Wow, Happy New Year! 2022 flew by, at least for me. And I know… time flies when you’re having fun! Really – it does! As someone who considers herself extremely lucky to be in an industry that I love, and yes have FUN in; 2022 was incredibly interesting.
The last three years have demonstrated the need for more in-depth and nuanced customer perspectives and modern brand and marketing strategies.
Whether in a B2C, B2B, DTC scenario, the journey to purchasing anything/everything has changed. The way brands grow has changed. The way brands are valued (or not) in the hearts and minds of customers has and will continue to change. That makes working in the marketing and insights space fascinating and yes, fun!
Don’t take it from me, take it from almost every speaker at last year’s industry events. The way brands are marketing and managing their growth opportunities are different. Product innovation opportunities are different, and messages that resonate are different. Bringing it all together requires a fresh, and even disruptive perspective, a new mindset. That was the message across the industry at almost every conference. The pathway to growth for brands and marketers is far more circuitous than ever before. And we can expect this to continue in 2023 and beyond. That being said, I picked up on three key trends that we can expect to contribute to brand growth in the new year, let’s dive in.
Diversity, Inclusion & Youth Strategies
The new generation of consumers are here to stay, and it requires a full mindset shift. “Gen pop” strategies are at risk of being archaic and not accurately portraying or uncovering growth potential in the short and long term. Diversity, cultural youth viewpoint, and inclusion cannot be an afterthought, over-sample, quota or subordinate to general market. Marc Pritchard, CMO of P&G said at ANA Masters of Marketing this year, we need to “break old habits” and “build new habits” throughout the entire brand strategy and marketing ecosystem; research, creative/ads, media etc. and make sure the partners trusted by brands to drive growth have a similar and aligned mindset. Partners like our Cassandra team *shameless plug* have real-time insights on the multicultural landscape of the young generation of consumers to provide brands with their unique perspectives and drive growth.
Emotions and Attitudes
Emotional reactions to a brand or product have increased in importance and uncovering true feelings can be the thin threads that will drive brand growth, especially in established and competitive categories. What people say and don’t say about brands illuminates the emotional connection. Ford, Mastercard, Chipotle, Hershey, EOS, and more were all on stages this year speaking about emotional connections, unique connections, that drove growth and resonance. For years marketers have “balanced” functional and emotional benefits in brand strategy. Not to say functional benefits no longer matter – of course they do – but functional benefits are table stakes, and the minimum offering required to be in the market. Emotional connections and understanding of the gradation that defines that connection will unlock brand growth. Being able to thread emotions and attitudes into the marketing, analytics and media ecosystem are vital. We’ve been building brand segmentations for years, but truly personifying and humanizing the customer and threading this detail throughout the entire brand strategy will deliver more authentic and real connections. It will drive growth, retention, and more importantly, ROI from marketing/media investment! Cue another shameless plug in an area where we have lots of fun… Our Digital Hives uncover consumers’ right-brain motivations in real-time and help brands get a better understanding of people’s motivations.
Be Agile. Full disclosure, I believe the word “agile” is overused and misunderstood. It’s more than speed and good tech at our fingertips. It’s about being flexible – truly flexible. It’s about failing fast, failing forward, and leveraging heritage knowledge with modern mindsets. Operationally being nimble and cost effective will inform and deliver brand growth. Keurig Dr. Pepper (KDP) put it well in a recent presentation, it’s about “progress over perfection” and they’ve demonstrated measurable share growth in some of the most competitive categories. A coveted outcome!
Brands today need partners that understand how brands grow in today’s world and understand what is emerging, culturally.
A CMO recently shared with me that they cancelled a research project because it felt like it was from the 90’s – and not helpful! Brands today need insights, marketing, and media partners that understand and focus on the entire marketing and media ecosystem, not just the project scope. Always do things with the end in mind – brand growth. It’s crucial to have partners that are willing to challenge mindsets or disrupt conventional processes for the benefit of measurable brand growth. I believe brand teams today want to have fun doing all the above. Who wants more headaches anyway? Especially in the new year.
So yes, I had fun in 2022, tons of it! And I’m optimistic about 2023. Why? Because I am proud of what Big Village has accomplished for our clients. I am proud to be a part of a Village with colleagues that are truly dedicated to thinking about brand growth and ROI differently no matter the headwinds and challenges. And a Village that has fun along the way. Cheers to the new year and trusting us to help YOU drive more growth! Contact us to learn how we can make these trends work for your brand in the new year.
Written by Cathy Cottle, Vice President, Insights at Big Village