Game-changing advertising trends to watch out for in 2020

Industry heads reveal their predictions for the advertising business in the year ahead

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Updated: Dec 20, 2019 9:38 AM

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Advertising

When we look back at 2019, we see a year where some of the biggest brands and agencies had their creative effectiveness questioned. With 2020 drawing near, the industry is looking ahead to new ideas, technologies and platforms that will once again revolutionise the way brands interact with customers. However, as the year ends, we’re also reminded of last year’s promises, and those that failed to live up to the hype. And then, there are those trends that changed that game and are worth paying heed to. We asked creatives what according to them are the big trends to watch out for, as we go forward into a new year.

 Tarun Rai Chairman & Group CEO, Wunderman Thompson South Asia

Purpose, a new narrative for brands, gains momentum. A lot of brands were actively imbuing their brands with ‘purpose’. The Millennials and Gen Z consumers have more regard for brands that have a point-of-view and stand for something. As a result, a lot of brands decided that it was time their brands stood for something, adopt a cause. Some managed it well and were perceived to be authentic while for many others it seemed forced, a box to tick.

Integration across platforms and the need for end-to-end solutions under one roof. Increasingly, clients are asking for better integration of their communication message across platforms. They are looking for an agency with the requisite domain knowledge and expertise to manage this. It is more efficient and allows for a cohesive and consistent brand message. In an economy that has slowed down, integration also reduces agency costs. Wunderman Thompson has benefited from this trend as we have the global capability at scale in data, technology, digital, content, e-commerce and activation.

Talent continues to be a challenge for our industry. The competition is now not from within our industry but from outside. Content companies abound and they are hunting for talent that will hit the ground running. Platform owners want to offer creative solutions and are looking at our people. And finally, some clients are looking to in-house creative and find a ready hunting ground for talent in agencies. It’s good for talented people as there are more opportunities but tough for agencies.

Anand Bhadkamkar, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network India

The current year witnessed several challenges for the industry – NTO, weak economic conditions, muted consumer demand and slowdown in some sectors such as automobiles, real estate, BFSI, etc. The industry did grow in the current year but it was lower than the originally-anticipated rate of 12-13 per cent. During the year, the government has taken many proactive decisions, such as the reduction in corporate tax rates, further simplification in GST and sector-focused recovery actions for real estate, etc.

As we move into 2020, some of these actions will help re-ignite the growth again. At the same time, the market is going through a transformative phase with digital playing a big role in brand engagement and customer reach. Some of the trends noticed during the year are:

Digital beyond marketing:  Clients are beginning to use digital better to understand consumer trends and recruitment, and deciding product strategy. It is more about using digital to achieve business outcomes and driving commerce rather than about using data, machine learning, Martech platforms, etc. for improving advertising/marketing outcomes.

 Millennials rule the roost. They have become the go-to audience for multiple reasons: eagerness to find engaging content and share, a large buying population and great influences of the wider population.

Storytelling /Content is King. There is a growing realisation about the importance of connecting audiences through interesting storytelling – be it in long format or short – to engage audiences. In fact, the trend of ‘digital engagement first and then TV’ is on the rise; and it not only connects with Video or Static but across.

 Digital OOH is coming of age. OOH is now seen as a medium that enables strong connections with brands and enhances response to online brand communication. Advertisers are willing to experiment more with digital OOH solutions. Ambient spaces are being taken more seriously and designed with a greater focus to be part of a larger story that the brand is trying to tell. Evidently, Storytelling is steadily becoming the hero here as well.

 Customer experience and customer-centricity will drive brand building. Customer experience (CX) design is becoming the next developing frontier in brand building. Brands and agency partners that decode and deliver this best will win more with consumers. The use of data and machine learning, collecting first-party data and enriching it is becoming a focus area for many clients. And this, with the support of Martech, helps deliver better consumer / personal experiences. There is growing recognition of the importance of marrying data and creativity. 

At Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN), more than 50 per cent of our business is digital. This, along with our data capabilities and our one P&L approach, has helped us adapt to the new trends and deliver growth faster than the market in the current year. We at DAN had named 3Vs – Video, Voice and Vernacular to drive growth. The 3Vs continued to grow this year with regional languages expected to fuel further growth in the coming years especially in content, OTT platforms.

Rohit Ohri, Group Chairman, CEO, FCB India

We saw the success of Streedhan this year. And from learning what is working and what is not, we figured that the premium on human connections that it managed to get because there were so many awareness campaigns but not as effective as this one. The premium on the brand’s human connection and their behaviour is very deep. When I truly know my target audience and then reach out to them, it makes all the difference. Moreover, people are getting lost with AI and programmatic.

However, it’s not a substitute for a human connection. To understand what cultural and human context is and what the feelings are is of the essence. The other important piece is that we talk about integration all the time, but if you can create platforms that can be communication integrators and brand-created platforms which are idea-integrated, it can be game-changing. The new mantra is about not overselling. The message needs to be absorbed by the target audience.

And that’s more long-lasting and effective because today there is so much messaging around us. We are filtering out so much before it even reaches us. Authenticity is the biggest thing that brands are trying to practise. It’s not just about how you depict ideas to consumers. It’s not as small as that. It’s now about walking the talk. 

Sagar Kapoor, CCO, Lowe Lintas

 The stories are coming back to the brands. In many recent briefings, I have had conversations on storytelling with clients. Most of them are of the belief that a story, even if it is told in 30 or 20 seconds, is the new edge they need. As much tough as it sounds, given the shorter duration, it is always encouraging for a creative person to get more opportunities to tell stories. I have been pleasantly surprised on many occasions, recently with the younger creative managing micro-moment based storytelling in even formats like 10 and 5 seconds.

Raghu Bhat, Founder, Scarecrow M&C Saatchi

Digital is seeing a lot of action. We saw Youtubers becoming mainstream brand ambassadors. We saw a 'TikTok strategy' becoming part of presentations. We saw increasing questions being asked about the ROI of digital and influencers. I have also met many digital leaders who say that the cost of acquisition is going up. Also, there is a lot of debate on privacy and 'Google tax' - both of which could make advertising even more expensive.

Azazul Haque, CCO, Mullen Lintas:

 Digital lead agencies winning big at the award shows, both local and international, just shows how 2019 finally witnessed the recognition of digital medium as a platform for creative ideas that go beyond long-format videos. Creative ideas around innovations, engagement and experiences were celebrated and awarded. Also, many digital award shows coming up also made the digital medium be seen beyond web banners and social media posts. The future of creativity is digital and 2019 was the year that witnessed and showcased that change

 

 

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