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Creativity and community in the intelligent commerce era


Almost half (46%) of global consumers say their community influences their decisions and behaviours

Commerce is changing.

We’re moving from a world characterised by simple transactions to one that is truly connected, AI-enabled, and more human than ever. 

It’s a world in which consumers expect their community values to be reflected by brands, and shoppers want entertainment from their retail experiences. This world is built on creativity, and an understanding of the motivations, mindsets and emotions that drive purchase decisions. 

This report explores the evolution of commerce – from brands focused on individual consumer needs to a recognition of the power of communities. We’ll investigate how AI and smarter data are empowering brands to better understand how communities exist across platforms to create seamless, tailored commerce experiences. 

In this new era of intelligent, creative and community-driven commerce, brands will need to add real value to consumers lives. This report looks at how all these factors will shape the future of commerce and help brands drive long-term sustainable growth.

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Commerce is no longer an individual activity. It’s increasingly community led.

From the shows we watch to the music we listen to, we’re all part of different communities, with our chosen tribes influencing our decisions and behaviours. 

This is an evolution beyond social commerce. The shift from an individual to a collective mindset means commerce is now a form of cultural expression and a community signifier. Brands will need to find authentic ways to connect with these communities to tap into their collective influence. 

AI-powered data analysis promises intelligent insights into communities; the platforms they use, and the type of content that most strongly resonates with groups. But it’s the authentic relationships that brands build that will add value and foster a sense of belonging. How brands build these relationships is at the heart of community commerce.

Elisabeth Menze, Partner, Global Performance and Digital Commerce, Mindshare

‘It all starts with understanding the audience that you’re trying to connect with as a brand and the communities that they’re part of: what makes them tick? What drives the conversation within those communities? And then what are the avenues for the brand into those communities? This should all come from a place of adding value by enabling better interactions and experiences.’

Almost half (46%) of global consumers say their community influences their decisions and behaviours

Mindshare, #ID Culture: The Power of Communities



We’re entering a world in which anything can be an ad and anywhere can be a point of purchase. From TikTok Shop to QR codes enabling AR commerce experiences, the lines are blurring between retail and entertainment, and consumers are expecting more from their shopping experiences.

This is redefining how brands connect with consumers across every platform, channel and community world, ushering in a new wave of creativity in commerce. For brands it’s an opportunity to explore new channels and craft truly engaging, unique experiences for communities across platforms. 

We explore the potential for new, immersive consumer experiences, across the entire funnel, to capture consumer attention and deliver return on investment (ROI) in this new era.

Rob Reilly, Chief Creative Officer, WPP

‘It’s critical that agencies use AI but really bet on human creativity because it’s human creativity enhanced by AI that makes things pop in culture and that’s the most important thing.’

Creativity is the second-biggest driver of marketing effectiveness (behind brand size), delivering on average 12x greater ROI

WARC Media: Global Ad Trends 2023



Social media channels are the lifeblood of communities. But they’re no longer simply places of discovery. Social’s becoming a point of purchase and a driver for growth, with Chinese platforms forging new ground. 

Social conversion lies in transforming brand love into brand buy, starting with authenticity.

Influential content creators offer a route into authentic participation with communities across social. They can turn cultural conversations into retail trends, making them an effective choice as brand educators and product advocates. 

With social media now acting as a driver for conversion, we explore the challenge for brands in mapping seamless social commerce purchase journeys that add value and build brand love.

Debbie Ellison, Global Chief Digital Officer, Commerce, VML

‘Commerce started by people like you and me hanging out in stores and walking the high streets and it was an experience, it was exciting. And I think social commerce is bringing that back to the fore. It’s bringing that entertainment, the excitement, the ability to shop together, to connect with people.’

Social commerce’s value will reach $8.5 trillion globally by 2030

Statista 2023 survey



Purchases, browsing habits, and social engagement – all these factors translate into highly measurable data points. The differentiator for brands, however, comes with harnessing unorganised data to generate truly intelligent insights on consumer behaviour. 

AI can not only connect and translate data and information from disparate sources, but even predict future behaviours. 

But in this data-driven future, creativity will still be what drives real consumer and community connections. We investigate how brands can tap into AI-derived insights to create personalised, eye-opening consumer experiences like never before. 

Daniel Hulme, CEO, Satalia

‘There’s a lot of excitement around how we can use AI to generate content but there are also other types of AIs that allow us to understand how people perceive content, how to predict the activation of content, how to make sure the content is pushed across the right channels to maximise your return on investment, as well as AIs and technologies to allow you to explore the creative landscape and many other aspects that could be applied to the end-to-end marketing supply chain.’

74% of business leaders agree that having customer-driven data and insights improve their ROI, but 49% said that they find it hard to understand and utilise their data efficiently

VML, Brands Don’t Fail… E-Retail 2023 

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