Where will you be in 10 years’ time?
That is a hard question for anyone to answer.
However, it’s even harder for a brand since their answer will involve a lot of consideration about the state of the business industries and the needs of consumers in ten years’ time. Everything from the inner workings of the workplace to the products offered and the marketing channels used will radically change with the times and alter the fundamental nature of each brand and business.
Obviously, there are a lot of prediction articles, blogs, podcasts, vlogs, etc. to help with this consideration, but the only way that brands will gain a unique and more accurate indication of where they will be in ten years’ time, is through market research.
Market Research — The Crystal Ball
Catching a glimpse into the future can mean the difference between success and failure for a brand. These insights enable brands to manoeuvre through the different waves of trends, consumer needs, and technological advancements that will inevitably crop up many times in the future. However, with genuine psychic powers being a bit hard to come by, market research is a great alternative tool for brands to use instead.
Conducting market research can provide a continuous stream of insights that evolve as the world and consumers do. These insights pieced together can provide a picture of what the world could potentially be like; of course, with big events such as Brexit taking place, there is a great deal of uncertainty for the future of brands in the UK, but at the very least, market research can help inform contingency plans for whatever future might occur.
Whether you conduct market research or not is a significant indicator of where your brand will be in ten years’ time: if you do conduct market research then your brand is more likely to evolve alongside your customers’ needs, however if you don’t, then evolution is not in the cards for your brand, and extinction might well be.
Current Predictions for 10 Years’ Time
So, what is going on in the world in the next ten years?
This is the first question a brand needs to ask if they’re to properly visualise where their brand is going to be at this time. To help kickstart this part of the process along, it helps to read the many predictions that have been made about the state of business in the next ten years.
- Artificial Intelligence, is the big one of course — There are many predictions about how AI will increase security (mainly through the additional use of drones), generate new services, and otherwise empower brands through predictive algorithms.
- Sustainability — If sustainability is a big issue now, then it’s only going to get bigger as we get closer to the 2030 deadline depending on the progress made. However, with the world heating up, there is a case to be made for the increased use of thermal and solar energy, which is predicted in some cases to take over the popularity of fossil fuels. Solar energy in particular has doubled in the past 20 years, and now “only eight doublings away from meeting all of the world’s energy needs.”
- Virtual and Augmented Reality — Currently AR/VR is primarily used to expand the horizons of video games, but the potential applications for VR are so much broader than that. Virtual experiences in general are expected to rise, from watching tv shows to virtual tours and visits to family, this will be the next big thing to increase connectivity.
- Faster and better usability in computer technology — Technology covers a lot of ground, however, the technologies that have been mentioned quite a bit are wearable devices and the applications of smart technology. Wearable devices are set to expand to include glasses (like Google Glasses but commercially affordable); smart technology is set to take over life as we know it. With smart speakers being adapted for a broad range of purposes, it isn’t long before we’re predicted to have fully smart homes; but with this, will come a whole host of security and privacy crises that will need to be sorted before smart technology can be embraced to that extent.
Of course, these are only a very few predictions that have been made about the next ten years, there are many more to be discovered online and in business publications. But it is worth taking these predictions into account and have a good think about how they could potentially affect your business and how it operates.
Fending off Extinction
Blockbusters, while a great business in its time, didn’t plan well enough for the arrival and complete takeover of streaming websites such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Woolworths unfortunately couldn’t compete with the likes of B&M. And Toys R Us didn’t keep up with consumer desires and needs, which at the time were more digital toys than what they sold. None of these brands are in existence anymore, mainly because they failed to keep up with consumer demand.
The main thing to remember is that the world is constantly changing; a good knowledge of relevant predictions and an agile approach to market research are good building blocks to build a business strategy on.
Paying attention to the predictions that will have the most impact on your brand will allow you to better build a successful plan for the future. When building this plan, think about where you are now, where you want to be, and what you might need to do to make that a reality.
To achieve everything that your business is capable of, it is best to set goals that are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Keeping your goals well-defined and focused, but within the realm of achievability is essential for keeping your business moving forward. Regular goals, a realistic timeframe, all supported and continuously informed by tailored market research strategy will give your brand the best chance of success.
Becoming agile in your efforts will make making that plan a reality so much easier. This means creating a brand strategy that is flexible. Agile brands such as Apple and Curo keep themselves flexible and open to change within their industries; Apple are constantly looking for the next innovation, but keeping to their brand by working to make it simple. Curo are using market research to constantly evolve their services and processes to what suits their customers best.
The main thing to remember is that the world is constantly changing, and so your plan must combine the fundamental business tactics, with an open, forward-thinking approach to keep up with the latest tools, technologies, and strategies which can boost your brand’s success for the next ten years.
The original version of this article appeared on the FlexMR Insight Blog and can be accessed here.