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