As marketers, one of our biggest challenges is staying ahead of the curve. With the speed our industry is moving, the need for true creativity and innovation has never been more important. But with the barrage of data, trends, and bots, how do we separate the worthwhile from the worthless and create truly great marketing that resonates with real people?
Most Contagious NYC provided a roundup of the best campaigns of 2018 and the big trends looking forward.
Five themes in particular stood out for me:
1. Be creatively brave
We know that standout creative ideas simultaneously inspire and create a change in behavior, though not without pushing limits and taking risks. But with scientific studies proving that we are subconsciously hardwired to avoid taking risks, the question is, how to do so in a calculated way? Chris Barth, co-author of The Contagious Commandments – Ten Steps to Brand Braveryoutlined steps we could all take to encourage creative bravery.
Some were pretty straightforward, like giving teams and agencies the room to explore ideas. Others, like ‘hiring for bravery’, require an organizational commitment to diversity and acknowledging that brave ideas often come from those who don’t have the same background, think or look like you.
2. Understand the potential of machine vision
Touted as the next great technological evolution, the ability for computers to understand visual information has surpassed that of humans. For brands looking to harness this AI technology to drive them into the future, key questions to ask are: ‘How can visual insights benefit my business?’ and ‘What are the areas of complexity in my customers’ lives?’.
For example, today it’s facial recognition on your phone, cashier-less stores, and diagnosing mental illness by analyzing a person’s Instagram account. The potential for brands is only limited by our imaginations.
3. Identify movements early and own the conversation
This was a fascinating look at how Twitter analyzes language trends and audience behaviors to identify ideas and human moments that will become movements – from #MeToo to #Mayochup. Moments that emerge to become movements all share the unique quality of consistent conversation spikes over a 72-hour window. Brands looking to shape conversations and culture need to harness these insights early.
4. Embrace Values
A survey in the US and UK show that 58% of consumers say it is important that the brands they like have a point of view on wider social issues. Brands that don’t take a stand on socio-political issues risk losing relevance or end up in “brand purgatory”, displeasing both sides. Simply put, corporate neutrality is out of date. Regardless of your views on the Nike-Colin Kaepernick campaign, it’s hard to ignore the numbers: $48 million in earned media within 24 hours, a 31% jump in online sales and a $6 billion jump in market value in the week following the ad.
Though it may be tempting to jump on a side trending in popularity, the key takeaway here is the need for a brand to be crystal clear on its values. And critically, be prepared to stand by them no matter what.
5. Use technology to rejuvenate retail
We’ve all heard the proclamations of retail’s death; but the surprise here is that technology is also ushering in a Retail Renaissance. The players reshaping the physical shopping experience are using technology to connect and innovate, allowing smaller players to achieve global reach. ShopShops in China is all about “shopping global like a local” by connecting U.S. brick-and-mortar shops with a community of global shoppers through live-stream events. They’ve created a curated and fully immersive virtual-physical shopping experience in real time where customers can purchase directly from their mobile phones.
The sweet spot is the intersection of Content, Community, and Commerce, with brands like Glossier trying to own the online beauty conversation and involving their customers in the development of new products. To borrow from these innovators, it’s about going back to basics; reconnecting with a passion for people and exceeding customer expectations.
OxfordSM partnered with Contagious to define what it takes for brands to be ‘Fit for the Future’ in the book The Contagious Commandments – Ten Steps to Brand Bravery.