The Future of Brands: Innovation and Personalisation

By Ideas Matter

Brands owners— those who rely on their trade marks to help identify and distinguish their products, services and companies— are facing numerous market changes and challenges. Alan Giles of the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, explored these developments in the recent British Brands Group’s annual Brands Lecture, summarising the future of retailing as “Never mind the quality, feel the personalisation”.

Giles reviewed the market issues facing brand owners, which he sees as including— the rise of ‘limited assortment discounter’ retailers:

- the evolution of traditional retailers into multi-channel and online vendors

- the success of e-commerce powerhouses such as Amazon

- technology developments that improve efficiency, encourage new market entrants, and offer consumers a range of new products and service options

- mergers and alliances

- international expansion

One important trend in responding to these challenges is to personalise propositions to better meet the needs of individual consumers, and leverage technologies which recognise the individual, even through mobile phones. “Many retailers like Target are now using data analysis to provide personalised offers,” noted Giles. “Shop Direct’s data scientists used the etailer’s wealth of customer data, including knowledge of where you are, to develop an in-house algorithm to predict consumer behaviour.”

Retail sales still have a future, argues Giles, but “in the future the greatest rewards will go to those with upstream IP and innovation or those who offer impartial, pan-retailer advice.” 

For more information, see the overview and video of Giles’ Brands Lecture here, and the full transcript here