This is a global trend. In China, brands mention 25, in Brazil 17 and South Africa is not far behind with 13. The biggest challenge for marketers is to decide which is the best ecosystem of partners for their brands, and how to coordinate them.
The Covid-19 pandemic has made marketers realise how important data is, and made them seek data related to trends, technology, consumers, newer generations… Brands want to understand what is happening, reduce uncertainty and be able to engage with their consumers without barriers, in order to be loved and meaningful to them.
Along with data, strategic planning is also becoming increasingly more important, as marketing directors realise they need a different type of talent to help them digest all the different sources of data, identify ‘insights’, and come up with the best strategies that will be the base of big ideas.
Because data is mostly handled by media agencies, being one of the weaknesses of some creative agencies, marketers are asking for more integration between creative and media agencies. They believe their media strategies would be more powerful and their teams more efficient if they thought and worked together.
Investment in social media is increasing, and more specifically, towards Influencers. Ecommerce is also growing and, in the years to come, we will see more brands entering the Metaverse.
But another consequence of the pandemic is that marketers have realised that digital platforms are just tactical partners that are more interested in sales than strategic partners that help brands in difficult times. Trust and partnerships have been reinforced and consolidated by agencies that have helped their clients navigate the difficult times and continue to do so, enlightening marketing managers about what is happening locally, regionally, and globally, what type of decisions should be made, and which territories they should invest in to get a better ROI.
B2B will continue to increase in the coming years, with more and more brands investing in B2B while still doing B2C. There are very few specialists in this territory and the few that exist and have developed a profound understanding of the discipline will have a unique opportunity to grow and become powerful partners of the client companies they work with. Cannes Lions has started to recognise these talents and campaigns in 2022, and this category will see a growth in entries soon.
People and talent in our industry have always been highly important, and one of the main factors that differentiate agencies. But marketers have never valued their agency team as highly as nowadays. This is also a consequence of the pandemic: marketing managers have realised how important it was for them to be able to deal with high profile strategists, creatives, digital leaders, account managers, media experts, technologists… working together in order to create the best possible campaigns.
Conflict related to agencies working for other brands in the same category are no longer so relevant. Clients have finally understood that sometimes it´s beneficial to work with an agency that fully understands one specific sector or category, and take advantage of that level of expertise, as long as the agency establishes the right walls to protect the information from its different client brands. This is one of the advantages of consultancies coming into this industry as they have been working with clients from the same sector for many years.
Lastly, I do not want to leave out the increasing importance of sustainability and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion).Consumers will opt for greener choices and all types of companies in our industry are trying to reduce their Carbon Print. The UK´s Adnet Zero programme will no doubt have its replicas in other countries.
At the same time, more and more brands are using agency selection processes that only include agencies that confirm their commitment to DEI with figures from their own agency. More and more agencies have leaders involved in the process of trying to change things. According to Deloitte, 67% of job seeking talent use diversity as an important factor when considering companies and job offers.
This industry will continue to focus, as always, on trying to do good and creating a better planet to live in. Creative talent will keep working with brands to change the world for good. Let’s focus on the thought that, thanks to creativity, we will live in permajoy times in 2023 and the coming years.