Millennials as Decision Makers

by in Big Ideas, Interns 

Did you know that millennials are three times more likely than any other generation to reference social media networks when making purchasing decisions? Well according to a 2014 study by Market Strategist International, most consumers today use Facebook for making decisions regarding purchasing- on the other hand, millennials are 19% more likely to use Instagram and 14% more likely to use Tumblr than any other generation’s influence on what they buy. Whether it’s tweeting, pinning, or double tapping- millennials are a different breed of consumers.

Millennials are a group of people that are experimenters; they like to test new things and push the limit on what is “normal.” I, myself, am a millennial and the idea to talk about something like this came to me when I came across an article that was harping on millennials. “Those millennials need to stop looking down at their phones and look up at the world!” I’m sure we’ve all heard this a few times, whether it be through an article written by an older author or quite literally- when walking down the sidewalk and realizing you aren’t paying attention and almost get hit by a car.

Whether your point of view on us crazy millennials is good or bad, you have to admit that we are evolving the digital world and changing the power of purchasing goods. Word of mouth, crowdsourcing, and influencers. Who has what product, or who’s promoting what brand- is very important for consumers in the millennial age. Whether it be former Bachelorette Jojo Fletcher promoting Diffey eyewear, or Kylie Jenner constantly posting ads for “Fit Tea.” The name behind the product is going to make a huge difference in who’s buying it. There is also a fine line when it comes to too many advertisements being thrown your way. When I’m constantly seeing, pictures promoting Sugar Bear hair gummies on my Instagram feed, it doesn’t make me want to buy them, it really is just annoying.

According to Forbes, millennials make up about one fourth of the entire population. Which ends up coming out to about $200 billion in annual buying power. Now that’s a lot of money at stake and a lot of consumers to market towards. So, is there really a secret when it comes to our decision making? Brand loyalty does exist upon us, and if you present us with an authentic product that catches our attention- we will keep on going back for more. Brands need to stay relevant in the consumer’s mind. Brand loyalty can go out the window the minute something becomes irrelevant to the social media world, and the millennial’s mind. Keep evolving and coming out with new marketing schemes to bring in new customers. With the millennial’s decision making process constantly changing, so should the product.

Quite a few of us working here at FLIRT are millennials, and I think that having a diverse range in age is a valuable asset for the team. Whether it be offering different insights to a client, or being able to teach each other new skillsets. The team is forever growing and learning and that’s that makes FLIRT such a well-oiled machine.

The Future of Reading – Personalized and Interactive Experiences

by in Big Ideas 

For years we’ve been hearing that books are dying. With tablets and phones taking over our reading habits, it seems books have lost the magic they held when we were children. Why would new generations be interested in static images in their illustrated storybooks, when they have richer and responsive images right at their fingertips? Kids today seem to inherently know how to work an iPad and have experiences with richer colors, movement and interactions that make books fall short. Book designers and developers have seen an opportunity here. Instead of mourning for the death of printed books they are innovating and revolutionizing the book industry to bring kids back to reading.

It’s an obvious solution: this audience with a limited attention span who seem to be tech savy from birth are the perfect catalysts for a book revolution. As these children sit with smartphones and tablets in their strollers while their parents walk through stores, book designers lure them back into the world of literature with new interactive and personalized experiences.

New generations are experiencing storytelling in a more immersive way we ever could. Stories we read as kids are being turned into interactive worlds children can explore. One might think that these immersive experiences all take place in the digital world and while some of they do, Wonderbly a publishing company is pushing the boundaries of printed books by creating personalized stories for children. They have created an alternative version of Charlie and the Chocolate factory that immerses children in the book by turning the story into a personal journey through the factory.

Other companies have taken to the digital world, creating interactive books where the illustrations come to life as the children read out loud. Using voice recognition technology AKQA developed a digital book titled Snow Fox that animates with voice commands so as the children read certain words the illustrations start moving across the page. The best part is the app can be downloaded on the App store and it allows users to personalize the story adding their kid’s character to it.

The way storytelling is transforming into an interactive and personalized experience has huge implications for marketers who are following publishers’ steps and creating similar experiences. Facebook is using their full-screen mobile format Canvas to help marketers explore new ways of communicating.

São Paulo shop Africa and Latin American bank Itau used this technology to turn smartphones into interactive children’s books for a campaign that highlighted the brand’s involvement with an initiative that encourages parents to read to their children.

This approach to storytelling brings new generations back to reading and as they grow it can change the future of what constitutes a book. It is transforming education and has giant implications for marketers as well. This approach to storytelling as interactive and personalized experiences speak to things that might help when looking generate more engagement and it can begin to shape the way we communicate with audiences beyond bringing children back to reading.

What do you think is the future of reading?


Images Courtesy of Wonderbly, AKQA and AdWeek

eSports: The Future of Sports?

by in Big Ideas, News, Technology 

eSports is becoming one of highest growing markets in the sports world. ESPN has its own section on their website dedicated to eSports. Who could’ve imagined 20 years ago that playing video games could become as successful as being a professional athlete. Superstars in eSports make millions comparable to athletes in basketball, football, and baseball. There are Madison Square sized stadiums jam packed during a playoff game. Al of this has us wondering: is eSports the future of ALL sports?

Okay back up-so what is eSports? In layman’s terms, eSports consists of professional video game players competing in teams or individually against each other in a league. The winners of these leagues win prizes, most of the time the prize being money. eSports athletes not only make money like other professional athletes, they also receive sponsorships like them too. The arenas are capable of filling thousands upon thousands of people, one would think they’re at a football game by the size of the crowds in the arena. Tickets to these events cost upward of $99.

