The Visualisation of Business and Technology in a Post COVID-19 World
The role of technology in business and our everyday lives has significantly increased in the past few months. From remote working and virtual meetings to online learning and weekend Zoom calls with family and friends, how technology has enabled all aspects of our lives has amplified. And that’s represented in how we feel about technology and how it’s come to shape the visual world around us.
Earlier this year, iStock by Getty Images released its global Visual GPS study, which revealed that 79% of people believed that technology had made them feel connected to those who mattered most. Following the pandemic, technology has become synonymous with connection itself.
New ways to reach customers
With more people online than ever before and consuming increasing amounts of content, technology presents an opportunity for small businesses to create an even stronger relationship with their customers. According to a recent Nielsen study, consumers forced indoors during a crisis had spent 60% more time on media. There has never been a better time for small businesses to seize the moment and use digital media to get in front of their target audience.
As consumers continue to adjust to the new normal, businesses are also still adapting to the new ways of working. With that, businesses have the opportunity to revamp the more traditional forms of marketing, such as email marketing or digital advertising on social media, in ways that respond to consumers’ lockdown-related needs and concerns. For example, technologies such as WhatsApp Business allow brands to connect with audiences via live chat, offering new ways to communicate their message. Ensuring that visual content is both resonant and optimised for mobile should be a key consideration for small businesses taking advantage of new channels.
Businesses can visually demonstrate their ability to adapt to a new normal and continue to offer clients value from afar by delivering the right kinds of visual content that show companies are in tune with what people need and want in their current circumstances. Identifying those needs is crucial in order for businesses to create the right content to suit them.
Representing technology as a helpful tool in current times
In my work, I collaborate with photographers and art directors to provide the most up-to-date visual content for businesses. When it comes to technology, our global Visual GPS research has revealed that 74% of people said that technology had helped them keep track of goals and 82% said mobile devices had helped them stay connected to what’s happening in the world. It is key therefore that brands demonstrate the impact of technology in a relevant way.
Our findings have shownshow 62% of brands had been looking to depict technology benefiting or working alongside humans. In response to this, we’ve found that there are a number of effective approaches to take when visualising technology:
1.) Show technology as the centre of the action – visualise how people are using technology to interact with your products or services. For example, recent searches on iStock show image searches for “online learning” have increased by 5700%, and “telecommuting” is a new significant term across Southeast Asia that has emerged since lockdown began.
2.) Show how technology has brought people together – technology has the power to bring people together during the lockdown and beyond. You can champion this as it relates to your business offerings. Customer searches on iStock mirror this with searches for “video call” and “webinar” increasing by 4100% and 3600%, respectively, as well as searches for ‘virtual meeting’ – a new significant term in Southeast Asia – continuing to grow.
3.) Use graphic illustrations that represent the connections that technology enables – showcase how your product or service can be accessed using the latest in technology, bringing purchasing power to customers’ fingertips.
Taking these insights on board, companies can begin to deliver againsting what their customers need. Small businesses can create visual content for their marketing campaigns which directly address the matters important to customers – such as technology as a tool for better connection and productivity in these unprecedented times.
This article is contributed by Kate Rourke, head of creative insights, APAC at iStock by Getty Images.
Study: Human connections at physical stores key to retail business revival after COVID-19
Human connections at physical stores will be the key to business recovery after COVID-19, while it is expected that customers will change their lifestyle in the future, according to a A.S. Watson Group survey.
Conducted by A.S. Watson Group’s research division WISE, the Global COVID-19 Survey showed that the pandemic had changed the way consumers shop and live, with the value of relationships becoming increasingly high.
In the group’s just-published survey of over 22,000 respondents aged from 15 to 65 across over 20 markets in Asia and Europe, 90% said that they would continue to shop online.
The survey revealed that a clean sweep (100%) of respondents said they would go back to physical stores for shopping, especially Gen Z, with one-third saying they would even shop in physical stores more often.
“While the pandemic accelerated e-commerce growth and technological developments, the crisis has underlined customers’ desire for human connections, and for the future of retail, these bonds will become even more important,” said Malina Ngai, group COO of A.S. Watson Group and CEO of A.S. Watson (Asia & Europe).
“Technologies are designed to enhance the experience, but they can never replace an exceptional, quality service, strong relationships and personal connections with our customers,” she added.
The survey also revealed 70% of respondents said their income had been or would be affected by the pandemic. When asked about how their lifestyle would change after COVID-19, 92% of respondents said they would take part in outdoor activities, followed by cooking at home (91%) and applying their own beauty treatments (84%).
In China, Gen Z now has the greatest spending power, with spending reaching RMB4 trillion (US$58.45 billion), representing 13% of national household consumption. More customers are shopping at night between 11pm and 1am. Dental floss, face masks and shampoo are the top selling items.
“Our insights show that in addition to seamless online and offline shopping experiences, customers are more emotionally demanding for relevance and care. As A.S. Watson enters the new normal, we need to rethink our strategies and approaches to meet and adapt to the changing demands of our customers,” Ngai concluded.