2019 is already knocking on the door – new year, new trends. At the end of the year, we asked the Serviceplan Group experts about their personal trends for 2019. What’s coming next alongside influencer marketing, new work and sustainability? The communication professionals give their verdict here. Happy reading!

In the past, it was enough to make your purchases in the organic shop around the corner to be considered sustainably minded by most of your acquaintances. Today, an organic lifestyle encompasses much more. Our lives are becoming 360° organic. It is not just our food that is organic or fair trade but our clothing, cosmetics and so much more. Our social thinking is becoming increasingly sustainable after such events as nuclear phase-out, the diesel scandal and Hambacher Forest. Instead of plastic bags, we bring our own cloth bags with us when we go shopping. We use apps that can automatically send emails to brands if their products are too plastic-heavy.

People are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on how sustainable brands are. However, this doesn’t just affect product design and ingredients. We as designers also have to think about sustainable packaging. As communications experts, we should not only take this into consideration in the design of a campaign and the messages we communicate, but also in the selection of locations, influencers, service providers and everything that surrounds them. If we think in this way, 360° organic, it is not only good for our planet, but also for our customers.

 

This article is part of the Trends 2019 series of the Serviceplan Group.

2019 is already knocking on the door – new year, new trends. At the end of the year, we asked the Serviceplan Group experts about their personal trends for 2019. What’s coming next alongside influencer marketing, new work and sustainability? The communication professionals give their verdict here. Happy reading!

The established stars of the digital economy Facebook, Apple, Netflix and Google have a common problem: they lose their shine. Customers, employees and the stock market alike become disenchanted. Apple’s innovative powers fades. For many years, the latest model was a must-have. Today, the internet is full of posts on topics such as ‘Why I renounce the iPhone X – and reach for the iPhone 8 Plus’. In regard to voice technology, a key area for the future, Apple’s Siri is lagging behind the competition. Today, the Apple brand primarily stands for expensive. It has changed from a love brand to a luxury label.

When it comes to Facebook, we associate it with false positives, fake accounts, data leaks, bad excuses and miserable crisis PR. The platform also has a further problem: it is becoming a senior hot-spot. For example, 70% of the over-60 silversurfer generation are on Facebook. In the 14- to 19-year-old age group, there are far fewer users; Facebook has lost its sexiness.

The streaming pioneer Netflix is also facing hard times: Disney+, Hulu, Twitch and other competitors are quickly making Netflix look old. If the ‘mouse company’ manages to take over media giant Fox Entertainment as planned and even enter the streaming business, the cards of this poker game are set for a shuffle.

Search engine giant Google’s employees are rebelling. Recently, the workforce has resigned in protest against sexism and racism in the workplace. Earlier, more than 1,000 Google employees protested plans to return to China with a censored search engine. This came after employee protests already stopped a project that involved supplying the Pentagon with artificial intelligence for the analysis of military videos. For a company that has the reputation of being one of the best employers in the world, this seemed a lot of trouble over such a small amount of time.

The fact that things have changed has been proven by a software dinosaur from the last millennium: Microsoft. For a long time, it seemed as though the soul of this software company was long gone. Genuine innovations were a scare commodity. However, under Satya Nadella, Microsoft has consistently reinvented itself. He has broken old habits, turned Microsoft around, uploaded the business to the cloud and acquired smart companies such as Skype and LinkedIn. Microsoft boss Nadalla provides a clear definition of courage. At the World Economic Forum in Davos he talked about the third world, recommended that his own government in Washington should imitate the European General Data Protection Regulation and called for international rules regarding the use of artificial intelligence. The call for regulation – a breach of taboo for corporate America.

Thus, for me, the trend of 2019 is learning from Microsoft. Courage to think completely new again; courage to completely rethink ourselves; courage to embrace a clear attitude. I think in the year 2019, Facebook, Apple and co. will follow this path and reinvent themselves.

 

This article is part of the Trends 2019 series of the Serviceplan Group.

2019 is already knocking on the door – new year, new trends. At the end of the year, we asked the Serviceplan Group experts about their personal trends for 2019. What’s coming next alongside influencer marketing, new work and sustainability? The communication professionals give their verdict here. Happy reading!

In 2019, brands will look for an occasion to be associated with – an occasion that will accompany their communication activities during the whole year; like social occasions that respond to CSR plans and that their clients and followers are interested in. Social marketing is “in”, but brands shouldn’t risk falling prey to opportunism and being associated with movements just because they are a hot topic like feminism or environmentalism. If the principles of these movements aren’t in the DNA of the brand, they shouldn’t be associated with them.

