While the Pitch Madison Ad Report expelled some hard hitting numerics stating the hay advertisers will be making this year, there were quite a few takeaways for marketers gathered at the venue too. For Marketers who often tend to go trend-spotting to help their brands get the right mix of things the brand custodian of one of India’s oldest and most formidable organisations, Tata Sons may just be the right person to point out these trends. Here are the seven meta trends given by Harish Bhat, Brand Custodian, Tata Sons that will shape the face of global marketing in 2017, at the unveiling of the Pitch Madison Ad Report 2017 on Wednesday.
1. The rise of nationalist populism and the authentic emotive appeal
Taking cue from the biggest global events that unfolded in 2016, Bhat consciously drew resemblance between the campaigns of US President, Donald Trump and Britain’s Boris Johnson that were both fuelled by a strong sentiment of populist nationalism. Tying a similar social narrative with the situation in India, Bhat says, “The demonetisation initiative deployed by the Narendra Modi Government has taken a populist narrative, where the rich, non-taxpayers are being penalised and money appears to be channelled in the welfare of poor India. Whether it’s the US election, Brexit or demonetisation, it’s all about a populist narrative, where the people have started believing in the authentic emotive appeal of nationalist leaders instead of the factually right narrative. This gives marketers an opportunity to leverage on the nationalistic sentiment to drive their brand value.”
2. Rebirth of the Unites States of America
While there has been plenty of talk pertaining to the rise of GDP growth in China, India, and other developing markets, Bhat tilts the development index in Northern America’s favour saying that the recent reforms in corporate tax and infrastructure projects will lead to a steady growth in the American market. Explaining how marketers in India can take into account the impending surge in the dollar value, Bhat states, “The corporate tax reforms planned by Trump will bring in the dollars parked out of US into the country thus strengthening the dollar. Investment in infrastructure projects will lead to more jobs in the US, which marketers all over the world need to be prudent about.”
3. Formalisation of the Indian Economy
Taking the fight back to the unorganised sector that has been reaping huge dividends courtesy to the unlevelled playing field between the organised and unorganised sectors, Bhat upholds legislature promises such as Goods and Services Tax (GST) and digital payments. “The unorganised sector evades many taxes which enable them to market their products at a much lower price compared to organised brands like us. GST in the long run will even the playing field making the unorganised sector increasingly tax compliant,” says an optimistic Bhat.
4. The power of connectivity
With the average number of connected devices per household rising, it’s imperative for marketers to start thinking in terms of offerings that substantiate the use of use of such devices. Speaking to that effect Bhat says, “Integrating the use of connected devices is an inevitable phenomenon since 40% of all Fortune 500 companies have an Internet of Things (IoT) project manifesting internally. Wearables are the next big thing as they will progress from measuring steps walked and calories burned to more intrinsic parameters such as blood sugar and blood pressure levels which can open the floodgates for health brands waiting to market their products.”
5. Private Superpowers
In today’s day and age there are companies which have a user base larger than some of the most populous countries in the world. These private behemoths include Facebook, Whatsapp, Google and other digital players that are servicing more than billion customers. Stressing on how marketers have a splendid opportunity to leverage the large user base of these private superpowers, Bhat speaks, “There was a time when importance given to public superpowers such as US, Russia and China was unparallel, but the new favourites today are these private superpowers that provide a large platform of consumers to marketers around the world. However, while these superpowers may have a strong bandwidth of analytics and data support, it’s pivotal for brands to also develop their own systems to enhance the quality of marketing output.
6. Technology overdose and the ‘Hygge’ moments
The next meta trend served by Bhat is a cultural shift observed in western markets where people have started getting weary of the deep penetration of technology in their lives and are seeking moments away from it. Supported by a Danish term ‘Hygge’ which is a counterpoint to the thriving digital culture, Bhat puts into perspective the need felt by large urban audiences across the developed world for such moments that are completely averse to technology. “Best exemplified by warm socks, a hot cup of tea, the fragrance of cinnamon and incense sticks, these moments of absolute breakaway from the digital world is being felt by urban audiences the world over. The threefold increase in the prices of cardamom, cinnamon and cloves is evidence of that shift, and marketers have vast opportunities to tap into the Hygge moments of customers,” says Bhat.
7. The changing millennial
For brands that are in a frenzy to serve young customers it is necessary to take into account the changing behaviour of millennials. Driven by deep rooted emotions such as the need for purpose in life, resentment towards older generations, a strong sense of entitlement and a fixation towards embracing the unexpected young customers are complex lot. Speaking on how brands can win the loyalty of millennials, Bhat states, “Marketers need to convey a purpose in their communication to get the attention of the youth who are otherwise cynical of brands. Apart from lending a purpose, brands also need to pacify the pent up anger felt by millennials towards the older generations for exploitation of resources and many other challenges the world is facing today. Therefore, marketers have a huge task cut out before them to get into the mind of the young user without appearing to forceful in their approach.”