Nov 18, 2016

Emotional lessons for 2017: Five things we learnt at Foresight Factory’s annual conference

Last week we had the pleasure of attending Foresight Factory’s, the consumer trends research, analysis and predictions experts, 2017 trends conference. Not only did we live demo our own technology, Sensum Insights, in the networking area but we sat through a day of fascinating presentations.

The day covered a huge variety of content, taking us through the global economy, the role of personality and how to achieve brand magic; just a drop in ocean of Foresight Factory’s expertise and knowledge. But what we really caught our attention was how the theme of emotions ran through almost all the presentations throughout the day. Suggesting that whatever industry you’re in, whatever angle you take - emotions are key and are only going to become even more key next year.

You can access all the presentations from the day through Foresight Factory’s online trend platform but we’ve summarised the five key emotional lessons we took below:

1. Feelings are stronger than fact - Our trust in facts and the traditional figures of authority, like political leaders, our boss and experts, is waning rather rapidly. Although given what’s been happening on the global stage over the last few years, I don’t think anyone can blame us! And so, we’re now turning to friends, family, trusted influencers and our own feelings for the answers. Trump managed to win the US election by tapping into the feelings of the majority, rather basing his campaign on facts. We’d never advocate anyone follow his exact lead but his success against Clinton shows just how important feelings are. We’ll be talking about this in more detail in another blog post soon.

2. Facebook is already investing in emotions - Social media, has and always will be, a way for us to express our personalities and therefore our emotions. Facebook is in the process of developing VR avatars to transform the website from a place where you post text, photos, and video to one where people can hang out in virtual space and feel as if they are conversing face to face. They want the technology to make it easier for people to communicate via emotions.

3. Understanding & influencing emotion is a vital ingredient for business success - This isn’t exactly news and has been the heart and soul of brands efforts. But according to Forrester, what is surprising is how emotion has been so poorly measured and incorporated into experience design and core operations. According to their 2017 predictions, customers who experience disgust, anger, or a feeling of neglect during a brand interaction are about eight times more likely not to forgive that company. Investing in tools to help better identify and understand these emotions is key.

4. People want you to make them feel good - Whether you’re something as functional as a supermarket or a bank, people want you to make them feel good when they interact with your brand. These positive feelings are are what enables you to create the ‘brand magic’, which enables you to retain loyalty and encourage advocacy. Consumers want to be delighted and filled with joy.

5. Time is short so make it emotionally engaging (and quick) - Audiences are overwhelmed with content, time poor and easily distracted. We’re all guilty of whizzing through news or social media posts on our phones on our commute to work. Brands need to develop content that is easily digestible during these rare quiet moment. And it needs to be emotionally engaging to stand out from the crowd.