New decade, endless opportunities for digital communications​

New decade, endless opportunities for digital communications​

New decade, endless opportunities for digital communications

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I still remember the first iPod I bought. I was beyond thrilled about having a touch screen for the first time. I mean – how cool would that be – I kept on telling myself. 

The second I plugged it in though, I panicked. I actually had no idea how it worked. In despair, I called the only guy in my school that had one on my landline telephone. For a minute, I felt defeated by a piece of aluminium and I could forgive myself for allowing that to happen.

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More than a decade – and many more pieces of aluminium – later, technology does not quite have the same effect on me. I am one of those people that, one way or another, grew up with technology. One of those people that used analogue phones and single-use film cameras but was still young enough to learn side by side with Windows XP. Simply put, one of those people curious enough to take new discoveries with a thrill and roll with it. 

The beginning of this new decade could not be any more exciting. As if globalisation 4.0 was not enough of a novelty, the speed at which the digital sphere is evolving has so changed the rules of the game that the only option left for people and businesses alike is to either stay behind or get on board with it. Get on board with it now. 

Despite how scary and unpredictable it may all seem, what current developments show is an attempt to make the digital world more human; an attempt to gain back all those real connections we seem to have lost on the way. How? Hidden behind likes, shares and cryptocurrencies, here’s 5 key trends that will shape the digital narrative in 2020:


1. Gamification and interactivity

Busting the myth that our attention span is almost the same as that of goldfish is not quite the same as working towards making online content not only relevant but also engaging. Whether it is through online marketing, educational campaigns or websites’ UX design, the number of increasingly interactive content is growing by the hour. We are getting savvier, more creative users. We like challenges and practical examples. It is likely that with the increase in availability and the reduction in cost of augmented reality/ virtual reality technologies there will be wider usage of playful content, especially in learning contexts.


2. User Generated Content (UGC)

The good old mantra “Customer is King” is more valid than ever before. Thanks to social media, the audience has the opportunity to be part of “the conversation”, and shape it. While creating new content can be a very time consuming and often expensive task for businesses, learning how to maximise and take advantage of UGC is a game-changer for increasing brand-awareness, authenticity, and – ultimately – profitability. 


3. Widespread usage of video and audio content

More than 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day. For years, studies have shown how videos have the ability to catch – and keep – people’s attention better than text. But is that enough? Based on recent data, the answer is not as easy as it seems. The most viral videos are short (12 seconds or less), mostly in vertical form, and with background music or subtitles. Alongside voice research becoming more and more popular, podcasts definitely stand out. They are a great platform for both B2B and B2C businesses. They allow to tell a story, share information and yes, be personal at the same time. Better watch out for those.


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4. Brand Activism

The internet is more political than your uncle Jerry after a few glasses of wine on Christmas day. 

It turns out consumers care. They care about the products they buy and who’s behind them. They care about standing up for something – whatever that might be – and feel great pride in being part of a movement. Brands that declare their political views and proactively act towards social causes (e.g. being environmental-friendly, ensuring their workers are paid fairly, investing in gender equality etc.) are much more likely to be able to count on loyal customers and their social outreach. 

The risks involved with becoming too politicised are high, very high sometimes, but the ROI for firms that get this right can really be significant. 

5. Reactive Content

Almost like a Mario Kart race, strategic content marketing today is very much tied up to the external environment. What’s around you matters greatly.

Differently from traditional marketing where coming up with new ideas is a fundamental first step, reactive contact is based on current news and trends. The action can be as small as replying to a trending hashtag. The most important element is timing. For better or for worse, the right content at the right time can place your brand in front of the world within minutes. Sure, you must have specific guidelines and a savvy digital team, but adding value – maybe with a little sense of humour why now – to an online conversation truly has a great potential.


 Are you excited about 2020? What will be your next steps? Share your thoughts and fears with us. #Our2020

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Disunited? The future for regulatory divergence within the United Kingdom

Disunited? The future for regulatory divergence within the United Kingdom

Disunited? The future for regulatory divergence within the United Kingdom

At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the consolidated UK response saw all four nations of the United Kingdom emphasise their alignment with one another—a pragmatic approach that sought to provide clear, unified guidance to individuals and businesses, wherever they might be based across the country.

Particularly in recent days, however, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson allowing England to ease its lockdown and thus diverge from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; the crisis has shed an uncomfortably bright light on the fragile equilibrium of our federal government and its devolved administrations. And only a mere few are viewing this as the major constitutional moment that it is.

Throughout March and April, we at Quiller found that clients operating nationwide were subject to a number of conflicting workplace guidelines, predominantly affecting companies with commercial premises on both sides of the Anglo-Scottish border. This early lack of alignment provided scope for confusion amongst business and, in most cases, required specific and ongoing government engagement from trade bodies.

The situation has only become more of a quagmire in the wake of the central UK government taking steps to reopen the economy. While getting the country moving again was always going to be more complicated than shutting it down, national variation in the rules has exacerbated an already unclear situation, leaving both business leaders and employees feeling muddled and vulnerable.

While it might be tempting to view this as a COVID-19 phenomenon, divergence between the four nations—politically and regulatorily—is only set to increase. Although Conservative and Unionist Party politicians like to ostentatiously tout the latter half of their official title when it suits them, the political reality in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland has been shifting for some time.

Take Scotland, for example, where recent YouGov polling for next year’s 2021 Holyrood election projected 54% support for the pro-independence Scottish National Party (SNP), with the Tories lagging behind on 23% and Labour on just 12%. These stark figures are not a novel trend, either. In December’s General Election, the SNP took a staggering 47 of 59 Scottish constituencies. Like it or not, the events of the past six years have only exacerbated the tensions that brought about the 2014 Scottish independence referendum.

None of this is to suggest that First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has been politicking during the crisis. Her acknowledgement that the rate of virus transmission likely remains higher in Scotland than the rest of the UK is a sound explanation for deciding to stick with the ‘Stay At Home’ campaign. What it does tell us is that, in our post-pandemic future, the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will increasingly flex their devolved muscles as and when they see fit.

The situation will become even more acute once the UK decouples from the European Union at the end of the year. A major flashpoint for future regulatory difficulties is currently burgeoning in Northern Ireland, where the proposed post-Brexit border arrangements necessitate a dual tariff regime—essentially creating a customs border between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. While Northern Ireland will be required to stay in line with some EU Single Market rules, the rest of the UK will be free to diverge, potentially imposing regulatory checks on goods moving across the Irish Sea.

What does this mean in practice for companies operating across the four nations of the UK? With a wealth of Brexit-driven changes coming down the track, and with COVID-19 an externality we are likely to have to reckon with in the long term, it is clearer than ever that heightened regulatory divergence is here to stay—and this is something for which business need to be actively prepared. As many sectors have recently come to learn, resilience is key. As well as supporting clients with scenario planning, we at Quiller are consistently fine-tuning our future forecasting to stay one step ahead of the inevitable curve.

In a world that has brought us Brexit and Coronavirus in the space of less than five years, no watertight constitutional projections can reasonably be made—but it would be foolhardy to assume that everything will remain the same.