Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Brands’ use of connected experiences is booming, across multiple platforms

By Greg Brooks, CMO, SharpEnd

Hands up if you’ve scanned a QR code recently? Keep them up if you’ve tapped an NFC trigger (hint – you probably all have when paying for something).

You don’t need to travel far to see that digital triggers are appearing everywhere, on all kinds of media and packaging, doing all sorts of useful and / or strange things…but what is the real state of brands’ use of connected experiences? Will we see more or less in the future? And what are the benefits to brands of connecting all their touchpoints? (another hint – first party data is a big part of it).

Luckily, the answers are all below.

We recently commissioned Censuswide to conduct an independent research project asking 1,000+ brand and marketing budget holders and decision makers in the UK and US about their use of the technology and their thoughts on the growing connected industry.

The SharpEnd Connected Experience Report Vol. 2 (Vol. 1 was about consumer sentiment) focuses on five key areas for brands:

  1. The connected consumer journey – looking beyond connected packaging, connected products and connected experiences to a world where everything is connected and what that means for brands.
  2. Design – how the packaging design industry is responding to an increasing demand for connected solutions from brands.
  3. Sustainability – how connected experiences are playing an important role in helping brands communicate their progress on sustainability and what more can be done.
  4. NFC – focusing on the huge potential of the growing NFC market, why consumers want more and how brands are responding.
  5. Legislation – exploring the latest trends and how brands are delivering on new legislation using QR codes and NFC.

If FOMO motivates you, then know that 89% of brands are currently using some form of connected experience to drive engagement in-store and on-product and 85% of brands are committed to increasing their investment in connected experiences in the next 12 months.

If sustainability is core to your brand, then you’ll be interested to read that 91% of brands believe they should be adopting connected experiences to support their sustainability efforts, with 85% stating a strong belief that it can help them reach their sustainability goals.

Did you know that there is a raft of upcoming legislation that will also drive more brands to adopt digital triggers? From Digital Product Passports to Extended Producer Responsibility to the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive or the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, the legislation coming is placing more onus on brands to show transparency in their supply chains and sourcing…and many brands believe that digital triggers will become mandatory for certain areas such as: sustainability credentials (50%), authentication (46%), ingredients and provenance (44%) and legitimising product claims (42%).

And if a data story is your thing, then you’ll be interested and probably unsurprised to read that a massive 92% of brands say first party data is a key pillar within their marketing strategy, which explains why the uptake and interest in QR and NFC digital triggers is so high.

In the absence of a direct-to-consumer (DTC) business model, enabling your product, packaging, media, events, and anything else you invest in to provide a flow of first party data is a must.

Indeed the need to capture and build first party data as the marketing world moves into a new era of personalisation and consumer orientated privacy regulation (death of cookies) is uppermost in brands’ minds. Many see connected experiences coupled with a joined up CRM approach as the best way to get closer to their consumers in a performance-led world, especially if this relationship is currently dis-intermediated by retailers.

There are lots more insights and tonnes more data in the 87 page report, so I suggest that you download it and have a good read.

In fact, go further than that. I invite you to steal absolutely everything in the report. Pretend it’s yours, take all the credit, and put these insights to good use because we’re keen for the industry to grow and a rising tide floats all boats. Just remember that if you need any help with any of it, you know where we are.