How to choose a corporate strategy?
Difficult to overlook: the IoT world (Internet of Things World) has arrived. A geeky trend, technological prowess or the coming world of tomorrow? Will our future be governed by drones, the interconnection of our objects and robots? This article was written so that we remember this moment, when we are all witnessing this consumption (r)evolution.
Connected objects are the current commercial and marketing trend, and this trend involves a quantum shift in the product development strategy of brands.
This is a historic moment because it shows that there is a divide; there will now be connected products and products which are not connected. Every day now we can see that the products sold on the market are constantly evolving, but it is rare to see this kind of division in the evolution of a product concept. Connected objects are not 'just' new packaging or a new recipe, but a new fully-fledged concept which requires investment, technological research, repositioning of the brand and considerable risk-taking in terms of marketing. A connected object requires rethinking the entire strategy of how products are adopted by consumers and reviewing the development cycles. In short, we wish product managers the best of luck.
Indeed, the first connected objects will be used as crash tests by brands. At the moment it is too early to study the results of these experiments, but it is clear that this might provide lessons on the technological shift by brands in terms of whether it was a success, a failure, enriching (or will it close down the business?), best practices, and whether it was a misguided idea or not. We are waiting to see how these products evolve, get testimonials from brands that want to ride the wave, and soon we hope to be able to write the follow-up to this article to give a report on these technological beginnings for brands.
Right now, let's return to the present and get a quick status update on the whys of connected objects for brands.
At the moment all brands are seeking to find their place in the sun in terms of the Internet Of Things market. They are snapping up the latest innovative concepts or creating their strategic divisions dedicated to IOT themselves (e.g. Bouygues Telecom).
There is a risk factor - and sometimes a success factor - but we have seen companies which are more cautious in terms of their expenditure on R&D and innovation… So the question is: Is the business geek the new chic? Why are brands now starting to get into developing connected objects? Here is the answer broken down into a few observations.
A brand is a commercial entity which feeds off reputation. A connected object is a product that can create, collect or share data: it can take the form of a pair of glasses which can be geo-located so that they will never be lost again (geographical data), or a bracelet which measures your physical activity (performance data).
The internet of things remains an accessible trend: the concept is often basic, they are quickly launched, the media talks about them and the public buys them. It is therefore logical that companies are snapping them up. The market is flourishing, highly diverse, and immature because it's very new and still has prospects. Launching a connected object is now an opportunity to communicate with an audience which is targeted, attentive and comprised of very good consumers because they like novelties, making it possible over the long term to enhance their reputation with the added technological aspect and convey a more innovative and modern brand image.
Rejuvenate your customers
Some brands are facing an ageing clientèle, which is admittedly more affluent, but which conveys an image which is not very dynamic, and this can be detrimental to the brand.
It is very difficult for a brand to rejuvenate its targeted audience, because you don't want to ostracise your core market. The simplest solution would be to capture younger customers with higher solvency having similar purchasing power to the usual customers. Young people are a profitable godsend: a target clientèle which is both easy to win over and lasting.
Connected objects are consumed by young people, but also purchased by young people. In this market, they are a conduit for influencing and inducting older people and future ambassadors in the eyes of their children. These young people are the famous 'digital natives' who have grown up with technology in their hands. A population which is prepared to pay high prices for new innovative products. Products which will make life easier or provide outstanding entertainment experiences.
Adopting a connected object is to attract a young audience and an opportunity to rejuvenate your targeted clientèle in a mechanical way, but without altering your loyal clientèle (older).
Sell more and at higher prices
A connected product, by virtue of its added technological value, is more expensive to produce and therefore more expensive in terms of its sale price. But we must not descend into 'technoporn'. We need to offer real added value to consumers so that they are interested in regularly consuming the object, otherwise it will quickly be consigned to technological oblivion and will lead to disappointment among consumers, or even worse - a bad buzz. So don't fly too close to the sun and make sure you properly incorporate thinking about user experience into discussions about and handling the object. The competition is fierce, innovations are an almost daily occurrence and the buzz is only short-lived.
Know your clientèle
The whole ethical debate surrounding the IoT is focused on protecting data and privacy. Data remains a hugely profitable godsend for brands. They can then take advantage of the copious amounts of data shared by users to get to know their clientèles better and create new user experiences. Knowing about the usage of a product, how long it is used, how often it is used or indeed its handling in real situations, is information which is difficult to collect now. To connect an object is to slip into a daily routine. Usage occurs within a private and therefore natural and spontaneous situation, and the transmission of data is silent and discreet, but attracts criticism about confidentiality.
Give your workers a boost
We hope it's an upward trend. Connected objects can also support us on a day-to-day basis. There are companies which specialise in the development and production of connected objects dedicated to the well-being of humans. For example, in preventing occupational hazards and optimising their productivity while improving their working conditions. Other examples are a connected tool-box so that you no longer lose equipment, a bracelet which detects sound levels that are harmful to workers or gloves which scan bar codes. Here again, the ROI is measurable (fewer occupational accidents, productivity gains, risk prevention, etc.) and the benefits for the company’s image are considerable.
In conclusion, the internet of things and brands can make for a happy marriage. We are closely monitoring the evolution of the life cycle of these new products in order to study this and understand the impact on brands.
Will there be a scandal? Will it be a success story? Is this the advent of new behaviours or new lifestyles? In 10 or 20 years, will we say "in my time, it wasn't connected" when we talk about today? " Finance, reputation, revival of a brand that was believed to be finished? Only time and distance will tell us which brand has emerged unscathed with its connected object and succeeded in always taking technology up a level, so that it is always improved and always closer to us. And on this note, see you soon in the future.