Here’s 16 predictions for 2016

  1. nyeMore adblockers used by more people. Not because people hate advertising, not because advertising is more intrusive than it used to be.  Whether these two things are true or not is irrelevant.  It is because ads slow things down that you really want to get at.  Some news sites and magazines take four times longer to download because of the advertising.  No-one wants that.  Why wouldn’t you adblock if that is the case?  The solution? Not meaningful ads, not better targeted ads.  Better or more appropriate application of technology.  That works in mobile: smartphones and ipads as well as desktop.
  2. Media budgets spent in accountable media. Accountable in terms of outcomes, not traditional media metrics.
  3. No stepchange in media research. Although we are long overdue a revolution in cross industry standards, and although many siloed media are investing in research solutions that benefit them in isolation, there is still no sign of a true cross industry solution.
  4. Customer service will transform how people think of brands. I was on hold to a financial service institution for 40 minutes last week, but they assured me that my call was very important to them, so that made it ok.    Next year sees the launch of a bank with no bricks and mortar.  Designed to service the customer.
  5. Less spin, more authenticity. Brands that sell with stories about warmth and empathy that their creative agencies have made up, will underperform versus brands that deliver warmth and empathy and then have creative that tells brilliant stories about what they have actually done.
  6. SEO gains significance. Not just because it helps with search. But because if your product delivers in natural search it means that it is largely doing the right things for marketing in general.
  7. A long overdue recognition of the importance of acting locally for national brands. A superb way to cut through the competition.  Also we are not one nation, Chelsea and Tottenham aren’t equivalent, let alone Durham and Swansea.
  8. A continued shift in how trends form. The traditional canon of influence – published critics and trend setters – gives way to a constantly changing set of internet self published influencers.
  9. The power of friendly and respectful communications strategies for competitive standout. Brands must be friendly to their fans and followers.  If you speak out for a brand then you expect to be thanked, liked, retweeted etc and recognised.  One way comms will not do.  Reply, acknowledge, amplify.
  10. The employee brand increases in importance. What do the people closest to the brand say think and do ie those who work for the retailer, service provider or manufacturer.  Their voice is going to be recognised more and more in 16.  They are the real brand ambassadors and their views make a difference.
  11. More diversity in business and in media. The inspirational efforts of individuals such as Karen Blackett OBE, the day to day efforts of every business leader, and my next book, The Glass Wall, success strategies for women at work, with co-author Kathryn Jacob published in the autumn will all help to drive real change.
  12. New app ecology: the end of fragmentation and the rise of the VPA
  13. Strong women on the rise. Ditch the stereotypes.  We’re going to see a whole new set of strong women out there in 2016.
  14. The re-emergence of insight in comms planning. The industry has been focussed on, some would say obsessed with, tech and innovation at the expense of brilliant insight.  Strategies driven by the latter are the ones which have true business outcomes.  The rest is just tactics, fun in the moment.
  15. Proper use of the second screen, not just tactically but as core brand strategy.
  16. The best creatives will be media planners. The best media planners will be closing sales.
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