Meet Matthew. He’s smiling and welcoming on the customer service chat screen. I needed to make a product enquiry on a financial services product before planning to sign up, but dreaded the thought of being on hold or lost in IVR roundabouts for most of my lunch break. So I went with the chat option. I was also quite thrilled that this particular company even let me choose my customer service chat consultant from a range of a half a dozen or so available profiles and pictures. [Ah… very clever I thought - like choosing a Gaming Avatar! I’m engaged in this experience already! Nice touch!] Matthew seemed cool. He was friendly, fast, helpful. When he needed to take some time to check the details on something, he let me know he was looking into it and would be back on the chat in under 5 minutes. I was happy to wait. Could multi-task arranging a tuner for my daughter’s piano in parallel to sorting out some meetings at work. Matthew was knowledgeable. He got the facts right. The experience was smooth. And friendly enough. I was happy.
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.
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.
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.
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.