Web Wisdom Makes High Street Wise

Web Wisdom Makes High Street Wise

The launch of Amazon Books in Seattle marks the next major trend in marketing and demonstrates how digital curation could modernise the high street through the application of online tactics in the offline world.

Introducing the online model into the offline world
The physical format of the book shop that is returning to the high street is very different than the version that has been disappearing. Amazon is mixing up instore recommendations that once only came from staff, placing online reviews of books alongside the physical copies instore. This integration has meant that the shop stocks lower ranking books such as Stephanie Hosford’s ‘Bald, Fat & Crazy: How I Beat Cancer While Pregnant with One Daughter and Adopting Another (ranked 622,923 in the company’s online store), but has a five-star rating from all 56 customers who have reviewed it online.

It’s about time!
The marketing trend of 2006 of ‘content content content’, transformed into ‘context context context’ in 2010, has now entered the phase of ‘curate curate curate’ in 2015 as a result of the imbalance between available information and time. Turning to behavioural economics, marketers have begun to acknowledge the most limited resource of their audience: time. By ensuring that information consumed by their audience is of the right fit, they can develop a new, more personal relationship.

Last year SnapChat launched Live Stories to curate stories from events, this year Spotify launched curated personal playlists and Instagram curated Halloween with ‘Watch Halloween’s Best Videos’. These networks have the ability to develop People Like Us (PLU) algorithms that can monitor behaviour can provide personalised recommendations based on similar behaviour. Similar algorithms are used by tools such as Percolate to help select content that brands can push out on social media but often it fails to encapsulate the personality of the brand or human characteristics. The crowdsourcing of user insights has enabled Amazon to refine their curations.

The value of curated content
With millions of critics reviewing and commenting on everything under the sun, the likes of John Peel, Roger Ebert and Giles Coren have become respectable thought leaders in their field thanks to curation. This is what made them stand out from the crowd and propelled their thoughts and tastes into the realms of the respected. Brands too can benefit from curation in this new world of information if they want to stand out from the crowd but they need to curate information that is of value to their audience.

Curation offers a valuable utility for customers, providing an appreciated resource and reducing the clutter. From a brand point of view it can also help demonstrate brand personality through editorial choices and selected information and sources. Confident brands that understand their ecosystem and know their personality stand a much better chance.

Online, brands can customise content to the individual visitor, but this is much harder to do in-store. Curating content and providing a platform for other people’s points of view in store not only reflects well on brand personality but also helps broaden appeal amongst a wider audience. Most importantly however, it enhances the ‘relatability factor’ of the brand, proving it to be multi-dimensional, or if you’d prefer, a little more human.

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Rich Coggin

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