Digital trends round-up – April 2014

Each month we bring you the FreshMinds Digital Trends Round-Up – a summary of innovations, new technologies and the latest digital trends to help you navigate today’s fast-paced, tech-enabled world. This month we’re examining consumer trust in brand generated content, Facebook’s rumoured move into the mobile payments space and brands using instant messaging platforms to gain in-the-moment insight.

Consumers distrusting of brand generated content

New studies suggest that consumer trust in brand generated content is low. Last week, The Reputation Institute reported that only 15.4% of British consumers believe what brands say in their advertising, whilst recent research from Ipsos Mori CT shows that millenials trust user generated content 50% more than any other media. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that an increasing number of companies are moving away from brand generated content and are instead looking to engage customers in the development and dissemination of their marketing strategies. Lego, for example, is working closely with consumers as part of its latest marketing campaign, encouraging fans to suggest ideas for new products and then share these on their social channels as a way of promoting the brand. With its army of loyal fans, Lego is well positioned to harness consumer creativity. But other brands will have to think more inventively to find ways of engaging consumers in their marketing campaigns.

Facebook users could soon store and transfer money on the site

Facebook looks set to be the next social network to facilitate mobile payments, following in the footsteps of China’s WeChat. According to the Financial Times, the social networking giant is close to securing regulatory approval for a service which will allow users to store and transfer money on the site. If Facebook obtains the necessary authorisation, payments will only be valid within Europe. However, it’s likely that Facebook’s ambitions are much broader than that and are tied to the company’s ambition to drive growth in emerging markets. If Facebook is able to extend its license beyond Europe, it would be ideally placed to facilitate transfers between immigrants in the developed world and their relatives in developing countries, thereby increasing market share in these emerging markets.

BBC harnesses WhatsApp and WeChat to gain in-the-moment insight on Indian election

The BBC has launched instant messaging platforms on both WhatsApp and WeChat to support its coverage of the Indian election. The BBC is using the apps to share news stories with Indian citizens, mirroring the strategies of consumer brands like Burberry, who are harnessing the technology to share branded content with customers. But what’s most interesting about the BBC’s adoption of the technology is that it’s enabling them to gain in-the-moment insight on the election. By asking voters to send videos, photos and messages, the BBC is able to see how Indian citizens react to the latest developments as they happen. With this in mind, will we see instant messaging apps emerging as a way of conducting research with consumers in other countries?