The Reception


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Digital tension trends

I was fortunate to attend a presentation by Mark Curtis, chief client officer, who shared the 2018 Fjord Trends which are an insight into what’s ahead in technology, business and design. Compiled through interaction with both their geographically diverse staff and clients, Fjord annually releases these trends to provide direction and inspiration across the globe. Hosted by The Marketing Society at the Accenture Interactive offices in Singapore, it was wonderful to hear insights from a globally aware thought leader, sharing trends and examples of brand bravery from the all over the world including the US, China, Australia and Europe! The meta-theme Mark shared is “tension”; where we as consumers and business leaders struggle to keep up with the pace of change and be comfortable with convenience at the expense of a potential future lack of choice.  

Trends shaping the future

Every year technology evolves, changing everything from what products, content and media we consume, through to how and why we consume it. This year Fjord Accenture provided us a thought-provoking view on which technologies are likely to have a real impact over the next two years at the Society's Digital Trends event. Comfortably seated on the 31st floor in a mini auditorium we listened to Fjord co-founder, Mark Curtis. His presentation covered seven different trends (all of which are detailed on the Fjord website), two of which are already starting to have a considerable impact and marketers need to cognizant of: 1: Slaves to the algorithm Technology is deeply integrated into our lives. Digital is not new, it’s the norm.

Tartan trouser trends

On the evening of Wednesday 7th March, I was lucky enough to join nearly 50 of the great and the good of The Marketing Society Singapore’s membership, at the super cool Accenture Digital Hub in Raffles City Tower to discuss Fjord’s Annual Trends. I say discuss, but in fact we mostly listened spellbound to Mark Curtis, the Co-Founder and Chief Client Officer of the design and innovation consultancy who became part of the Accenture family in 2013. He was resplendent in very loud tartan trousers as an homage to the 1970’s punk band the Sex Pistols, pioneers of musical innovation and force of massive disruption in their day. He outlined the seven key trends disrupting the marketing community today from the perspective of his agency’s staff and some of their clients worldwide. So here they are.

Interview with Mark Curtis

He designed the first marketing use of virtual reality in 1993 and as CEO of Fjord, he raised over $10m and pioneered the freemium model for the mobile-dating industry. So it's to no surprise, we had to invite Mark Curtis, co-founder and Chief Client Officer of Fjord to speak at our Digital Trends dinner in Singapore. Ahead of the event, we catch up with Mark to talk leading the digital sphere, being a 'Living Brand' and how design and data can work hand in hand. Why did you launch your company, Fjord? When I co-founded Fjord in 2001 with Olof Schybergson and Mike Beeston, the dot-com bubble had just burst and many businesses were abandoning digital as a strategy.

When did we stop thinking?

In medieval times, moral philosophy was ‘absolutist’. This is the belief that there was a definite right and wrong in all circumstances. The main reason for this was religion. Life and death depended on religion, and religion depended on belief not reason. So humans were limited to obeying, not thinking. But since medieval times, religion has lost its grip on our minds. Now we are capable of thinking and questioning. And that has led to the rise of ‘relativist’ moral philosophy. Relativist differs from absolutist because all answers are dependent on circumstances. So all answers are relative, not absolute. For instance, we still accept “Thou shalt not kill” as a general rule. But now we also think first. If we kill a single evil person in order to save the lives of thousands of innocent people, can that be wrong? The same is true with homosexuality, gender equality, slavery, or torture. Many things which were taught as unquestionably right or wrong can now be seen as more nuanced, less simplistic.

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