Brand marketing: 10 experts reveal their predictions for 2016
From rejecting marketing jargon to focusing on quality video content, here’s how industry pros think brand marketing will develop next year
Video production quality that makes Hollywood blush
Farzana Baduel, managing director, Curzon PR
As editorial budgets in traditional media are being cut, journalists are gravitating towards working with brands to create content that can inform, entertain and influence. In 2016 we will see more brands investing in video content to convey their brand messaging and engage with their target audience.
I expect to see a constant elevation in terms of quality of content as brands will realise their message has to be as engaging as top tier media outlets and demanding consumers require more than witty click bait with poorly drafted content.
Offering a platform to make a difference
Gary Bramall, CMO, Hailo UK
With an increasingly volatile political landscape, where people around the world are questioning the authority of leaders, the purpose of religion and rules that form the bedrock of constitutions, brands that embody change for good will benefit. Those that offer a higher level of consciousness and give people a platform to make a difference will become the icons of 2016. Trust and transparency will be taken as a given, both from within organisations and as brands go to market. I expect to see global technology brands and tech startups react to the horror that’s been all too evident in 2015 to bring peace and ultimately help combat terror.
Video will come under scrutiny
Chris Duncan, CMO, News UK
2016 will be the year of virtuous video, the year when the use of mobile video as an editorial and marketing tool is properly put under scrutiny.
Customers want to watch and share great creative, and marketers want measurable results. As such, I predict the beginning of the end for one second auto-play mute video played out within walled gardens. There will be pressure on creative quality as demand for video grows exponentially, and then pressure on CPMs (cost per mille) as supply follows it. In both cases the brands that make the best choices will harness video most effectively as part of an overall customer conversation.
Jane Geraghty, president EMEA, Landor
How a brand talks has never been more important given the power of social media. Next year will be all about simple truths, simply told. Like him or loathe him, Donald Trump is a good example of how consumer expectations are changing. There appears to be a growing sense of relief that we’re allowed to debate and talk in simple terms. Opaque corporate speak and political language are dying. We’re going to see a wholesale rejection of marketing jargon. The brands that succeed will bring a sense of simplicity to their communications. 2016 is the year of honest simplicity.
A return to trusted platforms
Joshua Graff, UK country manager and senior director, LinkedIn EMEA
In 2016, trust will become more critical than ever before. Marketers will insist on showcasing their brands in safe and trusted environments as ad fraud, adblocking and viewability challenges become more prolific. They will revert to platforms they know and trust to reach qualified audiences with a specific purpose in mind.
Adblocking has been a wake-up call to marketers worldwide and is forcing them to re-evaluate their creative and content to ensure it provides demonstrable value to customers. They will pivot out of necessity to focus on content that helps their consumers become more productive, knowledgeable and successful. If they don’t, the result will be quite simple – they’ll be blocked.
Meaning before messaging
Tom Lucas, director, digital marketing, BBC Worldwide
Consumer empowerment will move from rhetoric to reality in 2016. Web experiences will be mediated through ever more sophisticated adblockers and brands will need to put meaning before messaging to break through.
Consumers will move beyond controlling their data to actively trading it through platforms which create a value exchange between brands and audiences. People will begin to tire the hall of mirrors effect generated by social algorithms, and start to seek out richly curated experiences. Digital video will witness unprecedented growth as streamers such as Amazon Prime level the distribution playing field and become the pay TV operators of the digital era.
Internet of Things: minus the connected fridge
Helen McRae, CEO, UK and chair of western Europe, Mindshare
The Internet of Things (IoT) was, until now, in danger of being the trend that never was. From the oft-mentioned internet fridge (which people have been referencing for eleven years), to the ludicrous Belty at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, IoT was missing something vital to truly take off: a genuine, human need. But it looks like this is going to change in 2016. Connected products will replenish your household goods, serve bespoke content on luxury goods’ provenance and alert us to danger in the home. Brands and media companies will reject gimmicky headline-grabbers and instead develop connected products with genuine utility for the humans that use them.
Design for the post-digital age
Christian Purser, CEO, Interbrand London
The legacy of digital is a renewed focus on new forms of design thinking. The collision of human centred design with software methodologies such as agile and ideas around prototyping and data-driven automation continue to change the world of business.
In the coming year, brand marketers will take their learnings from the digital disruption of the recent past and start to re-design their brands, customer experiences and business operations for the more certain post-digital world that stretches before us. Next year the most exciting D-word in marketing won’t be digital, it will be design.
Messages around product are a turn-off
Mimi Turner, marketing director, The Lad Bible
As social channels become our first window into the world, brands will spend more time thinking about how to talk to us within our social communities. If brands want to meet us in the intimate social spaces that we share with friends, family and influencers that we trust, they will have to change their approach. Messages around product are a turn-off. Messages around values, generosity and attitudes are far better ways of achieving engagement. Brands will have to prove themselves – and show that they have a purpose which goes well beyond self-interest. For brands which embrace that approach, the future will be liberating.
Less spin, more authenticity
Sue Unerman, chief strategy officer, MediaCom
The consumer wants what they want, when they want it. They require growing levels of friendliness and respect from brands. So, less spin, more authenticity. Don’t sell warmth or empathy, deliver against it: be warm, be empathetic – from customer service on the customer’s terms, to friendly media communications that invite and reward response from the consumer in real time. Don’t get me wrong, if you want to be bought you need to be famous and stick in the consumer’s memory, but there’s ways to deliver this as well as sticking ads in front of them. Brand marketing must track the customer journey in a single minded and agile way unhindered by heritage practices.