Our conference round-up


Lessons for brands from Brexit

The conference calendar was kicked-off with Alison and Kate Fanning, Insight Manager at John Lewis, presenting at MRS Annual Impact Conference. Alongside the financial and third sector, they presented a case study on how brands could act upon the insight gained post-referendum. 

Millennials Debate: how brands must adapt or suffer

The Millennial 2020 Summit examined these digitally-savvy consumers and how they are affecting the future of retail. Here are our 3 key take-outs... 

Leverage Millennials’ thirst for newness in their love/hate tech relationship 

Millennials are famously consumed in the digital world, but their relationship with it is ambivalent. James Guerrier, Director of Consumer Insights at Viacom: “Tech is seen as the frenemy”. Millennials are completely obsessed with looking at their phones but often hate being so addicted! Hours pass by in a flash and many sessions end with a strong sense of having achieved little. This fuels a desire for memorable real-life events that provide more substantive pleasures – travel, eating out and emotion-led experiences being top priorities. Brands must learn to meet these cravings. 

Image from Why Millennials Matter (www.whymillennialsmatter.com

Make customer experiences frictionless and immersive 
Millennials expect to be able to get stuff whenever and wherever. Their propensity to flit between brands online means they are often disloyal customers, easily diverted by social media feeds. This hunger for instant gratification makes fast, seamless payment and delivery processes a must. However, browsing (in-store or online) doesn’t always have to be easy. Millennials relish immersive experiences that get them as addicted as their social feeds. Stores have to work hard to keep them caught up in a world that’s about doing and being, not just possessing. 

Be authentic, inclusive and empowering 
Millennials want to escape traditional boundaries, be these related to gender, ethnicity or religion etc. They want careers that reflect the things that excite them – following their hearts rather than the next job opportunity. More companies need to tap into this mind-set by building a consistently fun dialogue where products, services and communications are developed in partnership. Millennials don’t want to be just passive consumers. They want to know brands are listening and helping them connect with their passions. 

The more retail changes the more it stays the same 

Earlier this month Nick Bonney was part of a panel discussion on ‘Shopper Marketing in a Multichannel World’ at the Retail Design Expo. He has 3 principal observations on what he heard from the conference and what it means for retail...

Firstly, technologies such as RFID and face recognition are increasingly being explored by brands as a way of both creating more personalised communications at point of purchase and delivering a better in-store experience.


Secondly, in a mobile-first world, store formats need to evolve fast in search of a role that can’t be usurped by online alternatives. Lloyds, Costa and Wickes were cited as good examples of how the physical can fight back against digital.


Thirdly, despite all the emphasis on technology and design, it was refreshing to hear from so many brands how the focus on understanding the shopper, and delivering a retail proposition that align with needs, is still top of the agenda. So much of the work ABA does underlines the fact that truly understanding consumers and category context is vital to retail experiences that command attention and loyalty. This theme was echoed loudly in the panel sessions on multi-channel and reinforced by speakers from Vodafone and Wickes.