Connection instead of consumption, creative storytelling in place of hard selling and an always-on lifestyle means that 2016 is going to be the year of big ideas that deliver relevant content to the hungry masses, and in doing so, will build more brand love than ever before.

We asked two innovators – Brand inc Creative Group MD, Chris Heaton and the Tag 8 Media Consultancy MD, Andrew Franks – to expand on trends that 2015 brought to life, and that 2016 will improve on.

  1. Hero-ing the Customer
Chris Heaton Brand inc Creative Group MD

Chris Heaton Brand inc Creative Group MD

CH: Turning the camera around and listening to the customer’s point of view is becoming more important for brands. This creates a far more personal connection with the people that make us who we are, whilst adding credibility to the message.

AF: The most important trend that has been at the forefront of all innovation is that people come first. People matter. Be a brand that starts a conversation led by people for people. The only way to keep up is to keep the trend changers in the centre of your brand’s world.

  1. The Omni-channel Experience

CH: All the channels have a valuable role to play. While digital and social platforms are dominating as they are far more adaptable and measurable, the OOH or traditional media can be a supporting medium or even drive the campaign from a broad awareness point of view. A well-defined omni-channel customer experience is optimised to ensure that the look and feel, as well as the messages received, across each touch-point are seamless.

AF: Traditional and digital have slowly been mashing together, but we should see the complete collide this year. Consumers live such a connected life; they never interact with any media in isolation. Traditional media has adapted and started utilising call to actions that include digital, connecting all points on of the consumer journey. Having personalised conversations across multiple platforms will become even more essential.

  1. Mobile is the Place To Be
Andrew Franks Tag 8 Media Consultancy MD

Andrew Franks Tag 8 Media Consultancy MD

CH: Mobile is the go-to communication device on the African continent. As demographics and LSM’s start to overlap in the spaces that they engage with, brands will need to check their relevance and ensure that they are being real.

AF: Mobile has been an important space for brands to reach their consumers for a long time now, but 2016 will see the tactics used becoming more important. We used to think mobile advertising had to be quick and to the point, but that doesn’t hold true anymore. People are on their phones more than ever now and want to be entertained and engaged relevantly in each environment. Speak their language and adapt to their mobile habits.

  1. Accurately Measuring ROI

CH: As the economy continues to struggle, marketing budgets are getting tighter and brand managers and marketing departments are going to be pushed harder by their clients to show true ROI. Brand inc is creating formulas for our approach to communication and engagement that links back to the bottom line. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach here but rather pushing the strategic and creative departments hard so that they are always mindful of demonstrating the link back to the bottom line.

AF: In marketing today, measuring performance and ROI are more important than ever before. Traditional ROI techniques no longer deliver everything that clients need. That’s why we work with the ROI agency Zenith Optimedia who have taken ROI to the next level. ‘Live ROI’ is a dynamic, real-time approach to assessing how well your marketing is working, and how and where your money can be best spent.

  1. Content Remains King

CH: Exactly! But keep it real, relevant and to the point. With so much out there, the time that you have to engage with your audience is becoming smaller and smaller.

AF: With ad blocking, consumers being ‘over-sold’ to and the sheer volume of spaces we engage with nowadays, brands will have to be cognisant of how people are engaging with them in order to communicate in a natural way. Content adds value and takes your brand from a product/service to something people can connect with, relate to, and ultimately be loyal to. It’s the sweet spot between what your brand stands for and what your consumers care about.

As online becomes more cluttered, video offers an easy and quick way for people to digest information. It’s engaging, informative and brings to the life the personality of your brand. 2016 is the year that video content will rule.

In conclusion…

CH: Keep it simple, innovate and watch it grow in ways you could never have imagined.

AF : ditto 🙂