LONDON: Next year's successful brands will need to combine agility, purpose and innovation, according to a new Warc report.
These are the overarching themes of the Toolkit 2015 report, produced in association with Deloitte, which highlights the areas that will concern marketers around the world in the course of the coming 12 months.
The need for short-term agility, however, does not sit easily with long-term brand building and marketers do not have the luxury of an either/or choice but will have to find a way to manage both.
For some, the answer has been to develop data-driven initiatives. New Zealand's Westpac Bank, for instance, brought together data and communications to create a single customer view that integrated multichannel customer interactions.
On the agency side, some have moved into product development, as exemplified by McCann Melbourne's work with Australian train company V/Line on Guilt Trips.
Both these examples illustrate the growing interest in 'purpose' – namely, what the brand is there to achieve. "It may be," the Toolkit suggests, "that 'purpose' becomes the way marketers keep an eye on the long term as well as the short."
Purpose is also something of a key concern for Millennials, a group whose media consumption habits – more online, more mobile, more fragmented and more on-demand – differ widely from older generations.
Marketers will have to adopt new media strategies to reach this crucial demographic, but their task will not be made any easier by the constant flow of new products and technologies and the new ad products that follow.
The need to keep abreast of developments and to always assess one's approach was clear during the past year when the likes of Facebook and Twitter regularly tweaked algorithms and ad formats.
But innovation is not restricted to social. One of the big challenges in programmatic will be to move on from discussions about targeting and cost to creative quality. The Toolkit highlights Kellogg as a company that has found this makes a significant difference on ads purchased programmatically and has accordingly realigned creative and media strategies.
The year ahead will also see more marketers taking advantage of innovative research techniques such as neuromarketing as costs fall and as they start to pay more attention to the emotional impact of their marketing initiatives.
Finally, the online-offline debate is becoming increasingly irrelevant as online retailers open physical stores and as offline retailers explore the possibilities of new technologies such as beacons.
Data sourced from Warc