Q: What is the most important challenge to address at DMS this year?
A: One of the greatest challenges for media professionals is the temptation to ignore the consumer. With abundant innovation, bewildering pace of change and new, unexpected competitors appearing daily, it is far too easy to forget who, and why, we are creating all of this for. And even more important, is to remember that we are all human; that we cannot be reduced to data and predictive analytics and that emotional insight will be as crucial as behavioural data.
Q: What excites you the most about the media industry looking ahead at 2018?
A: The lines are blurring between media, channels and brands; which is a massive challenge and opportunity. It is perhaps the chance for many media brands to reassert themselves and move from documenting culture and business, to creating it.
Q: What is the biggest industry trend at the moment?
A: There isn’t only one big trend, but one of the fascinating shifts is that whilst many of us are fixated on the fragmentation of media, we should also be aware of the even greater fragmentation of consumers. Long gone are the days when people could be easily placed into neat demographic or attitudinal boxes and they would remain in those boxes for years. Now, we are seeing fluid notions of identity, community and family emerge, which makes identifying your consumer like a game of 4D chess.
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
A: Many businesses and teams are focused on the near term because of the pressures of business performance or personal KPIs. But the best way to ensure a brighter future in today’s climate of growing uncertainty and massive acceleration, is to have an informed, insightful view of the future. It is extremely rewarding to help businesses feel prepared for what’s next. And preparation is everything, especially if you want to turn uncertainty into opportunity.
Trevor Hardy is Chief Executive of The Future Laboratory; a futures consultancy founded in 2001 with offices in London, Melbourne and New York. The firm specialises in transformational foresight, strategy and innovation, bringing clients practical and applied futures to create new revenue streams, better connect with their next generation of consumers, create and launch new products and re-invent whole categories. He advises boards and leadership teams on how to harness the long-view and how a long-term outlook is the best way to protect and grow a business in times of rapid change and uncertainty. With a career spanning management consulting and advertising agencies in Canada, USA and the UK, working with many of the world’s leading brands, he has presented to industry conferences and company events around the world on topics ranging from retail, food & drink trends, luxury, future consumers, travel, marketing and technology.