bigdog News

Our 2019 trend predictions

January 2019

Written by Dan Marsh, Digital Director at bigdog 

The trees and tinsel are (hopefully) all packed away and already 75% of our resolutions have been broken. 2019 is well underway, and with it comes a sense of optimism - or uncertainty depending on your viewpoint.

We like to keep things positive though and have turned our attention to the social, behavioural and technological trends we think will be shaping our, and our clients, agendas for the year.

1. Brands with purpose

A long-held belief is that the route to long-term commercial success is to invest in changing, reinforcing and embedding in audiences’ emotional associations with a brand that will drive sales, loyalty and advocacy.

A report in late 2018 suggested that two-thirds of US consumers expect brands to produce products or services that ‘take a stand’ on issues they care about.

Last year, both Nike and Lush showed us all how (in politically divisive times) brands are prepared to risk taking a stand on polarising social issues. Already this year, Gregg’s have (inadvertently?) ignited passionate social discussion with their vegan sausage roll, and Gillette have polarised opinion about modern masculinity. We expect to see much more of this throughout the year.

2. Experience becomes integral

What unites today’s power brands (Google, Apple, Amazon)? Fundamentally it’s that they want to be judged by their customers on what they do. As such they are very focused on experience and responding to the behavioural preferences of their audiences.

This year, as voice search continues to rise and we prepare for 5G, connected consumers expect to summon brands wherever they are and whichever way they choose – without compromising on those fundamentals. Customer experience has transcended a buzzword and become a necessity.

3. Disrupting the disruptors

According to a WARC study with leading CMO’s, over half agree (or strongly agree) that they’re threatened by category disruption. It’s hard to think of an industry which hasn’t been shaken up by a challenger in recent years. So much so, that long-established players are finally sitting up and taking notice, and in some cases taking the lead, from start-up culture.

A joint study by Facebook and IPSOS  revealed 72% of disruptor brands have experienced rapid or consistent growth, with social media credited as the key to reaching their audience and competing against much bigger companies. 2019 is sure to be a year where the old guard adapt or face continued threat.

4. AR overtakes VR

Despite the tech world’s continued insistence that VR will one day be a major feature in households around the world, consumer adoption remains slow. Not so with its digital cousin, augmented reality. Thanks to frictionless adoption through the smartphone revolution and major platforms (like Facebook Studio) allowing for easier entry level experimentation, the global AR market is projected to outgrow VR by more than 50% by 2021.

A big contributor to this is its increasing use in marketing and advertising. We expect to see even more of that this year – driven by a winning combination of great idea and genuine consumer benefit.

5. Technology timeouts

Technologists, avert your eyes. Hold the front page, because… we’re spending too much time on our phones! But consciousness of this is rising. In 2018, Mintel stated that 1 in 5 UK consumers are cutting down on social media and phone usage as they’re worried about its effects on mental health.

It’s a sign of growing desire people have to reconnect with the physical world and see friends ‘IRL’, particularly amongst younger people unfamiliar with a time pre-social media. There is opportunity for brands to show respect to consumers by not ‘bombarding’ them and instead providing positive, useful and engaging content which inspires more real-world experiences.

6. Fallout from data misuse and social misinformation

2018 was, at best, a mixed year in digital. Several well-publicised cases led the EU Competition Commissioner to claim that data misuse had ‘’darkened technology’s potential‘’. Combine this with confusion over legitimate content sources in the post-truth era and it looks like a murky world.

Advertisers will be scrutinised more than ever in 2019. Never has it been so important to consider the true value your brand is providing to those you’re targeting. A WhatsApp partnered campaign in India highlighting the risks of online misinformation is a great example of a powerful brand supporting this.

In summary…

2019 will continue to see many challenge’s brands have faced in recent year’s grow and evolve and be held to account more than ever. But we love a challenge! As ever, we’ll be working with our clients to ensure we capitalise on this era of constant change and embrace it for its opportunities. To quote a recent well-known, all-caps, seasonal tweet… ‘’ENJOY THE RIDE!’’

If we can help you navigate the tricky marketing terrain this year, then please do get in touch.

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