In the second of two end-of-year specials, experts from across the media and advertising sectors reveal their blueprints for a prosperous future. Read part one here.
Climb out of the cesspit
Ben Walmsley, commercial director of publishing, News UK
Intangible assets account for 84% of market capitalisation of the S&P500 compared to 17% in 1975, according to Ocean Tomo’s seminal study. The importance of having a strong brand is no longer the niche focus of the marketing department. As this shift in corporate value proves, it should be a primary concern for the CEO, CFO and a company’s investors.
Compounding this fact, brands are being bypassed in a world dominated by big tech aggregators and middlemen. The need to build a brand that consumers actively seek out is more important than at any time in the history of business.
A marketing executive told me this year her performance KPI was earnings per share. Not click-through rate, as it happens. So often the world of marketing is disconnected from this new reality. Trawl the internet’s clickbait-laden underbelly for a moment and you will find brand adverts from the world’s most recognisable brands.
It is these intangible assets worth billions of pounds that are carelessly strewn across this content cesspit. The blunt instruments of brand suitability can filter out the wheat and allow the chaff to pass. And yet the metrics by which many marketers measure success translate this gross negligence as a runaway success.
Brands are built through emotional connections. They make people feel something. They matter to people whether they recognise it or not.
Of course it’s not easy to measure the intangible. That said, the closest proxies happen to be the tangible. That’s why the earnings per share (EPS) measure is a reason for hope. I’m not suggesting that marketers shouldn’t spend money to make their products easy to find and buy by those that have already made the decision to do so. Applying the same success measures from those channels to building long term value gives a false reading.
I think marketers are waking up to this. Brands with stature and authority need environments to match. We are seeing a gradual return to mindfulness in the positioning of brands. Rightly so; it is this intellectual capital that is the most important factor in a company’s success.
More responsible, more valued
Stephen Woodford, CEO, Ad Association
We are doing everything we can do to rebuild public trust in advertising – this is mission critical, as we believe it should be for everyone in our industry who cares about the future of advertising. Alongside this, we will maintain the best, most constructive relationship with UK government and policy decision-makers across many different departments.
Whether that’s DCMS in support of the Creative Industries deal; Public Health as we tackle issues such as childhood obesity; BEIS in its drive for the UK to be the clean growth centre of the world; DIT in the support of global trade and exports; and the Home Office in its efforts to ensure the internet is safe place for all.
Each of these is about making the UK advertising industry the most responsible, valued industry we can possibly be. All of which serves to make our industry a better place for all – for advertising professionals, for the millions of businesses we support across the UK and, most importantly, for the public.
Silver screen = gold dust
Kathryn Jacob, CEO, Pearl & Dean
Though cinema has always been a popular channel, the silver screen is currently experiencing a phenomenal resurgence. Admissions continue to rise, and according to Zenith, cinema is expected to be the fastest growing advertising channel globally next year. This is a monumental achievement – cinema is the first advertising channel to surpass internet advertising which has dominated the advertising space for the past two decades.
Yet, like all media channels, cinema advertising must continue to evolve with changing demands and habits of consumers. With more consumers favouring experiences over purchases, we expect to see further growth in pop-up cinema experiences like The Luna Cinema, which this year partnered with ITV to bring ‘Love Island The Experience’ to its fans. This demand for experience will also drive a rise in independent and premium cinema experiences – ideal environments for brand partnership activations that are bespoke to specific audiences or local communities.
The streaming wars will also continue to be a huge theme rolling into 2020, as competition heats up for the attention of consumers across all screens. However, this abundance of choice risks deterring consumers, who will need to trawl through multiple subscription sites before making a decision on a film. As such, the viewing experience for films on the big screen will be a much more special and simple option, and advertisers should take note.
There is a lot to be excited about in cinema as we enter the new decade. 2020 is expected to bring an array of films with a diverse cast that will mean more audiences than ever before will feel represented on the big screen. The highly anticipated return of Bond will also be a golden opportunity for advertisers, and a particular way to target those infrequent cinemagoers drawn back to the cinema to watch Daniel Craig’s final stint at playing 007.
For people and planet
Robert McFaul, client director and co-lead Mindshare Purpose
There’s a UK-wide sense of disenchantment – people have lost faith in politics and big business, are concerned about climate change, and distrust what they read in the news. As a result, it’s important for brands to walk the talk, backing up the values they communicate with genuine positive action.
It’s no longer enough for businesses to have a good recycling policy and say they are ‘doing their bit’. Recent Mindshare research shows 73% of UK consumers expect brands to play a role in protecting the planet, 66% say they want brands to promote health and wellbeing, and 64% want brands to play a role in promoting equality.
These values must underpin all that businesses do – brands are reaching a pivotal moment in their relationship with consumers, where proving their positive social impact is essential to customers purchasing products or services.
Marketers need to devise media strategies that effectively showcase their social credentials, while being mindful of overstating their commitment to good causes – 70% of consumers say brands can’t get away with saying one thing and doing another.
The most successful companies in coming years will be those that put their audience first and show themselves to not only be actively responding to consumer concerns, but also leading the dialogue on the role business needs to play for people and planet.