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SXSW key trends: What CPGs should be thinking about

Sloan Broderick has come full circle in his career now leading digital for Consumer Goods with Accenture Interactive.

What’s your professional journey been like?
I’ve come full circle in my career, having started in technology consulting, moved to digital agency-land in strategy, marketing, and media; and now leading digital for Consumer Goods with Accenture Interactive. It’s truly inspiring as we’ve scaled a new agency model ($3bn+ globally) that blends digital, consulting, design-led thinking and execution at scale.

What do you do in your spare time?
When I’m not travelling, I love spending time with family - I’ve got three young kids, two girls and a boy (8, 7 and 4 years old). We love traveling together, swimming, and cooking as a family. I personally love golf & scuba…when I can get away! I also love live music – which at SXSW was fantastic, but not enough - so my wife & I are NOLA JazzFest 2016-bound, can’t wait!

Coming out of South by South West, what trends do you see impacting consumer goods?

  • Virtual Reality – While not adopted at scale by consumers yet, clearly gaming and entertainment experiences will change dramatically. In the corporate world, at an enterprise level there are rapidly growing use cases that will change employee experiences. Using VR to train employees on specific skills, customer service, and field service calls are just a few examples. As advertising experiences move towards incorporating VR, brands face similar challenges we see now, adding VR content/experiences to the list of channels they need to produce content for, at scale.

  • Design Trends – This is really relevant for the CPG industry. What SXSW showed was there are more brands putting design thinking first when creating consumer experiences, and that is critical to managing consumer relationships In the future. ‘Every product is a service waiting to happen’ (source Fjord trends) means that consumers want, and expect more from CPG products. The brands that move quickly to redefine CRM from ‘a collection of coordinated messages across channels’ to experiences that live and grow with every consumer interaction will win.

  • Living Services – Consumer expectations change so quickly- it’s the combination of the digitization of everything & consumer’s liquid expectations. This is impacting how we live, shop, travel, study and work—and likely your brand is being viewed through a lens from a non-competitive industry without even realizing it (Why isn’t this as easy as Uber?). Brands need to work towards removing mundane tasks from the thinking list, and anticipating consumer needs in delightful ways. Defining what personalization means within your brand/product experience is critical path in the near future for CPGs and it’s how we can create "Living Services".

  • Personalization – From the products themselves to marketing and in-store experiences. The missing link, a gaping hole for CPG companies is not having good usable consumer data they can turn into a personalized experience. There are enough data sources available to CPGs now to close this gap, but it means that data management muscle needs to be developed and scaled. At SXSW there were certainly a lot of customized experiences for people to engage with, but none that I saw that actually "knew me" and my past interactions with the brands (except maybe Ubers surge pricing!).