Perspective - Navigating positive change: A shift for 2024

By Andy Lima | 15 November 2023
Andy Lima

The AdNews end of year Perspectives, looking back at 2023 and forward to next year.

The advertising industry has always reflected society's trends and challenges. Looking back at 2023 and ahead to 2024, we see both complexity and opportunity.

The year 2023 was full of contradictions. On the one hand, we saw many global challenges such as economic instability, geopolitical conflicts, and setbacks in human rights. The long-lasting effects of the pandemic also worsened communication exhaustion. Change was not just a norm, but the only constant.

To add to the uncertainty, the pace of technological progress continued to accelerate. We are on the verge of the fifth industrial revolution, which has the potential to transform not only our industry but the very essence of how we function on a global level.

The most significant lesson learned from this year is that advertising must evolve. It can no longer be solely about selling a product or service. Today's empowered and informed consumers expect relevance and alignment with societal values. Advertisements must fit seamlessly into people's lifestyles. This change marks an exciting era where advertising can become a tool for positive change.

Our experience at Think HQ has been both enlightening and humbling. Our decision to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) wasn't just a box-ticking exercise; it involved a fundamental shift in our approach to creativity. By incorporating a human-centric design and co-design approach, we were able to make a pivotal change. We moved beyond simply being creators to becoming facilitators, valuing the input of our audiences in the creative process.

This shift towards systemic innovation requires us to consider the broader impact of our campaigns, not just the message.

Our goal for 2024 is ambitious but straightforward - to promote collective creativity. By combining diverse voices, both internally and externally, we aim to enhance the creative process. As Australia continues to grapple with its cultural identity, I am optimistic that the national discourse on diversity, equity, and inclusion will evolve, reflecting the diverse tapestry that our nation truly is.

In 2024, there is a positive outlook for an increase in ad spend. However, the emphasis will undoubtedly shift towards personalised marketing. The well-known saying, "right message, right person, right time," is more relevant than ever. But now, it's not only about the timing but also about the context. Marketing messages need to resonate with the nuances of an individual's culture and lifestyle, and for that, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are not just nice-to-haves.

The importance of networks in achieving our goals cannot be overstated. However, as we continue to navigate through this era of interconnectedness, we must also prepare ourselves for a wave of data and technological regulations. Despite Australia's traditional delay in adopting such regulations, it's only a matter of time before we feel the impact of regulatory actions taken in the US and Europe.
An intriguing question looms large – are we on the cusp of the fourth wave of advertising? As debates around privacy intensify, will we transition to an era of ID-less advertising? Only time will tell.

The talent conundrum remains unsolved. The rapid technological advancements and cultural shifts are driving an unprecedented pace of change in the industry. This dynamism demands continuous upskilling, making the specialist talent hunt increasingly challenging.

The lines between traditional advertising and other forms of creative expression are becoming increasingly blurred. The canvas is expanding to include games, interactive storytelling, and experiential activations. Those who can seamlessly merge innovative ideas with inclusive experience design, supported by technology, will be the ones who succeed in shaping the future of creativity.

As we approach 2024, the challenges are many. But so are the opportunities. By staying attuned to societal shifts, embracing inclusivity, and championing continuous learning, we are confident in our ability to harness marketing and communications to bring about positive change and steer our society towards a better future.

Andy Lima, Chief Creative Officer Think HQ

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