You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the marketing wind blows in 2014. Herewith, some trends to watch:
1. Personalization—Strengthening the always-on, personal one-on-one connection to brands will continue. NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams may be the first out of the box with a new tag: “It’s personal.” How truly beneficial this is is open to debate, but there are some organizations with which up close and personal is not necessarily a good thing (NSA, are you listening?)
2. Multiple messaging—Instead of either/or (TV or Twitter), communications and consumer engagement will become even more experiential and immersive. Sequential messaging, (using social media to enhance TV programming and advertising) will result in more commercials that are opportunistic, share-able and able to take on a life of their own. (e.g. Oreos during the 2013 Super Bowl).
3. Big data and its twin, privacy—Remains to be seen how this will shake out. Marketers in every category, government agencies, telecoms, media companies/“content creators” and ad agencies themselves are trying to find the balance between respecting consumers’ privacy and exploiting every last data point of information for sales, profit and national security.
4. Telepathic technology—The truly creepy side of big data. From the Internet of Things and Spike Jonze’s “Her” to the latest biometric gadgets on view at the Consumer Electronic Show, expect ever more granular tracking and analyzing of consumer behavior, preferences and geo-location to better target ads for everything from cars and trucks to political candidates.
5. Mobile without boundaries–Smart phones are more than a convenience or gaming platform. For those in developing economies, they’re rapidly becoming a critical lifeline, to finance, business information, healthcare and education. Look for more responsive design and apps here in the US too.
6. Authenticity—Part of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio’s appeal is his family, the very model of the new America—multi-ethnic, relatable, real. Expect “diversity,” “honesty” and “provenance” to become the new key words in 2014 brand narratives.
7. More visuals—Alas, words are on their way out. From emojis to infographics, anything that visualizes data in an accessible and meaningful way will gain greater currency in this year’s communications.