Microsoft Insights
in association with Brand Republic
▲ Click to explore the Trends ▲

With a diverse ecosystem of products and services that touch millions of peoples’ lives around the world every day, we at Microsoft try to understand the changing landscape of consumers’ wants and needs in order to shape our business.

Research is essential to this goal and as part of our advertising business we believe the information and insights we gather can be invaluable for other brands to learn with us.

So with this new partnership with Brand Republic we are sharing our insights with you, for you to read and perhaps challenge, to find useful information that may help you shape your next brand campaign and deliver what your customers want.

Our first offering is Digital Trends. Microsoft collaborated with IPG Mediabrands and The Future Laboratory to begin to understand consumers’ maturing relationship with technology and pose some ‘what if’ scenarios.

We uncovered eight trends and each tell a story of consumers’ changing relationship with devices, services, apps and brands. It’s a world of constant innovation, where consumers’ are increasingly knowledgeable about not only the capabilities of technology but also have higher expectations and demands of how technology could and should enrich our lives and experiences. Overall we are moving away from being infatuated with technology to an era where we expect something more reciprocal and mutual.

The trends are all shared here and we would love to hear what you think.

Would you like to know more? Contact Microsoft here.

Value Me

Having been left out of the conversation so far, consumers now know that their information is valuable. So if brands want to keep learning more about their audiences, they will have to be clear about how the data will be used and start offering valuable rewards in exchange for using it.

As more and more ads and targeted communications fill people’s screens, consumers are becoming increasingly aware that what they do online is worth a lot to brands and marketers. We’re at a crucial point where consumers are considering the value of their data and seeking more ways to control where it goes.

Enhancing the Real

Technology used to require us to gaze, tap and swipe, disrupting our physical reality by demanding we turn all of our attention to a screen. But whereas it previously left our senses dulled, it now leaves them dazzled. New technology is engaging all our senses and bringing the digital world to life. Thanks to a combination of high-definition graphics, sound, scent and touch technology, we’re moving beyond the world of flat touchscreens and 2D/3D TVs.

IntelligentlyON

In our busy lives, technology can heighten feelings of information overload and chaos. People are seeking time away from a constantly-connected world and looking for a compromise between being always on, and having to switch off. As we move to a more pared-back and considered relationship with technology, we expect brands to be a part of this shift and to understand that sometimes we just really want some quiet in our lives.

A new intelligent way of being on must also ensure that we are not entirely cut off. Technology should intuitively create a new clutter-free and productive way of living. Not always off. Not always on. IntelligentlyON.

Age of Serendipity

A book cover that catches your eye; a treasure hidden at the back of the sale rail; a pop-up shop on your walk to work that makes your day. These chance happenings are something that the digital world is playing catch up to recreate. As our relationship with technology evolves, we’re expecting more and more opportunities to be pleasantly surprised by digital technologies that know us so well.

It’s more than recommendation or discovery. It’s the immense satisfaction of receiving something at the right time and place, having not even realized that you wanted it.

My Analytics

Calories, heart rate, footsteps and sleep. People are fascinated with measuring the everyday performance of their bodies and minds. But where we previously tracked these aspects of our lives simply because we could, we are now pulling together multiple data sets to make discoveries about how to make improvements to our lives. How did one hour extra sleep affect my productivity levels today? Changes in attitudes towards health, fitness and work mean that we are learning to be our own life coaches by looking closely and strategize around the data we collect about ourselves.

The Right to Anonymity

The more technology becomes entwined with our world, the more we want our experiences online to mirror those offline.  We’re making permanent the things we want to remember, deleting the things we want to forget and shaping our profiles to create multiple identities that reflect the professional self, the fun self, the studious self. The Right to Anonymity, to erase our digital footprints and to tailor everything we share with a public audience, are all high on the agenda. Much of this is moving out of the hands of individual companies, and into the realms of legislation.

Niche Networks

Exhausted and overwhelmed by mega-systems, consumers are turning towards smaller, more tailored, more intimate, localized networks to fulfill their online needs. One-stop-shop solutions are losing out to private and personalized alternatives, as consumers look for relevance and excellence above all else.

The noisy and impersonal nature of big networks is becoming a turn off, particularly now that brands target users in these settings. More and more, we want to enjoy the kind of specialty that niche networks provide.

Creator Culture

People are experimenting with technology; learning how it works, pulling it apart and putting it back together in their own way. They’re learning how to code in their spare time and refashioning technology for their own specific needs. Kids who have grown up with digital are learning to code in after-school clubs, and even those who can’t program are learning small-scale hacks to make-do and mend.

Consumers want to understand the inner workings of products and enjoy new experiences through the process of creating rather than merely consuming.