Brands need to create their own interest in a “boring” 2013
Let’s not beat around the bush – compared to last year 2013 looks like it might be destined to be a little forgettable. No major sporting events, no royal birthdays, no major cultural events. Yawn.
Kate & Wills, Gawd bless ‘em, are doing their bit in giving us a baby, but other than that we are a bit low on things to celebrate this year.
However, through optimistic eyes a year of cultural scarcity is actually a great challenge for advertisers.
Last year, also saw an ever-increasing inquisition in to the establishment and in to the authenticity of brands themselves, so more than ever, brands have few places to hide.
To stand out amongst the competition, brands will need to work harder to create their own stories and be more imaginative and genuine in the way they communicate.
Brands must also fundamentally address how they increase the quality of life of those that use them, asking themselves: “How can we add value?” Not “How can we attach ourselves to value?”
To do this, meaningful innovation will be critical and I believe it will be through the use of data and content that successful brands create meaning. There were 20 billions apps downloaded on Apple devices last year; most would consider themselves innovative, very few get opened every morning and thus can claim to be meaningful.
In this new world of earned media, brands need to think about themselves as publishers not advertisers. Content marketing was the buzzword of Q4 and is a sure fire way to becoming more meaningful and engaging, but also reducing costs on paid media.
Good content adds value to both the brand and the consumer.
Take a brand like Red Bull; they have a long history of creating events and content that elevates (pun intended) the brand above its core purpose. Felix’s sky dive not only broke a record but also saw the brand contributing to progress of our planet.
This shows a clear lesson in how creativity can deliver brand value through meaningful content and planners need to take note of this.
Sainsbury’s has already seen the advantage of this by making content a central pillar of it’s marketing, merging its content and digital teams to deliver the strategy.
Those brands that create meaning from the data that they collect will be truly valued by consumers.
In recent years we have seen an empowered consumer able to collect real time data about many aspects of their lives; data has become less ‘scary’ and more ‘useful’ to people. Just think about the proliferation of apps that help you exercise more, drink less or lose weight.
The culture of constant connectivity will particularly impact the retail sector, with the OFT’s findings on how businesses are using consumer information being published in the Spring.
I foresee that econometrics and web analytics will become closer cousins and digital data such as Google Analytics will be used to forecast sales behaviour both on & offline. Expect to see a much greater focus on targeted and personalisation as first and third party data sets are fused to create powerful opportunity.
Being sick of hearing the phrase “the year of mobile”, I think 2013 will be about “Meaningful Mobile” and data that delivers value for the customer as well as benefit to business. 43% of marketers said that mobile optimisation was one of their priorities for 2013.
I also predict that mobile will become more central to “Connected TV” and that there will be as many TV & mobile cases in 2013 as there were TV and social in 2012.
Brands will also increasingly embed sustainability into their supply chains and / or partnerships.
Despite the considerable debate about the long and short term value of sustainability, more and more brands are fundamentally changing the way that they operate (some because they want to ‘behave’ better, others because it can lead to cost savings) providing interesting potential for marketing, so long as they’re delivered in the right, unique way – such as Chipotle.
This isn’t brands telling stories that they have made up; it is brands telling their specific story. That might be a sustainability story, but it could equally be some other purpose or mission.
In short, in 2013 innovation will be key in making sure the year is interesting.
The creative industries have been oft criticised during these recession years but never has there been more opportunity for creativity. What seems to hinder many is that creativity now emanates from a variety of different places, which for me is what makes it both interesting and challenging.
Creativity must come from all parts of an advertiser or agency and is the one skill that unites us all. There should be creativity when it comes to creative work, creativity in relation to data collection and usage , greater creativity in content & mobile and in the way sustainable enterprises are actioned.
It’s up to all of us to make sure that 2013 in Blighty doesn’t sit in the shadow of the Olympics and the Golden Jubilee.