Coming live from Shanghai with 1 too many cups of coffee in my system to catch any Zzz’s, I have been contemplating the changes that have taken place around the world since I packed my bags last May to do some seeking in the East (which I have just so happened to fall in love with).
Yes, I’m from California and no I don’t surf, but it’s clear that 2016 was a wave that a lot of people, including myself, still don’t fully understand…like at all.
Over the past year or so since I’ve been abroad studying, working, travelling, and living in China, the world has shifted in ways the wildest of pundits could never have predicted.
For starters: Brexit and the election of Donald Trump. During this time of political and social upheaval, it’s been a fascinating and novel experience, as an American, to sit outside of the bubble and just observe while living in a foreign country (and completely different world) abroad.
With a lot of hype back home about tech, job loss, trade deficits, automation, just about every industry is in flux and up for grabs in my opinion. It’s quite a time to be alive and in university expanding my horizons in the Eastern world that I now call my second home. As I’m currently underway in my internship at Ogilvy & Mather in Shanghai, I wanted to take a moment to talk about the coming marketing and communications trends of 2017.
Here we have the 5 ‘IN’ trends of 2017: INtelligence, INtegrity, INnovation, INdividualism, and INvisibile
We are without a doubt entering the most transformative period of human history. The long quest to make machines human and humans machine has arrived, as illustrated by the Robots Exhibition now showing at the London Science Museum.
Artificial intelligence, robots, machine learning. Existential crisis, anyone? Just a little bit? I’ll admit it. Sometimes I wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, wish I was an inch taller and a bit prettier, and then get into a longing state questioning the universe and what it even means to be human anymore. OK, I’m kidding, I’m not that depressing. I’m actually pretty stoked for the future and everything that is coming. It’s freaking exciting and I’m down for the ride.
In addition to the questionable jazz going on back home stateside, spending the past year in China on the frontier of the world’s shifts and energy is in itself a thrill-ride like nothing I’ve ever experienced before that satisfies my craving for adventure to the fullest (I’ll grow out of it eventually). It’s like being a fly on the wall inside a huge bee hive that is undergoing the most massive societal reconstruction in history. That’s what it is. China is a brilliantly enchanting world. Everything is changing so rapidly that I truly still don’t believe what I see before my eyes everyday. It’s the workshop of the world. Stimulation and change, 24/7. People say
New York is the city that never sleeps…no, sorry, allow me to introduce my one true love Shanghai.
Anyways, with the rise of IoT, intelligence, the recent CES show in Vegas, machine learning, big data, blah blah blah and a bunch of other wild stuff like emotional surveillance tracking rumors circulating Wall Street, the implications and trickle-down into digital communications is hard to ignore.
Just for example, add all of this to facial recognition, augmented realities, and mobile integration to gauge how your audience is feeling/reacting at an exact moment in time in order to present them with a particular message, comment, product, or suggestion, and you have a recipe for the future of digital marketing and communication for brands around the world.
Of course, this new wave of tech and big data brings a lot of obvious ethical issues that need to be discussed. Artificial intelligence, augmented worlds, data mining, and surveillance of consumers is a bit alarming and does worry me. Without a doubt, companies and their brands need to focus on trust, privacy, and respect, which leads me to my next point: INtegrity
As I was following the election season and reading American news articles from abroad in Shanghai, I often found myself asking my older sister back home in San Francisco if what I was reading online was actually true or not. That’s scary.
We are now living in a post-truth era. With the rise of fake news, we will see the demise of traditional media. The cats out of the bag, and the curtain is being pulled back.
2017 is the year we will begin seeing big impacts in our lives, work, and communication. Where once we touted the virtues of a new age of authenticity through social media, we will soon value, trust, and rely on news from the individual and normal-Joes. I believe new platforms will pop up to leverage this. Say, VICE working with normal citizens to produce our nation’s news. What would that look like?
Namely, I believe this decade will be the continuing rising importance, power, and significance of the consumer, a more global singular human consciousness, and the opportunity for normal people from around the world to have a greater voice through tech.
Transparency, authenticity, and less structured -instituionalized opinion is what the world needs and what we will be see popping up in less conventional ways through new channels of communication.
For all companies and brands, now so more than ever, it’s important to put truth, value, and purpose behind your business strategy, the world needs it. Corporations with thought leadership and socially present tendencies have an amazing opportunity to fill the institutional void of trust and reliability that is lacking. Win-win.
More than ever, the insights and high-tech being integrated into pioneering companies is staggering. Besides obvious Goliaths like Google and Facebook, leading agencies like Ogilvy & Mather are using real data and real numbers to drive real results for real people. Under our parent holdings company WPP, investment in data, virtual, digital, and tailored B2B/B2C solutions are here and will be rolling out to provide companies and consumers with amazing individualized brand experiences to drive growth and differentiate.
For marketing firms and agencies that will remain standing and leading our pack through our world in flux, you can be sure that all things data are in the process of integrating. The best will be working alongside brands creating unique campaigns that will put the data behind how consumers click, touch, feel, and behave in the digital sphere at the center of their strategy.
One thing is sure; the old somewhat stigmatized fluf of marketing/ad companies are long gone. It’s now the benchmark for [good] clients to demand solid data and numbers, backed by quantifiable results that boost engagement, sales, and awareness. This has led to the hiring of whole teams of data scientists and the like across industry leaders and a much more precise, academic approach to strategy and execution. Companies that aren’t keeping up with these changes will fade in 2017.
These advances ultimately open the doors for B2C interaction like never before, and allows companies to harness all sorts of ‘augmented’ IoT data and channels to give consumers novel insider experiences of their brand and product through uniquely personalized experiences.
As technology becomes more deeply embedded in our everyday lives, consumers are expecting seamless integrations between their physical and digital worlds. What Waze is creating for drivers, Pokémon Go is creating for audiences on the move, and in turn, marketers. With the harnessing of new channels, e-commerce, and behavioral data allowing previously unheard-of levels of personalization, times are radically changing.
While our offline and online worlds continue to be seamlessly stitched together, the opportunity is here for smart brands to use both physical and digital touch points to reach consumers in order to create value in-between our digital and physical worlds. Where can your brand have a meaningful impact along your audience’s journey?
It’s 2017 and there has simply never been a greater need for companies to be purpose-driven, keeping empathy for people and planet, and brand integrity at the heart of their strategy.
I believe there are a lot of disenfranchised, invisible, and hurt people out there, especially in light of recent world events. In 2017, CSR is the best marketing. Patagonia’s Black Friday Campaign is a great example of this.
Now so more than ever, it is the responsibility of our society’s companies and leadership to step up to the plate to help their communities and customers through the creation of initiatives and campaigns that simulatenously build brand integrity and do something good for the world. As huge waves of new communication, experience, personalization, and integration reach the shore in 2017, I believe the best companies and biggest brands around the world will put this at the top of their agenda to help make the invisible visible.
As 2017 begins, the question remains whether this will be the year that technology is fully embraced by the marketing community for a force of good during a time of great change and upheaval around the world. Companies have a great opportunity to make a positive impact in their communities through creative well-to-do campaigns that build trust and brand integrity with consumers and citizens of the world. Here we go!
As always, I’d love for you guys to share your thoughts or message me below.
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