Digital Trends: 02.02.22

NFTs & Idiot Magnets
The market value of NFTs is over $41bn and everyone is taking notice. Facebook is reportedly working on capabilities to help users create and sell NFTs, and Twitter is allowing users to feature their NFTs as avatars. So where does this leave marketers? The Drum highlights 4 ways brands can think about NFTs (storing memories, digital identity, play-to-earn, and physical ‘unlockables’). Mark Ritson profanely makes his way through the subject in his latest essay framing NFTs as magnets for idiots “vulnerable to bullshit.” If you want to learn more about NFTs and Web3 more broadly, Folding Ideas has an excellent video that you can make your way through over the course of a few coffee breaks.

Digital & Physical Retail
While the metaverse gets a lot of attention, I’m personally more drawn to how technology can augment existing businesses and behaviours. There are plenty of cool examples in retail. Wunderman has useful write-ups on how familiar e-commerce elements can complement IRL shopping (see the Lego Personalization Studio) and how digital content can add an immersive, experiential layer to stores (see Nikeland/Roblox). Amazon has also introduced a new physical fashion store concept called Amazon Style that weaves together familiar online shopping features into an offline retail environment – lots to unpack in this 1-minute concept video.

Innovation & Vaporware
Speaking of concept videos, I love them. I’ve spent countless hours creating storyboards for how technology can come to life and benefit users in new yet natural ways. It's easier said than done. One time I created a script that was perhaps a tad unnatural, to which a Creative Director accused me of writing “scenario porn”. I digress. Here is a framework I created to help in this area.
Some new concepts were introduced during CES that this writer really hopes come true (Carcopter anyone?) The NYT also has a good article on why Silicon Valley is still waiting for the next big thing after the iPhone (because hardware is, well, hard), and Google gives a glimpse on its latest AR headset work. Insightful quote on the impatience that we have with tech innovation: “When we hear about a new technology, it takes less than 10 minutes for our brains to imagine what it can do. We instantly compress all of the compounding infrastructure and innovation needed to get to that point….that is the cognitive dissonance we are dealing with.”

Spotify, Rogan & Social
I’m facing an existential crisis as a fan of both Neil Young and Spotify. Plenty has been written about the controversy involving artists leaving Spotify to protest COVID misinformation from Spotify-exclusive podcaster Joe Rogan. I thought Kara Swisher had a great take on the controversy during a recent Pivot podcast, making clear distinctions between:

  • Platforms (where others post on) vs. Media Companies (+ exclusive content you post)
  • Censorship (suppressing material) vs. Editing (fact-checking material)

That said, I love the UX of Spotify. Their Design Team regularly publishes stories about what they are working on, including their most recent social listening feature Blend – creating a playlist that combines peoples individual tastes. AKA “that song must be one of yours.”

New Research & Decks

  • Global Digital Report: We Are Social publishes this mother-of-all digital trends reports annually. If you’re looking for recent data on digital usage, you’ll likely find it in this 300-slide report.
  • Contagious Report: Here is the latest from Contagious that captures the trends from the 2022 advertising zeitgeist. Lots of great examples featured.
  • Social Commerce: Shopify has a new report on social commerce trends (lots of growth to come), with some very useful examples and descriptions.
  • Shopper DNA: Dentsu has published a trend report on the future of retail. It hits on some of the themes mentioned above regarding digital augmenting physical shopping environments and rituals.

Good Reads

Finally, I think I’m the only person on Twitter (and certainly in my family) not playing Wordle. Love that they sold quickly to the NYT before thousands of copycats stole their thunder. Now how much f&#king money will Sweardle sell for?

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