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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!

Scrum, Kanban, design thinking, prototyping and collaboration are working styles and methods that have their origins in product design and software development. In recent years, they have found their way into the development of digital platforms, products and services. Now we are experiencing how they are beginning to change the way people work across communication agencies: in the future, communication strategies and communication campaigns and measures alike will be designed and planned more and more collaboratively – including in partnership with customers – in sprints.

 

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 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!

Linear television is not dead, even if its useful life is declining. There are a variety of different approaches that make it possible to make linear television more efficient:

  •  with a more creative integration of TV and online creations, which fits in with content and platform
  • through a better return channel capability from addressable TV to really bring out its added value
  • decreasing attention spans through second-screen use can be made more efficient by shorter ad lengths and corner placements
  • by enhancing real-time TV performance measurements to more effectively link web traffic
  • including videos where there are regional differences in TV usage in order to achieve an optimal contact corridor for an integrated campaign
  • with the development of an ‘effective impact corridor’ of various moving image formats in order to supplement the classical planning with the effect factor

 

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!

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.

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.

Space Rocket

Some people in the digital sector, especially, have ceased to believe in brands. However, I am convinced that in the digital age, more than any other, brands offer precisely what we need in a multi-optional, information-flooded world: orientation. Brands condense a large volume of information into a (hopefully) relevant promise. Of course brands that want to be successful in the future, will also have to adapt to a society in transition. Anyone who takes the following five tenets for the brand management of the future to heart, will have a good chance of achieving this.

1. Viable brands are defined in three dimensions

What is a brand? A logo, a slogan, a value proposition? The appearance and if possible, differentiated positioning are only two dimensions shaping the brand image and consumer perceptions. In the digital age, every brand must prove itself, above all in its direct interaction with people. In order to offer a coherent, self-similar brand experience, the brand must establish rules of conduct which govern how it interacts while defining its stance towards people and the subjects on which it pronounces.

2. Viable brands offer a real benefit

The days when brand communication consisted in stating as loudly as possible why your own brand is so great and why people should buy it, are over. To be noticed for the long term, brands today must not only compete for people’s attention, but also offer content which delivers a noticeable, relevant benefit in the eyes of consumers. Depending on the context and the target market, this can, for example, consist of personalised offers, entertainment, monetary benefits or exclusive information. To enable the brand to develop promising content, the challenge is to put customers and their needs not just at the beginning but at the centre of your own concepts and actions.

3. Viable brands are user-friendly

Our digital devices have accustomed us to getting fast, easy access to everything we need. Usability is the umbrella term for the degree of user-friendliness experienced. This is not primarily about content. From the website via the hotline all the way to local service — every touchpoint with the brand should be intuitively comprehensible, simple to use and capable of being unambiguously implemented.

4. Viable brands communicate personally and in personalised fashion

People in a digitised world expect personal communication and personalised content and offers from their brands. If such offers are tailored to their individual needs, users will reward the brand with above-average response, purchase and loyalty rates. However, it is vital to find the right degree of personalisation: just because it’s technically possible, doesn’t mean it makes sense. Because enthusiasm over the newsletter containing exactly the right offers can quickly turn into a horrified “How do they know that?”.

5. Viable brands offer a consistent, coherent customer experience

Today, people experience brands at many very different touchpoints: in a shop, on the website as well as on social media and through advertising. In the best case, this so-called customer experience will give a consistent, coherent overall image across the various touchpoints. So here is my tip. Place a relevant customer experience at the start and at the centre of your transformation in the marketing sphere. In doing so, you will create a good platform — on the one hand for the greatest possible success today, and on the other, to ensure the viability of your brand tomorrow.

Donald Trump is a complete failure. Above all when it comes to marketing. He is a textbook example of what not to do. He should have known better.

Donald Trump – oh dear, not him again. On this side of the Atlantic, we don’t want to see, read or hear any more about the presidential impersonator over on the other side. Not until we receive the news that he is finally gone. At least he appears to be working hard to make that happen. And despite all the signs of fatigue, this actually makes him interesting. Especially for those involved in marketing. After all, when the Americans elected Trump to head of state, for the first time it was not a politician taking office but rather someone who consistently denies being exactly that. In fact, Trump was a brand up until then, just like Coca-Cola, Oreo or Ariel. Something people see on TV so often that they’re bound to try it out at some point. However, things have been going wrong for the Donald Trump brand ever since.

