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Why Cult’s Glimpse into the Future is Exactly What Covid-Stressed Brands Need Right Now

Trends and Insight 354 Add to collection

Ahead of the launch of Cult Futures: The Creatology Report, Cult’s directors talk to LBB’s Natasha Patel about the creative media shifts that are coming faster than you think

Why Cult’s Glimpse into the Future is Exactly What Covid-Stressed Brands Need Right Now

The past two months have seen brands leap into action and embrace a long-needed digital revolution at dizzying speeds. Thanks to the Covid-19 crisis and global lockdown, the future is coming fast. Among all of this heady acceleration, independent creative agency Cult is launching Cult Futures, a new insight and incubation programme. They may not have planned to introduce all three episodes of Cult Futures: The Creatology Report in the middle of a pandemic, but their timing is spot on.


Right now, brands are facing unfamiliar territories and radical change, much of which has been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. The brains behind the Creatology Report hope it will help brands and businesses to thrive creatively in this new world, guiding them through the shifts in creativity and media, social change and emerging technology that’s driving them.


The report is comprised of three episodes, each championing cutting edge thinking to inspire brands to be brave and spark innovation. The research and incubation program has been devised in collaboration with leading futurist and award-winning author Lucie Greene, who has spent over a decade consulting for the world’s most influential Fortune 500 brands. Bridey Lipscombe, co-founder at the agency says: “Cult Futures: The Creatology Report manifests embracing the unknown through stand-out thought leading insight that resonates with 21st Century marketers and business leaders. The research shines a light into the chaotic and shape-shifting world of our creative and media landscape and offers solutions for brands looking to evolve themselves.”


The concept of ‘creatology’ – coined by communications director at Cult, Hugo Eyre-Varnier - encapsulates the merging of creativity and technology that’s at the heart of the report, and the agency’s view of the future.


According to Charlotte Bunyan, head of strategy at the agency, the project goes beyond just a report and is one part of the bigger Cult Futures initiative which encapsulates an incubation lab exploring future product or service innovations and a talent stream focussed on the next wave of creatologists. All of this ties into Cult’s ingrained history as an agency to be innovative and break new ground. Charlotte adds: “The Creatology Report is the first outing – but it is only one part of where we want to take the Cult Futures idea”.


The team started work on the project back in October and had always set May as a time to launch Episode 1 on ‘The Sensory Internet’. But, with times and attitudes to media shifting on a large scale, now seemed the right time to accelerate the roll out of the whole report for brands to gain new insights in how to survive in this ever-changing market.


But while there’s a serendipitous timeliness to the report, Charlotte says that its relevance and reach goes beyond the current disruption. “Our hope is that this report will prove interesting and pertinent to many brands and can help shape some of the changes the sectors we work in are already beginning to think about - or do”.


“As this was conceived before [the virus], our intent is for its relevance to go beyond just talking about how we’re behaving during the pandemic. There will be another ‘new normal’ post-lockdown which consumers and brands will need to navigate, that will, by necessity, include new behaviours and attitude shifts that have occurred during this time.”


Nonetheless, there’s no denying Covid-19 and the lockdown have had a major impact on areas like ecommerce and mixed reality – two things the report touches upon. Cult had been working on the report for months before the first case was known, so it has been fascinating for them to see the shift from merely discussing sentient technologies and converged platforms with creators and cultural institutions to witnessing an accelerated rise in adoption; from virtual catwalks to social and gaming hybrid experiences.


During the research phase, Cult talked to high profile figures blazing a trail in a variety of sectors. Charlotte adds, “That’s given us a great layer to contextualise what we’re talking about in the report and add that personal level of what’s inspiring them and how they are playing with creativity, technology, new platforms, and experimenting with them.”


Perhaps the biggest takeaway is just how dramatic the coming shifts will be. With ecommerce booming now, it’s only a matter of time until brands invite consumers into immersive virtual showrooms where they can engage with products through multiple senses. Luxury ateliers and car showrooms will be a thing of the past and with brands such as Dior creating their own luxurious virtual reality headsets, it won’t be long before others follow suit.


Over the coming month, we’ll be diving into each chapter of the report with the Cult team. So, what’s to come from Episode 1: The Sensory Internet? The chapter will focus on the way technology is opening up digital experiences to be far more multisensory from their inception and heralding a new era of more ‘empathetic’ AI. Charlotte reveals: “All of the senses play a big part in our experience of brands - and ultimately the memorability of that brand. If you’re able to use smart devices to create richer, more personalised and ‘smarter’ engagement that can drive greater value for consumers as well as brands.”


To read the report click here.

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CULT, Thu, 14 May 2020 14:44:42 GMT