Challenger brands panellists chat simplifying digital tools for users, what’s next in tech

JOMO, or the Joy of Missing Out, was by far the most compelling indication of how Canadian brands should be looking at bringing value to customers in the future as the economy becomes more digitized.

Jeanne Lam, the general manager for Wattpad in Canada, said that the best way for companies to make an impact on the lives of Canadians is if they are able to provide value to a product that isn’t meant to go viral. Lam noted that 43 percent of Gen Z are purposely choosing to spend time away from social media, or participating in ‘JOMO,’ so they may not see or care about the latest viral sensation.

On Wednesday, September 25th, Simplii Financial hosted its Challenger Brands panel to understand what has changed in the digital landscape, what is yet to come, and how companies are challenging themselves to deliver better or new experiences to Canadians.

A challenger brand is one that isn’t the market leader nor a niche brand and is categorized by the mindset of having business ambitions with the intent to bring change to an industry.

The digital trends report that Simplii released added that 43 percent of Canadians use digital tools to simplify their lives, 40 percent use it to save time and 38 percent use it to complete tasks from anywhere.

Erin Elofson, the country manager for Pinterest in Canada, said that while digital tools have made the lives of Canadians incredibly simple and easy, it has also made it harder.

She noted during the panel that the amount of time spent on digital tools can also impact our mental health, adding that it was important for brands to be more thoughtful of the technology they are offering, and even more so for customers to use technology as a purpose and not just technology because it’s technology that is available.

Lam echoed the sentiment and said that younger people should take the time to step back and take a break and make time for themselves and their mental health.

It is worth adding that the Simplii report did indicate that 48 percent of Canadians say that technology has helped them take better care of their physical and mental wellbeing.

John Phillip Green, the chief executive dad of CareGuide, agreed with the report and added that his platform has helped not just with the mental wellbeing of a user, but aided people from around the world find work in an industry that takes care of others.

CareGuide is a company that helps users find the care needed to take care of pets, family members, children, and also provides the work.

Shopify’s product lead Zabrina Hossain discussed how the future in the way Canadians are becoming more digital is in the ways small businesses are becoming completely digital.

In Ontario, 44 percent of people prefer shopping online, while nationally that number sits at 40 percent, according to the Simplii report.

Hossain said that Shopify has seen a tremendous growth of entrepreneurs in Canada wanting to put their business online and that the platform has provided tools to make it simple and easy for even older people to navigate.

Finally, the conversation also noted that digital banking was the tool driving the most everyday value for Canadians.

Simplii Financial’s vice-president Corby Fine noted that Canadians are finding a lot of value in online and app banking tools because digital applications have simplified so much of the everyday consumers’ experience, specifically cutting down on time to visit branches, making resources more accessible and easing the amount of effort required to track and make payments.

He noted that, at Simplii and at all banks, financial institutions are working to balance how much of your service experience is digitized vs. done in-person. Fine said that many customers might find value and ease in having a Google sheet that includes their pre-filled data, but questioned how many of those customers would extend that experience to fully getting a mortgage online without the help of a person.

He posed the question to audience members and most people did not raise their hands.

More than anything, Fine said it was incredibly important for banking institutions to pay attention to trends in how consumers are using banking services so they can be adaptable and responsive to changing needs.

For example, you can use digital tools to see trends in a person’s spending habits and help advise them on how to properly save towards a future goal, Fine said.

He said this was an opportunity and an obligation to offer advice based on these trends to customers.

Image credit: Elaine Fancy

MobileSyrup utilizes affiliate partnerships and at times we include these link in our posts. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content, though MobileSyrup may earn a commission on purchases made via these links. MobileSyrup’s Shruti Shekar moderated the Simplii Financial panel.