Let us do some crystal gazing for 2015, the Chinese year of the goat.
It will also be the year of the specialist
Clients will look more and more towards specialized agencies who can provide communication solutions for specific business problems. Esoteric brand building as a separate activity will be obsolete. Building the brand needs to go hand in hand with selling it. And it is fine for a brand to change several avatars while it "finds itself". Nothing is cast in stone.
There is a thriving world beyond mass media
The holy grail, "the 30-second TV commercial" that I cut my teeth on will no longer be every ad person's dream. It will be relegated to one among many media that you need to use to engage with your rather fickle consumer who needs to be surrounded with your message, across media, 24/7, to elicit the desired response. If you are lucky.
Engage or die
Engagement will be the name of the game. We will continue obsessing about how to engage an increasingly fickle, attention deficit consumer. Whether it is a doctor or the teenage girl next door or a business client, marketers are racking their brains to figure out how to engage them for that crucial moment of truth and continue to do so to build a short-term relationship at best.
Content will continue to be number one
Consumption of content is going to grow like computing power and storage requirements. Exponentially, social media will devour content at an alarming pace. All kinds. So content is going to be king as are developers of content which is engaging, relevant and shareable.
It is all about entertainment, baby
Or should I say edutainment? Entertainment first, everything else later. If it does not entertain you don't have a hope in hell of engaging with your consumer. Nobody will look at your communication unless it provides some value.
People love to play
From doctors to teenagers to staid businessmen, tell them and they will listen, show them and they may remember, let them play and they will be hooked. Gamification is going to be the one of the best ways for brands to engage with all their stakeholders.
Including thinking. Agencies which provide end-to-end solutions from thinking to doing are the ones who are going to win big time. The so called "BTL" agencies are going to finally have their day in the sun.
Everything has a shelf life
Even communication. Year long campaigns will no longer work. You will need a new campaign every month to keep your audience engaged. I hope we don't follow the Friday phenomenon of Indian films.
Appearances are everything
2015 will be the year of design. Apple started the trend many moons ago and today the future belongs to design. Products, communication, stores et al.
As an industry boundaries will vanish between creative, event, media and digital agencies. Forward, backward and every ways integration will be the name of the game till we are more confused than we already are. And we the people in the communication business will need to be more like the goat if we are to survive. Creative, dependable, intelligent, curious and calm. Happy grazing!
The author is Malavika Harita, CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi Focus Network India