Expert Commentary:
The Consumer Viewpoint

Creativity Investment Drives Growth

Joe McDonnell,
Head of Insight, WGSN

WGSN is the world’s trend forecasting authority, decoding the future to define what’s next so that people can make smarter decisions, today.

It’s well known that the retail landscape is increasingly fragmented.

Under attack from direct-to-consumer brands and the emergence of the ‘recommerce market’ – which is now the fastest-growing category in fashion retail – the retail sector also has to contend with the consumer embracing ‘the end of more’ trend, which is deterring them from purchasing new products. No wonder veteran retailers are wondering which products to invest in.

In a sea of buzzwords and far-fetched tech deployments, brands that are successfully future-proofing themselves against a shifting consumer base are leveraging creativity to look beyond traditional brand identity, packaging and comms, and instead are capitalising on the entire customer experience and looking for ways to connect with consumers at every stage of the journey.

Pioneering brands are moving beyond prioritising path-to-purchase and are instead leveraging the flexibility and creativity of UX design to create unique digital narratives, creating a path-to-people.

They are allowing consumers to control their own purchase journey, focusing on unique user experience rather than speed.

Gucci, for example, built an animated microsite filled with poetry and snakes for the launch of its Zumi bag. Maison Cleo has taken things a step further by only opening its ecommerce shop every Wednesday to keep the mother and daughter duo who run the shop stress-free. Spotify used its wealth of listening data to create a bespoke webpage for each user displaying simple personalised listening statistics in a beautifully-designed but novel way. This stimulating use of data saw ‘My Year in Spotify’ shares proliferate in December with socially optimised downloadable assets.

Creativity doesn’t have to revolve around digital innovation. London-based streetwear retailer Palace adopts a unique tone of voice that criticises shoppers for even being interested in products. This contrary marketing strategy sees fans turn scathing product descriptions into memes, extending the life of a traditional product page.

Disruption will continue across every sector, and as consumer mindsets begin to adapt to a post-purchase, ‘end of more’ mentality, brands must leverage creativity to build a connection when price, speed and convenience are no longer consumers’ only consideration.

The path-to-people and emotional stakeholders will make the difference between growth and stagnation. Creativity is the engine that will propel both forward – it’s time to step on the gas.