The relationship between marketers and their customers is entering a new era.
Pandemic-induced consumer behaviours are here to stay. Over the past year, most of us have been forced to adapt to change and uncertainty more than ever before. With many of our daily interactions going solely digital, we should expect the gap between brands that meaningfully engage audiences online and those who don’t to grow significantly.
This will be a year when industry leaders will need to embrace change and invest in new solutions to keep ahead of the curve.
There are no shortcuts to marketing strategies that deliver results, but there are a few key areas of innovation that you’ll want to keep an eye on to inform smart decision-making as we tackle 2022.
Here are some of the interesting trends that are set to mould the world of marketing and advertising in the coming year:
Prioritising brand suitability amid a climate of misinformation
Researchers at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found that concerns about misinformation are on the rise, which is why it’s especially important to think about the context in which your customers interact with your brand campaigns.
For example, last year the Bureau of Investigative Journalism revealed that dozens of the world’s biggest brands were advertising on websites spreading Covid-19 misinformation, and therefore, unintentionally supporting the proliferation of inaccurate claims about the pandemic and vaccines. It’s important for marketers to put extra effort into knowing where their ads are seen by their audiences.
To hear more about this, join our session at the Festival of Marketing, where I’ll meet with an expert panel to discuss the impact of misinformation and the importance of brand-suitable partners to propel your campaigns.
Lead by example with values-based marketing
Last year, audiences around the world anxiously awaited verdicts during the Derek Chauvin and Kyle Rittenhouse trials in the wake of a global wave of protests for racial justice that started in 2020. As a result, many companies and brands embarked on a journey to improve their practices and be part of the solution for a fairer and more just society.
Similarly, as the mainstream appeal for the fight to protect the planet took centre-stage with films like Don’t Look Up and Seaspiracy, both consumers and businesses alike began to look at ways to decrease their ecological footprint.
Paying respect to social movements can be pivotal to delivering an authentic brand message that connects with your audiences’ value systems and beliefs. Consumers are looking for brands that genuinely align with their values and won’t be easily swayed by companies that merely provide lip service to the issues they care about. That’s why marketers need to shine a spotlight on the concrete steps their business is taking to tackle the world’s most challenging issues.
As global warming continues, Asia Pacific could lose $7.5 trillion in GDP by 2060. Learn more about what could mitigate this grim economic outcome in The Turning Point, a report from the Deloitte Economic Institute: https://t.co/dd4N9IdprN. Produced for @Deloitte by Reuters Plus.
— Reuters Plus (@ReutersPlus) September 7, 2021
Deloitte is one of many companies taking a values-based approach to the way they talk about their services. In 2021, Reuters Plus, the brand marketing studio at Reuters, helped it promote its detailed and thoughtful report on Asia-Pacific’s turning point on climate action, and the impact it can have on the region’s future, with notable success.
Hyper-personalised content that resonates
Broad brushstroke campaign messages, even when delivered with the highest content production values, are no longer enough. We are seeing far more attention being focused on highly specific content that speaks to the unique challenges that each audience segment is facing, with the brand-in-action resolving these.
Take a recent campaign from DBS Bank Singapore as an example. DBS produced a TV series that captured real-life scenarios where people found solutions to their unique problems with DBS. The series not only strengthened the human face of the company through spotlighting real stories and DBS staff, but also proved how well the company knows its customers and what they need.
Another way marketers are personalising content to engage different audience segments is by creating a unique visual identity that indicates a step-change. This might sound like a bold decision, especially for popular brands with wide-scale visibility, but it can be a great way to communicate to your audience what is new about you without the need to set off on a whole new rebranding exercise. For example, illustrations may allow you to create a fresh look that works in harmony with your brand’s visual identity, but which is perhaps better suited to getting your campaign message across with greater impact.
Moving to the metaverse
When Mark Zuckerberg announced that the Facebook parent company would be rebranded as Meta, he reignited the world’s interest in immersive experiences and the limitless nature of the metaverse. With the help of influencer marketing, for example Paris Hilton’s virtual New Year’s Eve party, these digital worlds are carving their way into the mainstream.
This technology is still in its early phases, but it’s easy to see how the world of the metaverse, NFTs and cryptocurrencies will impact the way marketers reach their audiences.
Billboards in these virtual spaces could become as valuable as real-life outdoor advertising, and brands can create and sell virtual items that can be worn by avatars in the metaverse. We’re already seeing brands like Gucci releasing exclusively digital sneakers that can be ‘worn’ in augmented reality or in online gaming platforms like Roblox.
Higher expectations for experiential marketing
The world of events marketing proved its ability to adapt when conferences and exhibitions were forced online due to the pandemic. Even though many of these events are returning to in-person settings, the bar is now much higher when it comes to creating hybrid experiences that allow customers and audiences to engage in genuine dialogue with event speakers and sponsors on a much wider scale.
Technology has a massive role to play in creating a diverse set of experiences at events. Event organisers are prioritising features like one-to-one networking opportunities, interactive chats or polls, and innovative branding options to elevate the online event experience so it integrates seamlessly with the in-person elements of the event.
Already thinking of ways these ideas could spearhead innovation in your marketing strategy? So are we. Get in touch with our team at Reuters Marketing Solutions to elevate a brand message that’s aligned with the most trusted voice in news.
Buddhika Amis is senior director of marketing at Reuters.