Voice-activated “home assistants” are becoming increasingly popular. STOCK PHOTO

Voice-activated “home assistants” are becoming increasingly popular. STOCK PHOTO

Column: It’s Your Business – What’s trending for 2019?

Joe Smith

Special to The Record

The internet has dramatically changed the way we market and communicate. It is therefore not surprising that for the most part, it will influence what is trending.

That word – influence – has been around for a few years now and it is becoming more of a factor when people are making buying decisions. More specifically, the trend is to incorporate influencers, especially the micro or average consumer kind, as a key component of a marketing strategy. In fact, studies have shown that 80 per cent of consumers are more than likely to act on recommendations made from people they know.

Another trend yet again related to the world of new technology is the use of voice to do searches on the internet or simply turn on the lights in the living room. Smart speakers, while making great strides, will become even more important in people’s daily lives. One study reported that 65 per cent of people who use a voice controlled device wouldn’t go back to living without one.

Along similar lines, chatbots are on the rise. With the expectation that businesses should be open 24/7, companies are finding that a good chatbot program can help answer common questions and most importantly solve customers’ issues without having to put them on hold until a representative can deal with them.

The dominance the digital world is playing in the area of communication is once again highlighted by the increased use of video. There are predictions out there by experts that more than 80 per cent of web content will be video based. Youtube right now is second only to Google in terms of global traffic.

And if regular video is not enough, one of the fastest moving technologies is VR/AR or virtual and augmented reality. While mostly associated with gaming, some companies are experimenting with it to enhance customer experiences. One tech company, for example, used AR to walk their clients through a trade show. Others have used virtual product walkthroughs to provide a new and creative way of giving customers a virtual hands-on experience.

While all this new technology may be exciting and cutting-edge, there is one element of every strategy and campaign that cannot be ignored. And that is creativity. In order to capture the consumers’ attention it is essential to be able to relate to them and engage them in the narrative of your story and in a manner they understand and is relevant to their needs.

Along with good storytelling, you must use compelling graphics whether static or moving to grab their attention. Some reports indicate social media posts get three times more engagement if they use a photo and those with video can potentially generate twice as much as that.

If you have not looked into any of these trends now would be a good time to do it. When you consider that IBM introduced the first speech recognition tool in 1961 … it could only recognize 16 words … it was only in 2012 that Apple introduced Siri and just look how far and fast we have come in those few short years.

Joe Smith is a communications consultant and an accomplished fine artist. He can be reached via email at joesmith@shaw.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dr. Sandra Allison and Dr. Charmaine Enns joined school district senior staff for a virtual town hall meeting to address the latest COVID concerns in schools. Image, screenshot
No secondary cases in Comox Valley schools, say health officers

School district hosts virtual town hall to address recent COVID-19 cases in schools

One of the rescues at CATS - Cat Advocates Teaching & Saving Society’s new location on Knight Road in Comox. Photo by Erin Halushak
Feline rescue organization growing into new space

Cat Advocates Teaching & Saving Society opens new facility on Knight Road

Comox Valley RCMP had access to 20 Street blocked off between Cousins and Choquette avenues as they conducted a raid of a house on the block. Photo by Terry Farrell
Comox Valley RCMP raid Courtenay problem house, several arrests made

Neighbours have reached out to media on several occasions with complaints about the property

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Tentative COVID-19 vaccine site chosen in the Comox Valley

B.C. is moving into Phase 2 of its COVID-19 mass immunization plan

Cumberland is considering downtown densification proposals, and with that comes questions around parking, among other things. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Water bottling ban, parking key changes for Cumberland zoning

Bylaw on amendments still need adoption following March 2 hearing

Sean LaFleur and Geoff Piper of Courtenay Nissan will be running 4 miles every 4 hours all weekend long in a fundraising campaign for YANA (You Are Not Alone).
VIDEO: Courtenay Nissan hosting YANA fundraiser

Courtenay Nissan is hosting a special YANA fundraiser all weekend long, from… Continue reading

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Burnaby Mounties responded to 56 complaints and issued 10 tickets to people flouting COVID-19 restrictions in February. (Patrick Davies/100 Mile Free Press)
COVID denier fined $2,300 for hosting gathering in her home: Burnaby RCMP

The woman told Mounties she does not believe the pandemic is real

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

The intersection of Melrose Street and Third Avenue. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Suspect in custody after two pedestrians struck in Port Alberni hit and run

RCMP asking for video footage, credit witnesses for quick arrest

The Courtenay Fire Department hopes to start a new recruit training program in mid-2021, pending Provincial Health Orders. Scott Stanfield photo
Courtenay Fire Department gets creative

Due to public health orders resulting from COVID, the Courtenay Fire Department… Continue reading

(National Emergency Management Agency)
No tsunami risk to B.C. from powerful New Zealand earthquake: officials

An 8.1 magnitude earthquake shook the north of New Zealand Thursday morning

(AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)
Pandemic stress, isolation key factors as to why Canadians turned to cannabis, alcohol

Study found that isolation played key role in Canadians’ substance use

Most Read