Brands that represent products which strike a chord with their values will be the ones to triumph in 2019 and technology will consequently play an important role. The consumer has evolved from a simple buyer of a product to a conscious consumer, who stands up for his principles and wants to bring about change as result of his purchases.

 

This article is part of the Trends 2019 series of the Serviceplan Group.

2019 is already knocking on the door – new year, new trends. At the end of the year, we asked the Serviceplan Group experts about their personal trends for 2019. What’s coming next alongside influencer marketing, new work and sustainability? The communication professionals give their verdict here. Happy reading!

When we talk about putting the consumer first, who are we thinking about? About figures from a PowerPoint presentation based on statistics and studies or about real people? No matter how hard we try, no pre-test can be as reliable as asking your mum whether she understands the campaign. If we want people to buy a certain product, there is no longer any use in explaining what makes it special or in striking a note that appeals to emotions.

We must tell them how this product will make their lives easier, speaking their language and taking real peoples’ insights into account. And since everyone is different, we will have to create a variety of messages that go much deeper than an A/B test. The automatization of messages and creativity – thanks to user data and artificial intelligence – will allow us to launch multiple creative pieces to hyper-segmented audiences, measure results and optimise processes along the way. Thus, even my mum could receive a message that is adapted to her needs and emotions. And perhaps, with a little luck, she’ll understand a little bit better what I am doing.

 

This article is part of the Trends 2019 series of the Serviceplan Group.

In an interview on the AME Awards blog, Alexander Schill and Alessandro Panella talk about creative and effective work at Serviceplan, finding innovative solutions, the importance of creative competitions and crazytivity.

2019 is already knocking on the door – new year, new trends. At the end of the year, we asked the Serviceplan Group experts about their personal trends for 2019. What’s coming next alongside influencer marketing, new work and sustainability? The communication professionals give their verdict here. Happy reading!

Of the verbal gems that turned up in the communication sector in 2018, ‘new work’ was one of the shiniest. No event and no convention passed by without evoking the concept of new work and its associated agile techniques. Across the country, countless self-proclaimed prophets and sometimes shamanic change consultants heralded the end of all work days. In the new year, it will be important to stop firing off new work as a buzzword and to use the momentum of its concept instead (because it is much more than just a word) to finally get its inherent horsepower on the road.

Anyone who only understands new work as desk sharing and the Vitralisation (with which Vitra has perfectly understood the new work concept) of office landscapes is falling short; indeed, people are underestimating new work as a profitability doctrine and should urgently read Fritjof Bergmann, whose concept actually dictates that without meaningful, collaborative and responsible work, we will be able to inspire fewer and fewer colleagues and customers in the future. The decentralisation and democratisation of the nature and structure of work is a necessary and consistent response to the increasing complexity and increasing pace of work processes due to rapid digitisation across all areas of society. New work is increasingly demanded by customers, guaranteeing faster decisions and results as well as increased processor proximity rather than silo thinking. New work increases innovation strength through interdisciplinary teams as well as participatory formats, thus becoming a true business asset. Only in this way can the competitive capacity of a company in the communications industry be secured in the long term.

The prerequisite is the recognition that the introduction of agile methods places considerable demands on colleagues and executives alike with regard to role and self-understanding, organisational processes, maintaining customer relationships, designing work environments, leadership behaviour and self-discipline. This includes changing the mindset of everyone involved – from juniors to managers. For colleagues, it is a question of a shift towards more self-initiative and personal responsibility. For the management, it means a new understanding of leadership that is defined in terms of enabling and supporting.

And when there is still the awareness that new work and agile methods cannot be top-downed by a company but instead that its establishment is an organic process based on prototyping and deep understanding of different business models – that there is not just one form of new work, but infinite facets of it – then you have left the buzzwording phase behind and the question can once again be asked: which verbal gem would we prefer to keep polishing?

 

This article is part of the Trends 2019 series of the Serviceplan Group.

2019 is already knocking on the door – new year, new trends. At the end of the year, we asked the Serviceplan Group experts about their personal trends for 2019. What’s coming next alongside influencer marketing, new work and sustainability? The communication professionals give their verdict here. Happy reading!

In 2019, everything is about lived flexibility. It’s about the willingness to adjust in terms of attitudes, life models, goals. Managers need to recognise that needs are becoming more fragmented, not just for customers, but for their own employees in particular. Different generations have different needs: performance-orientated remuneration or fixed salary? New work, home office or the good old assigned desk? Work-life separation and fixed structures or a preference for complete freedom?

If these questions can be answered individually, a culture of values that unites everyone can be consciously created – a culture that radiates from the inside out and creates an identification space. Only then do strong brands fulfil their main task – and bring everyone together under one roof.

 

This article is part of the Trends 2019 series of the Serviceplan Group.

