2018: The year brands start connecting the dots

AnalogFolk managing director Matt Robinson
By AnalogFolk managing director Matt Robinson | 19 December 2017

Ahhh, predictions for the advertising and marketing industry. A business that is changing as quickly as ours makes predicting its future about as reliable as a pardon plea from Donald Trump: you could think you have it in the bag but then it turns around to bite you on the backside.

Will 2018 be the year when the two great religions of marketing, the long-term effectiveness zealots and the short-term effectiveness believers, finally enter the ring and thrash it out? In the blue corner is Ritson, supported by the entire Ehrehnberg-Bass team and managed by Peter Field... Coming out fighting from the red corner is the fierce #garyvee, backed by the deep pockets of Facebook and promoted by a fancy analytics dashboard displaying a by-the-millisecond view of something. Ding! Ding!

Or will this be the year that the cost ‘savings’ of the in-house agency see the light of day? In a stunning turn of events, procurement will uncover that when you add salary, company overheads, diverse skillsets who need to be fully ‘utilised’, the cost of finding and keeping good talent - not to mention nurturing a distinctive culture… that good external agencies actually have a bit going for them. Dramatic.

Whilse Isincerely hope we all have the pleasure of seeing the above, my prediction is a little bit more straightforward.

In 2018, I think we’ll start to see examples of truly breakthrough brand ideas, delivered in places where brands have traditionally not bothered. The world of UX and CX has been so dominated by words like ‘optimise’, ‘hack’, and even ‘de-frictionalise’ (I made that one up) that we’ve forgotten about the role of creativity. Next year, I think that will be turned on its head and the good marketers will focus on connecting up their brand experiences along the highest value customer journeys and seeing that pay dividends at the receiving end.

Similarly, it feels like we are at a stage where 2018 will see smart brands take advantage of the hundreds of tiny interactions their customers have with them, and finally join up the spaces between all of the ‘big bet’ experiences they’ve created over the years. They’ll spend more time, effort and energy on the connections between their brand properties than creating entirely new ones. Yes, this will probably mean that they implement some of the hot tech; AI, Machine Learning, APIs, etc, but it will all be driven by their brand purpose, delivered using their unique voice and will create a more magical experience. This will be a marked change from past objectives - ‘optimising’ something or reducing the journey by two clicks – and truly put the X back into customer experience.

AnalogFolk managing director Matt Robinson

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