Don’t blink

Not only is the pace of change accelerating, the target is also moving faster

Advertising has long been based on the ability to deliver a message to a target audience. As consumers spend more time with more media on more devices, achieving that mass audience is not only increasingly hard, it’s also increasingly expensive. Consumers are more selective, their behavior more fragmented and their attention span is becoming shorter. Moving into the future, this disruption will continue to influence how consumers interact with brands.

The continued advancement of technology has been instrumental in rebalancing the power dynamic from marketers to consumers, creating a daunting challenge for brands to stay innovative. It has also removed a great deal of approximation in the way brands approach consumers, giving them the ability to target the most profitable profiles rather than just achieving scale. But reaching and attracting consumers isn’t enough and the question becomes what can brands do to forge a more powerful, deeper and seamlessly natural connection with their consumers?

Brands have embraced engagement wholeheartedly, for it represents the middle point between simple awareness and loyalty. The response to content put out by brands is the best we’ve had so far and yet there are signs that ‘engagement’ as a metric may not last as long as awareness. So what’s next?

At last year’s OMD Predicts, the answer given was creative utility; in other words, brands being more useful for consumers, beyond their products and services. People are willing to engage with brands as long as the value equation is more balanced. At the heart of these relationships is a deep understanding of consumers’ aspirations, needs and desires. However, the device diversity and the context of consumption will be essential factors to engaging the modern consumer.

With brand communication changing so quickly and deeply, how do agencies need to evolve? Silos are starting to break, between creative and media for example. The old dichotomy between media has now led to a far more integrated, media neutral method. The convergence of media, technology and creative will fuel the new era of brand marketing, one in which strategists from different disciplines will collaborate to define strategies and innovate, while the execution will be done in more automated manner. Our value system will evolve as a result.

If we prioritize our innovative mindset, eliminate barriers to technology and harness both big data and little brother properly, we are poised for huge growth. This will squarely change our economic conversations with our clients, providing the multiplier effect their brands and businesses deserve. In many ways, this is just the beginning. The promise of big data and technology is now starting to come to fruition.

Follow Waseem on Twitter: @wasswass

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