The circus of Fashion Month, the semi-annual series of fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan, India, and Paris, wrapped up recently. And as we sift—and scroll—through the digital detritus left behind, accurate images tend to stand out.
These photogenic, shareable, “Instagrammable” moments are now essential for designers seeking global publicity. Our first impressions of a fashion collection no longer come through the pages of a newspaper or magazine or the windows of a store but our phones.
But this behavior is not limited to just fashion collections or saving and sharing of memories. It has become a way of communication.
People are not saving these pictures on their next phones galleries unless they like it. They upload these photos on social media or cloud storage. Sometimes there are more options like a 24-hour time track in which they click and share, and then the picture is never thought of again. And sometimes the span of viewing can lie from 1 second up to 10 seconds if it's a Snapchat or Instagram story.
They are filtering their picture-viewing-peer-lists like never before. This is quite evident from the dissatisfaction expressed for the new Whatsapp feature of updating statuses (24 hr stories) like Snapchat. The millennials and Gen Z-ers were particularly particular about how they are communicating and with whom.
If one had to 'PictureChat' with a peer today and wore a basic red tee, that cannot get repeated for at least the next ten days because their social silos remember (even if it's just vaguely) that they wore it quite recently.
The consumers are becoming more particular about whether they look flawless in their photos, even if they've just started eating healthy in their real lives for the flawless skin. Aspirational (especially about their pictures) is how we could describe them.
SELECTIVE RETENTION - THE INFLUENCE OF PEER TO PEER
The study revealed that as many as one out of three states that social networks are their prime source of news, and only one out of four thinks that established news channels and newspapers can always be trusted to be accurate. In fact, 28 percent say that their contacts are a more reliable source of information than what is said on TV, radio and in newspapers.
This line of thinking extends to political views as well. More than one in four thinks their contacts’ opinions are more important than what politicians or other leaders say. With all the hoax on all kinds of media, first hand information is the single thin thread of truth the audience has left to hold on to.
Cosmetic companies, retail fashion stores are all coming up with trial rooms that are more selfie or picture friendly so that people can upload a picture and take an opinion from peers and contacts. Acceptance (in the form of likes, tags, shares and other titles that are awarded by social media) in their social silos is what this audience is looking for.
MOBILE FIRST & INSTANT GRATIFICATION
The era of zettabytes of streaming is on its way. In a post literate culture where text will be replaced by videos, pictures and visuals especially online, it is very important for all industries to adopt the picture culture. Everything must be visually pleasing, photogenic and camera friendly. From store formats, products, lighting and experience. A holistic capturable experience. Storytelling and story doing will happen in the form of pictures and videos from channels like Snapchat stories, Instagram stories, Facebook Live, posts and so on. These will be exchanged between peer groups and their call will be based on these. Easy do it yourself videos of everything are doing it’s rounds. Be it make up on Huda Beauty or #foodporn. The hashtag, filter and check in culture on these posts makes it available for an even larger base of audience. Brands must be on that trending hashtag. “If I’m not hashtagging, filter-watermarking, uploading a story about you, you are not cashtagging me.” is our modern consumer base.
The attitude governing this audience is that of instant gratification. They would like immediate appreciation for what they are doing so they can validate their achievements. This could range from taking up swimming lessons , travelling to a near by beach, working out, buying a healthy cold pressed kale juice (and not actually having it), getting a new dress, getting a new job or even getting a new partner.
Their smartphones come first. Satirically speaking that if falling off a bench, they would save their phone before their bone. They click everyone and everything bee it their grievance over the death of their neighbours' dog or the birth of a niece. And that's not all. Their peers should know how they feel and simultaneously express their opinions and feelings about the same, not to forget, that several emojis must follow to convey the exact (or close to exact) expression.
CELEBRITISATION AND MINI LUXURY
As 20 yr olds are becoming successful entrepreneurs, model, actors and role model, there is a frenzy among the GenZ and Millenials to acquire the status of 'Celebrity' sooner. They can't seem to wait to reach the pinnacles of success. They are doing every bit they can to make themselves feel like celebrities already. However, aspiration and affluence don't necessarily go hand in hand so they are taking to 'mini luxury'.
This audience indulges in activities and brands that make them feel more successful and give them a sense of achievement (provided their peers validate the same).
Somewhere along the line, however, the purchasing power is increasing, all classes are moving towards the feel of 'mini luxury' owners by experience more than product. This culture is the ‘Celebritisation’ of the brand along with the consumers.
FALLING ATTENTION SPANS
Nearly two-thirds of millennials would rather watch a video from a brand than read text, according to a new survey. The study revealed that seven in ten millennials were likely to watch a video when shopping online and eight in ten found video helpful when researching a purchase decision online.
We are stepping into the post literate era. The attention spans of people are falling and the level of impatience has increased. 'Instant' is the word of the moment used against a plethora of activities such as from cooking food to hair fall solutions. The consumer wants everything and wants it quick.
More blocks on pop-ups and ads, more filter from unwanted content, shorter videos, attention grabbing details presented sharply (mostly in the form of engaging visuals), smart product packaging to upload on their social media profiles. They want their contacts to remember them as much as brands want the customers to remember them by making the minimum amount of effort. Every one wants to have a 30-seconds-to-fame trick that works for them.
THE NEW COSTLIEST ORGAN
This is the kind of audience, if they could, they would implant their smartphones into their bodies and call it their most important organ.