January is all about predictions and industry forecasts for 2015.
Therefore, we have selected our leading Stars from each department to share their thoughts and predictions within their field.
Digital is transformation
Author: Scott Gray
Digital is not merely a channel through which brand stories can be told. It’s far bigger and more profound than that. Increasingly, it’s relied on as an enabler throughout a business’ value chain. This brings a number of factors that will have permanent effects on the way companies and brands operate.
Here’s just two:
1. Data as an enabler: Digital interactions create data-points in realtime. These data, if leveraged correctly, can be used to point the way forward, the next steps. Gaining competitive advantage with data is a factor of 2 things: 1. measuring the right data to create relevant insights, and 2. the reaction speed from insight to action. Strategic planning cycles that are put in place for longer units of time (typically 12 to 24 months) will become a thing of the past. Strategies need to be more agile and, as Noah Brier puts it, become algorithms that define.
2. Digitally enabled services that create value:With the increasing penetration and power of the internet connected mobile device, consumers are leading the technological evolution. Along with the evolution of technology comes the evolution of the consumer behaviour and her expectations. While digital touch-points and activity have typically served to either create demand (paid for media, campaigns etc) or to simply inform (via the good old website), the evolving consumer expectation means an expectation to be able to deal (and transact) with a brand entirely through digital means. As a brand, staying relevant means being there when a consumer needs you. We expect to see “digital transformation” as a regular line item on board meeting minutes.
It’s time to stop peacocking and get personal
Author: Fran Luckin
My second New Year’s Resolution (after resolving to use the word “festooned” more often) was to see more films. In the actual cinema, not on my laptop. Two movie outings later, I was already starting to regret that second resolution, after I’d been forced to sit, for the second time in two days, through a bloated three minute extravaganza for a mobile network operator. There were fast cars. There were sports celebrities. There were girls in bikinis partying on a boat (sadly, it wasn’t the Titanic).
The brief to the agency was as obvious as the abs on the buff boatsmen: “This brand needs to stand for aspiration!” (Along with about 80% of the other brands in the South African market.)
The whole spectacle was so over the top, so far removed from the ordinary person’s experience of mobile connectivity, from what a normal person wants and needs from a mobile operator, that it bordered on the grotesque. It was the millenial equivalent of those cigarette ads from the 90s. Remember them? Those spectaculalry lavish mini-movies that were about everything except the actual product?
Now there’s a role for pure entertainment in people’s lives. But make it something that connects with people’s real needs and desires. That shows them that you “get” them.
Better still, what if, instead of rolling out expensive spectacles of cookie-cutter aspiration, we created meaningful experiences, great tools and platforms that actually help people better themselves and improve their lives?
Full disclosure: I’m not blameless in this regard. I’ve created more than one indulgent brand TV ad in my life. But now I’m grateful that I work with arguably some of the smartest people in the country. People with the creativity and the skills and the insights to create things and experiences that are beautiful, and useful, that get the brand invited into people’s lives.
This year, I’d like to see the walls of Quirk filled with those ideas.
Possibly even festooned with them.
Think about the brands you’re most loyal to. Are we loyal to the brand or to what it can do for us?
Smart brands to tap into Smart devices
Author: Jean du Plessis
I’m not a fan of predicting the future. At best it is still just informative guess work done by some clever person based on various signals. However sometimes these signals around you are so strong you just can’t igore it. I find myself in this situation today as everywhere I look I see Smart devices: smarthpones, tablets, smart watches, smart TV’s and even smart SHOES!
As a society we are embracing technology more and more and allowing it to embed itself in our everyday life. Today I transact deaily through my smartphone, whether it be making transfers or payments through my banking app or paying for my coffee at the office canteen by scanning a simple QR code. In my living room I find myself streaming video or checking the weather straight on my TV – a task not long ago I would have used my laptop soley for. I believe the fundamental reason why I embrace these things are because it adds value to my life by making everyday tasks easier and better.
So if I dare make any predictions for 2015 it would be that technology will rapidly continue to be embedded everywhere, connecting devices to the Internet, the so called “Internet of Things”. Brands that best leverage this ever increasing availability of smart devices will be the ones to attrack consumers and obtain their affinity.
For brands to achieve this, their marketing function will need to look beyond the limit view of advertisements and social media engagement, but rather shift to offering value-based services to their consumers through these devices.
Don’t fight the Red Queen
Author: Gerard du Plessis
I’m so tired of reading predictions, “the year of’s” and other random reasoning about what might or might not unfold in 2015, so I won’t bore you with mine. The problem with this time of the year is that we expect our calendar to punctuate the evolution of almost everything. And segment everything into neat compartments so that we can write plans and draw Gantt charts of it all. Of course the winds catapulting us forward pass through meaning and don’t conform to measurable time, nonetheless detailed predictions about increments that don’t really matter much, or even exist.
That’s what I’m thinking about. How will the evolutionary forces that have brought us to this point shape this blink of a nano moment we call a year in the next 12 months? What will unfold? How will we propel forward and by how much will the rate of change increase? What will be retained and what will fall away to iterative progress?
As a planner, the best you can do is except that your world will change more in the coming 12 months than it did in the last 12. So don’t fight the Red Queen. Embrace her with all her power. If you don’t you will simply be left in a windy dust storm.