So is this the future?, Well, the U.S. government already recognizes the gamers as professional athletes. In 2013, the U.S. allowed the gamers to receive visas and same traveling privileges as other athletes so they can compete internationally. In the 2016 closing ceremonies for the Olympics, they showed a brief teaser video of Mario and the legendary Pac-Man for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. It’s interesting because although it’s a long shot, the Olympic committee has looked into considering eSports as an event for the Paris Olympic Games in 2024.

The future of sports is changing in front of our very eyes. eSports is drastically growing and the advancement of technology is only going to catapult it even quicker to the mainstream. Major corporations and groups are identifying them as professional athletes. It’s only a matter of time before we starting cheering on for our favorite eSport player.

Images courtesy of: DoteSport , Business Insider, MyGaming

Fall Festivities in Chicago

by in Around Chicago, Big Ideas 

Pumpkin Spice Latte season is upon us, and there will (hopefully) be a crisp breeze in the air coming soon. With the holiday season coming up, the city of Chicago will be bustling with activities ranging from the Chicago Marathon to the Chicago Oktoberfest. Besides great scheduled events like these two- there’s also pumpkin patches to visit along with apples to pick. The opportunities are endless in and around the city, but here are some of the events we’re most looking forward to this fall:

  • The Bank of America Chicago Marathon will be held on October 8th while runners make the trek of 26.2 miles throughout various parts of the city. It is definitely too late to sign up as a runner, but it is not too late to get out there and cheer on everyone participating. It’s an amazing opportunity for runners, family, and friends to get together and celebrate Chicago.

  • While we all wish, we could’ve shelled out the big dollars to attend Chicago Gourmet there is indeed a free festival going on until October 7th that includes food and alcohol. (Even though, yes, you will have to pay for food and beverage). This is Chi’s largest and longest annual Oktoberfest. Come out for some live music and a soft pretzel to enjoy September coming to an end and the month of October sweeping in with Halloween and the International Film Festival.
  • For the more artsy crowd, the Chicago International Film Festival is a pretty long running event from October 12th-26th, taking place at the AMC River East 21. Movie lovers from all over come to watch films from an assortment of 150 choices. These films are coming from over 60 countries, with genres ranging from documentary to comedy. So, if you’re looking for a more relaxed event with little to no socializing, this might be the weekend getaway for you.

  • I know many of us have probably taken a walk or two along the beautiful Riverwalk. Whether you’ve stopped inside to check out the City Winery, it is usually 9/10 times packed. Why not take advantage of this warm weather and go sit outside while enjoying a glass of wine and some good company.
  • Aside from scheduled events in the city, there are also many fun things you can go out and do on your own accord. The Lincoln Park zoo always has free admission, but this year is the zoo’s third annual Fall Fest. Starting September 29th, it will be going on every weekend throughout the month of October. They’ll be activities such as a hay mountain, fun slide, corn maze, and a Ferris wheel. A fun and free, family friendly event for families all around that want to get in the Fall spirit.

  • Finally, LUMA8 will be producing an “Arts in The Dark” parade on October 21st. Starting at 6 pm, this magical parade will be bringing together different artists in different fields from all around. It will of course be family friendly and include live music, food, and lots more. It will be the perfect way to celebrate Chicago as one of the most culturally diverse cities around.

Although it might not feel like Autumn yet, I have a feeling that soon enough the leaves will start changing and everyone will start getting into that Halloween spirit. The possibilities are endless when it comes to Chicago, all you have to do is step one foot outside your door.

Images Courtesy of…


AUGMENTED REALITY – Coming to a Smartphone Near You

by in Big Ideas, Get Mobile, What We're Thinking About 

The digital and real worlds are coming closer and closer to colliding each day. This has incredible implications for anyone trying to communicate and engage with an audience. As tech developments continue in the AR field, content creators will be able to merge the digital and real worlds in more intuitive ways. This will drastically alter what we can do as we create communications, promotional experiences, events, websites and apps. Now we have to tools to guide people through spaces, show them products in their homes and get them to interact with brands face to face. The best part is that we don’t need to convince them to get expensive devices or learn new technologies. All we need is to repurpose a device they are already using: their smartphones.

Major changes are coming to AR development with Apple releasing ARKit (a set of tools that enable developers to create augmented reality apps.) Apple is already developing AR as a feature for their maps. Imagine what you could do to guide people through a space.

Google has also been exploring AR with Project Tango. This project seeks to develop mobile devices that can map indoor spaces and to know the location of the device within that space using sensors. This project aims to integrate your body and movements, as well as, your surroundings into its simulation; changing the way we interact with physical spaces.

As Apple and Google develop their technologies, brands have also been exploring the use of augmented reality to engage their audience. Here are some examples:


Ikea is making the most out of this technology allowing people to virtually place objects into their spaces before buying them. Customers will be able to take a photos of their room and use the app to place a photo-realistic render of an Ikea product into their space. They have partnered with Apple in the use of their new AR tech and it is said to be so precise it will show how the product’s size and lighting will look.

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L’Oréal has several apps that let people try makeup on their selfies before trying the products. They are also working on some in-store AR applications, installing AR at beauty counters in stores.  This gives them data on the kinds of products people are buying as well as how the interactions affect their purchase decisions.

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Cedar Point is taking a more playful approach and has included AR in their app creating The Battle for Cedar Point experience. People visiting the park can join different roller coaster-themed clans and compete by scanning the park with their smartphones. The app transforms the physical park into a video game and changes the way attendees interact with the space.

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What is the coolest AR experience you’ve seen or had?


Images Courtesy of