Adobe Lays Out Groundrules for Brands Working With Emerging Technologies

Brands need to display empathy when using VR to engage with consumers, the report found

Adobe has launched The Future of Experience report, which offers new rules of engagement for creating great experiences using a range of emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (AI), wearables and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Carried out by Goldsmiths University of London, the study used a variety of research methods, including workshops with consumers, interviews with technology experts and quantitative research online with over 2,000 UK adults in Great Britain.

The findings identified five new dimensions for brands to consider when it comes to creating experiences of the future. The first is empathy, to create deep and meaningful relationships. The research found that with these new technologies, especially VR, creating more immersive and deeply private environments that impact on both physical and mental states, brands will need to practice extreme empathy. Participants felt that these technologies have the unique ability to lend themselves to developing more meaningful experiences, with 32 per cent of GB adults saying that this is the top attribute of a great experience followed by personal (19 per cent).

The second requirement is Serendipity, using technology to aid discovery and surprise.
The study found that emerging technologies should be used to create experiences that fuel imaginative thinking. All participants, regardless of the technology used, cited their potential to make them more creative, as well as allowing them to discover new things. This is backed up by 64 per cent of the adults surveyed online, who said that a good digital experience allows them to discover new and unexpected things that they like and love. Elements of serendipity in an experience will build authenticity and, as a result, trust in brands, Adobe said.

The third requirement is Privacy. 52 per cent of those surveyed agreed that a good digital experience empowers them to use technology to not only connect to the world, but also, to disconnect from it. While it facilitates deeper relationships with the external world, emerging technologies like VR and wearables are also empowering consumers to create their own private digital worlds, where they choose the brands they interact with based on the quality of the experience offered.

Reciprocity is also important, the report found. AI has the ability to radically change experience, but we need to teach it. The research found that participants were excited about the possibilities AI applications presented and recognised the reciprocal nature of the relationship. 52 per cent of survey respondents said they would be happy to help ‘teach’ a machine if the feedback improved a number of elements in their lives such as personal health, social services, everyday services and decision-making around purchases. For now, said Adobe, the findings suggest that people will accept AI into their lives as long as the applications provide helpful, practical, personal and progressive experiences.

Finally, the report found that users desire seamless experiences. Respondents testing IoT and AI technologies were excited about their potential in terms of making life easier, but frustrated that the experiences were not as straightforward and seamless as they wanted. Brands must therefore adapt to provide seamless, integrated experiences, not only across many different channels, but also across products and services, and even entire markets. This multichannel requirement is highlighted in the retail environment particularly, where 35 per cent of adults surveyed online said they preferred making transactions in person, 30 per cent via a device and 32 per cent said they had no preference between the two.

“Digital transformation has presented enormous opportunities for businesses to reach customers in more meaningful and personal ways,” said Adobe EMEA marketing director, John Watton. “What we wanted to understand through this research was the opportunity for brands to use new techniques and channels to build deeper relationships. It’s clear that the potential is enormously exciting but these new experiences must be built with great care. What doesn’t change is that we must stay absolutely focused on the customer, show that we know, value and respect them and give them experiences that are consistent, personal and surprising.”

You can download the report here.