Shelby Haslam, Strategy Director at Ware Anthony Rust
The impact of digital on modern day life cannot be underestimated. Globally, nearly 3.5 billion people use the internet. Social media platforms like Facebook are growing exponentially and play an increasingly central role in our lives, from personal through to business use.
In the UK, 93% of us own or use a mobile phone, on average we spend 31 hours and 19 minutes a month browsing online and we spend £114billion annually online.
But perhaps it is not surprising that the dominance of screens in our day-to-day life is changing our relationship with the ‘real world’.
At Ware Anthony Rust, our day-to-day work in the agricultural, food and retail sectors had alerted us to how this changing relationship is impacting on business and consumer behaviour. We witness it first hand in the food chain: where consumers demand higher standards of traceability and flock to brands with authentic provenance. We experienced it with our ‘This girl can ride’ campaign for the British Equestrian Federation: which countered homogenised gym-culture with impassioned images of horse riders enjoying the great outdoors.
Even popular phenomenon such as Pokémon Go are tapping into this trend by seamlessly merging digital capabilities with real world experiences.
We could see that these were not isolated incidents – but rather the tips of an attitudinal iceberg!
To understand the phenomenon better we commissioned new consumer research. The results were startling: 93% of UK consumers today claim the digitisation of their lives is driving a desire to ‘reconnect with the land’. 85% think it is important to connect with nature – with a third saying this is more important to them now than it was 10 years ago.
We call this new trend ‘Realiculture’ and it can be seen everywhere: from organic vegetable deliveries straight to city-dwellers’ front doors to farmers’ markets in large towns, from home-grown vegetables to the incredible popularity of BBC’s flagship Sunday night TV show Countryfile which is one of the channel’s highest rated shows, and in everyday choices in style, fashion, consumables, vehicles and much more.
Realiculture is the result of one of the most fundamental behaviour shifts of recent times and as an agency it is right at the heart of Ware Anthony Rust’s new focus, and promise to deliver ‘Brand growth deeply rooted’ in the countryside.
But is Realiculture a UK-only phenomenon? Thanks to our membership of Dialogue we were able to share our early-stage thinking with fellow member agencies from across Europe, and their response was fascinating. Many countries seem to be experiencing the same movement. Subtle in some countries and more overt in others, the shared digital experience does seem to be changing behaviour and attitudes across Europe.
So what does all this mean for brands? Well, understanding the motivations and behaviour of the fast-changing modern consumer can make or break a brand in today’s digital world. Realiculture creates exciting marketing opportunities for those in business and consumer sectors. We are using it to shape new-look consumer profile groups – focused on shared attitudes to the countryside and all that it delivers. Through the Dialogue International network we can apply this insight to many territories and thousands of brands, ensuring that we can all communicate with this new consumer in a way that will stir hearts and minds, and impact directly on business growth.
Read more about our Realiculture insights at: www.war.uk.com/insight