There are of course a number of political reasons behind this, but these are only one part of the story. Trump regularly crosses red lines – the one surrounding the events in Charlottesville was clearly one too far. He made it clear that he is not just suspected of xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism, but does in fact sympathise with far-right radicalism and neo-Nazis. If Trump the businessman were less narcissistic and if he didn’t surround himself with so many bootlickers, he would probably have a word with his head of marketing in light of the resulting situation. It’s like McDonald’s only wanting to sell the Big Mac and nothing else. Trump insists on serving the old-established customer base, which all polls indicate has since become a substantial minority. He never tries to appeal to a new clientele. Perhaps he’s not even interested in being re-elected?

In that case, a personality brand such as his can be an extremely positive thing, and advertisers would be happy to see more of it. We need only take a look – in a much more harmless context, of course – at coffee roaster Albert Darboven, who advertised his beans on television. Or Claus Hipp, the friendly baby food patriarch. These are people who can build trust. Faces that represent a product as well as the company that produces it. They convey truthfulness. However, the Trump brand, which should represent the president for all Americans, has become a fake.

He has meticulously built up this image of a tough property mogul who has become a billionaire through unconventional methods and good old elbow grease (something we can’t know for sure, by the way, since he stubbornly refuses to reveal his tax returns). The old “anybody can make it” story. In marketing, there exists a classic triad for brand trust: Raise awareness, generate sympathy, and arouse the willingness to buy. Trump’s election was simply a case of job done. The electorate bought into him. If you look at it from a business point of view, he succeeded in establishing his brand in a completely new market. The superman of the business world was now going to show politics the ropes. But then, egomaniac that he is, he began unnecessarily cutting those ropes.

Trump’s success as a campaigner is also down to the economy of attention prevalent in today’s world. Twitter, the preferred communication medium of the US president, gained an unexpectedly high number of new users in the first quarter of this year – nine million. 8.9 million of those are attributed to Trump. The respected New York Times and Wall Street Journal have also recorded a noticeable growth in popularity since he entered office. Clearly, people are looking for more than just news, and want signposts to help them navigate the jungle of information brought about by the Internet. After all, the web is not just a convenient source of daily information, but also a hotbed of misinformation due to its over-abundance. Too much, too quick, too often, and too unreliable – we are inundated with news and click bait, whether from politics or economics, with everyone trying to vie for our attention. We look for guidance and direction in this jungle. In other words, we look for truthfulness and trust. That’s what brands stand for. Once I have found “my” brand, my world is in order and I can confidently leave everything else aside.

One might then interpret a brand as being a good thing. It isn’t. It is only good for sales. In politics, for example, the brand of populism has massively increased in value in recent years, as analysed by Giovanni di Lorenzo, editor-in-chief of “Zeit”. He spoke about this during his keynote speech at “Best Brands” – an event where the best brands in Germany are awarded prizes. Populism means simple orientation with clear guiding principles and, above all, with enemy stereotypes. Which brings us back to Donald Trump. His populism has not only damaged his own brand, but this movement as a whole. The populists have been unsuccessful in their attempts to gain power in the Netherlands and France, and the story will be the same in Germany. It’s impossible to win in Trump’s wake.

The guy has a knack for marketing, as he demonstrated during his campaign. But politics is not his thing. That’s why he continues to act as though he’s still on the campaign trail. As much as we like to rant about politicians, The Donald makes it clear that even this job is one for professionals. It would be interesting to find out the course that his company’s business takes in light of the political debacle. According to the US press, after Charlottesville, charitable associations no longer wanted to book his golf club in Florida where they would have held events for a lot of money. And apparently he has been unable to sell a holiday villa in the Caribbean, even after lowering the price. Perhaps this is down to the “dictator chic” style of the interior design. Unfortunately we don’t know any more details.

