02

The Future
Of Communication

What does the future have in store?


As much as it’s impossible to accurately predict where the world of communication will be in 5 years, it’s also necessary to hypothesize to keep a step ahead in this modern marketing industry. Being a marketer in 2015 is a lot more complex and difficult than it was when I started my career 20 years ago. Channels, technology and importantly the emerging markets where local is defiantly global has created and will continue to make marketing incredibly complex when developing a lasting strategy. It is these reasons why it’s important that brands understand, embrace and influence their always-on audiences with personal, relevant messages.

Mobile communication has come a long way since 1973 when Martin Cooper developed the technique of wireless communication, but there is still a long way to go. Our mobiles are now one of our greatest possessions and we communicate with our friends and brands through them daily. There is a tidal shift to the small screen for content and it will continue to be the biggest change in consumer behavior for the foreseeable. So what will the future hold for mobile; we can expect more personal interactions between brands and people, the successful brands will captivate and provide a more personalized experience for consumers across small screen devices. The greatest future shift for mobile has gone from mere possession to necessity and with the intervention of mobile payment, connectivity and an obsession for health tracking; our mobile devices will inevitably become our personal life support. Brands that tap into this consumer mind-shift will benefit now and in the future.

Visual story telling has and always will be our first love in marketing. Therefore it’s no surprise that brand commercials are still the number one communication method for major consumer global brands. However, there is a change occurring in formats used i.e. short form, long form, snippets, streaming, sharing and consumption through mobile. These combined changes are having an effect on the old schools rules, now small brands can think big, and be big. Having had first-hand experience in International traditional agencies, they are going to find it tough. The need to be nimble, quick to react and efficient across so many channels simultaneously will win the digital video battle and ultimately the hearts and minds of all that consume it.

 

'Brands that tap into this consumer
mind-shift will benefit now and in the future'



Just as the video format advert has told us stories for the past 70 years, we are on the edge of a new story telling platform – Virtual Reality. Although VR has been bubbling under for the past 15 years, 2016 will be the avalanche of consumer wide VR. Although the technology is still in its infancy; advancements in screen resolution, processing power and full mobility interaction will certainly secure this channel its future. Brands that embrace this incredibly immersive environment tool will certainly impress their consumers and gain first mover advantage. Brands and the people who create must remember not to over complicate or try too quickly to change a lifetime of entertainment magic.

Brand values and ethos has never been as important as they are in today’s open digital world. Consumers want to know who they are buying from and whether they share the same principles. If they do, then they are rewarded through spend and over time; loyalty. Brands that are genuine and create an authentic representation of themselves through their communication will build a more secure and sustained brand. Good agencies are connectors/facilitator and bring the brand and the customer together as a partnership in kind.

Social Marketing is a medium that has certainly secured its place at the top table; Instagram allows for 15 second ads and Facebook alone makes more money on advertising than most of the major television networks in the US. The proliferation of social media has meant brands no longer make brands – people make brands. It’s a real-time conversation not a dictation in today’s always-on world. User and joint-venture generated content will significantly overtake brands capacity. It’s important that brands own their audience and understand that companies no longer are solely in charge of their brands.

 

'Good agencies are connectors/facilitator
and bring the brand and the customer
together as a partnership in kind'

 

So if people are making brands, who are tomorrow’s people? Two consumer categories that will shape the income of many brands in the near future; Millennials - a generation weaned on media habits like no others before them – cultural relevance will be key to harnessing their future spending power. From the new pound to the aging pound. Over the next 20 years, the over 60’s will increase by 44% and represent 80% of wealth – so with these important demographics, brands that harness the young and the young at heart will certainly be in good company.

If Social Media is now an established marketing mix category, what’s next? Technology is expected to move up the ladder and not just simply be the distribution platform or indeed the tool box for planning and evaluating, it will actually become part of the mix. Take API’s (Application Program Interface), this digital revolution creates programmatic connective environments, allowing information to move and interact between devices/programs. Real-time communication and data manipulation opportunity is certainly one to embrace. Agencies that think and act more like a product business and not simply as a service will succeed for themselves and the brands they represent.

The glue that holds it all together? Of course it’s data. Formulating the mass of available information into strategic directions whilst creating meaningful and real-time personalized relationships. Brands that use technology to provide in-store purchase marketing attribution, will start reaping the rewards. The growth of mobile payment will go some way to making this happen but over the coming years we will see new tracking technologies instore paving the way for end-to-end understanding.

 

'this digital revolution creates
programmatic connective environments'

 

Brand stories must have chapters that evolve over time and be told in a compelling way to the people that listen – this hasn’t changed.  Good ideas based on true consumer insight mixed with popular culture – this hasn’t changed. Activating a brand’s opportunities through invitation and personal experience and then amplifying that message through the multiple channels – this hasn’t changed. What has changed is that all these strategic marketing processes are executed on a much bigger, much more fragmented, and faster scale than ever before. Brands that are quick to market with a fast reaction time to consumer media demands and that look to a global market strategy will inevitably win.

 

By James Thomas MD of Agency Forty, you can use it or part of it, but please be respectful, please ask permission, credit the author and add a link to this page.

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02

The Future
Of Communication