At the “International Roadshow 2018: China Insights” in Munich Bernard Wong, Managing Director Serviceplan China Shanghai, and Marcus Ma, Managing Director Serviceplan China Beijing, talked about apps and what brands can learn from them. The article sums up some insights they gave.

You’re probably sick of hearing it again and again. This buzz word that’s always mentioned in the same breath as the digital transformation. Sometimes the disruption takes the form of a threatening scenario, sometimes as a utopia of unlimited possibilities – depending on who takes on the topic or for whom the message is intended. This is almost always accompanied by the urgent plea that we must step things up at the forefront of the digital transformation. The basic tenet is that we require more disruptive technologies. We require more disruptive business models. So let’s get on with it! Come on all you corporations, medium-sized businesses and startups!

But focussing on disruptive technologies can quickly lead to tunnel vision

There is no question that disruptive technologies and business models can be a powerful source of value creation. But what the current discussion fails to address is that, besides the phenomenon of disruptive technologies, there are two further starting points for disruption, which also carry a high value-added potential in themselves – and which are in the limelight much less frequently. Interestingly, these three disruption potentials are strongly interconnected, and so I have coined the term “Disruption Triad” – a triad of technology, organisation and people.

It is important to understand the mechanisms of this triad in order to fully exploit the wealth of value inherent in disruptive technologies. Because, at the end of the day, a new technology only reaches its full value creation potential if there are actors (the people) and areas of action (the organisation) that make it possible. As technology advocate and Harvard professor Vivek Wadhwa puts it so well: “Technologies like Blockchain, AI and peer-to-peer are just buzzwords. What counts is developing real solutions.”

As such, we need people who are able to anticipate the future and who have learned to practise disrupting their own thinking – without tumbling into a state of panic. True to Friedrich Hebbel’s assertion: “It often requires more courage to change your mind than to remain true to it.”

In order for these people to be effective in their role as value-creation catalysts, they need to operate under the right conditions. As such, organisations are also called upon to question their beliefs and decision criteria, which may have led to a silo mentality, long-winded decision processes and unproductive activity. Consequently, disruption of the classical organisational structure and culture is also a very important lever on the way to a digital future that safeguards value creation.

Beliefs really are very subtle

So far so good. Maybe you think you’re on the right track because new work is already on your agenda. Before you start patting yourself on the back, let’s delve a little deeper into the subject. The beliefs of individuals and organisations have a very subtle effect – an external observer is usually required in order to uncover them.

Take, for example, the question “How does an organisation assess good work and make this assessment visible?” In a Tayloristic system, the hierarchy and a portfolio of status symbols are used (the size of the individual’s office, which company car they have, who is invited to which internal events, etc.). In an agile, self-organised organisational unit you won’t find any of this – sometimes not even titles.

When an organisation now serves both worlds – often referred to as ambidexterity – it is exciting to see how the old Tayloristic approaches continue to work. An employee of a large traditional company recently formulated their observations as follows: “The realities surrounding self-organisation of large companies can sometimes be absurd. Particularly where non-hierarchical structures meet top management, the degradation game that takes place isn’t very subtle. The question arises as to whether employees in agile models – alongside female managers – represent a new minority in everyday corporate life with low acceptance.”

This simple example shows how powerful beliefs are. And how important it is to track them down and ‘reprogramme’ them in the sense of a cultural change. Even the best disruptive technology is useless if it is met with counter-productive attitudes and views.

But this is not only a task for the much-discussed cultural change in organisations. At the individual level, we are also challenged to deal with our own value and coordinate system and to critically question established opinions and points of view (our own and those of others). Collective cultural change is made up of a multitude of individual contributions.

The triad of disruptions broken down into a simple formula

When it comes to finding a common denominator for a holistic approach to disruption that best describes the innovation triad of technology, organisation and people, this proverb hits the nail on the head:

We sow a thought and harvest an action.
We sow an action and harvest a habit.
We sow a habit and harvest a character.
We sow a character and harvest a destiny.

Or to summarise it even further: “Matter follows mind” (Einstein).

So it is not superficially our actions, but our thoughts, beliefs and attitudes that shape the future. Einstein’s maxim applies to individuals, organisations, and nations alike – and ultimately to all of humanity. Thus, our future is not left to fate, but can be consciously shaped by disruptive thinking.

Value creation is the foundation of our prosperity. It ensures the future viability of our society as well as the peaceful coexistence of humankind. For our own good, this resource should not be used lightly. So let’s cultivate disruptive thinking together – in ourselves and in our companies. For the common good!

P.S. If you still have doubts about the effect of thoughts and words, I recommend the three-minute film “Words can be weapons“. This should take care of any remaining doubts you may have. Promised.