What cannot be ruled out, however, is that the Trump brand has become a financial burden on the Trump company. After all, the most important thing for a brand these days is the product (something often underestimated or overlooked by those responsible). Whoever makes a promise about a product needs to keep it. If the detergent doesn’t actually make clothes whiter, then customer confidence – the essential capital of the brand – quickly disappears (by the way, have you noticed that this type of advertising is barely used anymore? There is a reason for this!). If the president just keeps producing sound bites and failing on his promises instead of getting down to politics (which we are actually used to with politicians, but didn’t expect from this anti-politician), then something is wrong with the product. Quality has never been more valuable.

 

This article was also published at Horizont

Honestly, would you believe any entrepreneur who boasted: “We know our customers better than ever, because of digitization! We have a huge database full of customer data which reveals their wishes. We fulfill these wishes immediately and make our customers happy – and they reward us for it with their purchasing power and strong loyalty”. Sounds good, right? But let’s be honest: Few brands could actually claim that so far. Most are experiencing the opposite: the decreasing loyalty of their customers as they turn away, are suspicious and “ad-phobic”. In Germany, for example, 44 percent of all manufacturers’ brands are losing more than 30 percent of their regular customers per year – and the number is increasing, as we found out in a study with GfK.

What’s going wrong? To get an answer a change of perspective helps. Consider the situation from the viewpoint of consumers. They are, according to global studies, disappointed; in the United States, according to Accenture, more than four out of five consumers (84 percent!) are frustrated, because companies do not deliver what they promise. And we are not doing much better in Germany; where only 30 percent trust brands and their messages. Instead of the hoped for closeness to consumers, the advertising industry is experiencing estrangement. It is as if digitization has not helped them to get to know consumers better,  as hoped, but rather to lose sight of them. With regard to entrepreneurial success, this is a catastrophic development. What can be done? One thing is clear; familiar methods will not help here, neither trusty advertising power nor wily technical finesse.

We need a fresh start. The product is no longer the starting point for all marketing activities, but the consumers and their life phases. They are the starting point of all activity; customer orientated production, brand management and marketing.

To inspire consumers, the marketing of the future has to create worlds of experience in which engrossing customer experiences ensure long lasting customer relationships. Airlines then sell travel events, not tickets. And car makers offer mobility experiences, not just cars. The product? It’s only part of a larger picture.

For marketing this change means, among other things:

1. Away from the “14-to-49-years-mentality” – towards micro-segmentation and personalisation

Because consumers move in the new consumer media world individually, media planning with rough-edged categories like “14 to 49” can no longer achieve a lot. In future the focus won’t be on target groups, socio-geographic data and ranges, but the stages of life, needs, experiences of each individual consumer. For the media planning for this personalization, we need more than ever to focus on methods such as micro-segmentation.

2. Away from the channel perspective – towards customer journey accompaniment

Nowadays, consumers use more channels, contact points and marketing resources for their purchases than ever before. The customer journey is now many times more complex than even ten years ago. Online or offline? It doesn’t matter, any mixture is okay. Studies show that few companies have concerned themselves with the customer journeys of their customers.

3. The way from the advertising message to relevant content offers

Exaggerated advertising promises no longer match present purchasing behaviour, because consumers believe nothing without checking. Up to 90 percent of product research is made before visiting a store. Therefore, companies need to develop ideas on how they can support potential customers at an early stage with information and persuasive arguments.

4. Away from self-serving data analysis – towards the use of media for customer satisfaction

In future it won’t be about hoarding data for advertising purposes. Instead, companies should consider how they can use the information to shape their business model, improve their products – and ultimately to make their customers happy. That is the real power of Big Data. Its intelligent use can be absolutely decisive.

Marketing can only achieve this fresh, stronger position if it drops outdated mechanisms and tactics; instead it needs the courage to make a fresh start. The consumers will be grateful. Our task, the task of the agencies, is to accompany this change, sometimes even to carefully push it.

This means we agencies need to reconsider our services and processes, to monitor and constantly optimize them to be perfect consultants for our customers in these difficult, but also exciting times. At Serviceplan, we are working on it; on a daily basis, at more than 30 locations worldwide. And, as of March this year, also in Spain.

First released in World’s Leading Independent Agencies 2016.