'Innovate or become irrelevant' - creative predictions for 2017

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 15 December 2016
Who will win big at Cannes in 2017?

In the last few months the creative sector has seen a huge shake up, with a slew of senior executives exiting agencies. 2016 saw lauded creatives Paul Nagy, Darren Spiller and Andy DiLallo left their posts at Clemenger, DDB and M&C Saatchi respectively, and agencies came together to drive the diversity agenda.

From Ogilvy, WPP, Clemenger BBDO, DDB and more, AdNews asks the top dogs at Australian agencies for their predictions for the industry in 2017.

McCann chief creative officer Pat Baron

I predict a more personalized communications landscape in 2017. In 2016 we’ve seen the convergence of mobile with artificial intelligence, as everyone scrambles to unlock it’s rich potential watch the rules change exponentially again in 2017. 

BMF ECD Cam Blackley

2017 a few smart brands become 'quiet' co-producers / funders of high quality serialised content (in the Netflix mould).

M&C Saatchi CEO Jaimes Leggett

We’ll start getting paid in equity not cash.

BWM Dentsu group chief creative officer Rob Belgiovane

Creativity is the new need state for all people. 
Self expression is the new form of entertainment.
Recognition is the only fee required
IE watch out creative services industry, we’ve got company.

Ogilvy Australia CEO David Fox

The brands that will succeed in 2017 will be the brands that DO meaningful and relevant things versus only yell and sell their brand. Brands that will help people navigate their lives and inform and entertain them in ways the brand has permission to do, will be top of mind. The era of DO’ing stuff is in and the era of only SAY and PRAY is gone.

The Works founder Damian Pincus

Being super distinctive and consistent. As the market gets more cluttered, media proliferates and brands struggle to find usp’s, companies will need to focus on being really distinctive just to stand out. Creating a super distinctive consumer insight and value proposition, tone of voice and art direction will help brands stand out from the crowd and get heard.

Ikon Group Sydney managing partner Pat Crowley

I’d like to see a return to long-term brand building and investment in the channels that deliver it best, rather than the short-term thinking that, despite what people say, is delivering ever decreasing and fractured results.

The Core Agency founder Jon Skinner

Global political changes prove that people have had a gut-full of contrived flimflam. Brands that recognise the seismic shift towards blunt honesty will have their authenticity rewarded with loyalty.

BWM Dentsu Melbourne MD Mark Watkin 

The relevance of brands will only increase as long term verses short term planning makes a resurgence. In turn, more organisations will come to realise how a focused use of creativity can impact not only their brands but also their businesses too.

WPP AUNZ chief strategy officer Rose Herceg

Defecting from follower to leader is my prediction. When companies and brands invent the conversation (or the zeitgeist) rather than force themselves into one, they are halfway there.

Loud CEO Lorraine Jokovic

Whether you’re talking gender, age, LGBTI or ethnicity it’s time we realise that Australia is one of the most diverse countries in the world and as an industry we’re doing little to reflect this in our agencies and our work. The recent call on US agencies by advertisers Verizon, HP and General Mills signals a demand for broader thinking and therefore better, more effective, work. Agencies working strategically and creatively with this broader cultural remit will be those in demand moving forward.

Penso CEO Con Frantzeskos

One key prediction for 2017 is that marketing science takes hold in a big way. We'll see incredible changes as many billions of wasted dollars on things like, unbranded short films, scam work, borrowed-interest CSR campaigns, social media influencers, loyalty discounts, flimsy data retention schemes and discount schemes are disposed of and replaced with effective marketing in the form of high reach, heavily branded, emotional and memorable awareness and consideration programs that increase the penetration and market share of brands. In doing so, the long term benefits will be that marketing and advertising will again be seen as a credible and legitimate growth engine for business (but that’s for 2018 and beyond).

Red Engine SCC agency director and head of strategy Kate Richardson

The US Election highlighted the limitations of data, the importance of talking to people on the ground, and the power of radically creative thinking. In 2017 agencies must fight the creative fight or risk becoming marginalised by whatever solution seems cheaper or more fashionable at the time.

The Hallway founder Jules Hall

2017 ​will be the year agencies ​begin ​pricing ​their work properly aligning remuneration to outputs and impacts, ​finally abandoning the dated and flawed head hour model. This will require big changes: Agencies will have to actually put their clients' best interests first (as in do it, not just say it!) by focusing on the impact of outputs, rather than the effort of inputs. And they will learn how to communicate these models to the savvy buyers sitting in procurement. Why will it happen? Because those that don't, won't survive. Who will be the real winners in this new market? Our clients. Finally they will have their agency partner's remuneration aligned to their goal of driving shareholder returns. Bring it on!

CEO WPP AUNZ Mike Connaghan

A swing back to brand and the effectiveness of cut through great brand creative driving ROI. No data, or data science or data analytics or data mining can replace the sheer power (and joy) of creative genius. That once in a blue moon idea that everyone sees and thinks…’I wish I’d thought of that’.

Clemenger BBDO Nick Garrett

Like many industry folk I suspect the conversation around martech and ad tech will only intensify. Fair enough because it is a pivotal part of the present and future for agencies and clients alike. My fear though, is that it will become even more of a shield for the industry to hide behind and gives too many an excuse, not to invest the time, energy and money into being strategically rigourous and creatively brilliant. Technology is wonderful, but now more than ever there is no substitute for being interesting. There is nowhere to hide if you are not.

Publicis CEO Andrew Baxter

In 2016 brands have been able to win by being the first mover with a new tech stack, or via constant short term campaigns. As these battlegrounds level out, competitive growth will slow. It will force marketers to look longer term again, and brand building will rise once more in 2017 as a differentiator to win.

Leo Burnett Sydney CEO Pete Bosilkovski

Innovate or become irrelevant. And that does not mean with products or services. We will see an increasing shift to CX (customer experience) Innovation in solving client business problems.  Brand experiences are becoming the primary embodiment of brands, so increasingly consumers don't compare brands with direct competitors, they are comparing brands to the most recent customer experience they’ve had.

Iris Sydney board director David Griffiths

The importance for a great agency culture will continue to grow in 2017; creative agencies are only as good as the people they attract.

Isobar executive strategy director Sam Sterling and mobile and innovation director Erik Hallander

The feedback loop between end users and brands will become closer than ever before, as optimisation is taken to new levels. We'll see it being the backbone of every experience, be it product design, service design or campaigns and activations.

303 Mullen Lowe Nick Cleaver 

In 2017 we will put all the jargon aside about channel, content, social, programatic, technology, native blah blah blah and rediscover the primacy and power of creative ideas that may make you laugh, or feel sad, but above all that make you think and you remember. At least I hope we do, as otherwise there’s no point in going to Cannes to see more small, techno driven activations with a supposed humanitarian bent that apparently loads of people have engaged with on Facebook but you’ve never heard of. Please can we? 

DDB Group CEO Andrew Little

The continued push by the better agencies into growth consulting. Client efficiencies have dried up. Efficacy is the front and centre of every CEO and CMO and never have great business building ideas been more valued.

DDI MD Caroline McLaughlin

The Year of Swagger - Our prediction is that we’ll see a lot more attitude from brands. We’ll see them prepared to make radical or unpopular choices. 2017 is the year to stick your neck out or go home.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

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