Warc outlines ten key trends for 2012

01 February 2012

LONDON/WASHINGTON: The rise of newly affluent consumers, product localisation and "orchestrating" multi-channel ad campaigns are among the key challenges for brand owners in 2012, a report from Warc has argued.

In the study, David Tiltman, Warc's international editor, assesses ten major issues facing brands, and looks at how firms around the world are responding.

The full "2012 Toolkit" report, drawing from Warc's case studies and best practice articles, is available to Warc subscribers here.

One key challenge identified by the analysis was responding to the growth of the emerging middle class, covering everything from rural markets and small cities in China and India to the growing purchase power of Hispanic shoppers in the US.

In evidence of this process in practice, adidas, the German sportswear brand, has forecast that 66% of its expansion in China will be attributable to cities in tiers four to seven.

Procter & Gamble, Kraft and Walmart have similarly outlined plans to engage Hispanic buyers in America, utilising strategies such as launching specialist magazines to changing product assortments.

The study, which offers brands a series of action points for each of the challenges it lists, also argued that marketers are looking beyond the  "glocal" approach to brand management. More sophisticated structures are required as emerging markets become more important.

Looking to media management, "orchestrating" campaigns across numerous channels is becoming vital as the range of mediums deployed by advertisers continues to increase.

A potential way forward might be that pioneered by Old Spice's "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" and Yeo Valley's "Live in Harmony", both of which leveraged TV spots during high-profile events to drive online buzz.

In an Olympic year, sponsorship will also be a popular tool this year. Establishing the return on sponsorship will be a major challenge, as the global sports sponsorship market achieves a value of $39.2bn in 2012, up 11.5% year on year.

Other key trends discussed included the rise of "brand journalism", moves towards real-time planning and using cultural insights to attract consumers in  markets around the world.

"There are no simple answers to many of these issues, and no silver-bullet solutions," the report warned. "Marketing best practice has always been a work in progress, and never more so than now."

Data sourced from Warc