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7 PREDICTIONS FOR 2020

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Without a doubt, 2019 has been a busy year for brand content with new players, tools and features evolving the way campaigns are executed, on a global scale.

From TikTok becoming the most popular platform of the year to Instagram removing likes, and from the rise of virtual influencers to new legislation from the ASA and the CMA.

So, what can we expect moving forward? Continue reading to find out our predictions for 2020 and why we believe that brands will need to focus, now more than ever on working with true talent over and above influence.

1. LONG-TERM PARTNERSHIPS WILL BECOME THE NEW NORM

In 2020, consumers will become much more conscious of brand content, especially as 67% of marketers intend to increase their influencer marketing budget for the next year.

Brands and Talent Agencies alike are recognising the benefits of such advocacy, since these efforts are beneficial from a finical perspective and enable talent to increase their focus on producing a co-created and high-quality library, which can later be repurposed.

As a result, marketers will seek to establish exclusive relationships with hero talent in order to successfully engage with their target market.

2. A FOCUS ON BEST PRACTICE AND REBUILDING TRUST

Certainly, the biggest challenge we have faced in 2019 is the vociferous headlines and editorial pieces forecasting the demise of the industry.

Never before has there been a more urgent need to rebuild trust and it’s our belief that this can be achieved, by working with true talent over and above influence.

As market leaders, it’s our responsibility to educate brands so we can work together to overcome key concerns, such as tackling diversity and tokenism.

3. VIDEO CONTENT WILL CONTINUE TO THRIVE

Over 72% of consumers prefer to engage with brand content when watching videos, compared with other mediums.

This preference has risen in popularity since the rise of new features such as IGTV, which have increased the time users spend on the app alone by 80%.

These tools have enabled brands and talent alike to deep dive into creativity, as they develop social story-telling strategies to engage with the modern consumer.

In fact, by 2021, mobile video will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic. So, as new players such as TikTok continue to purely focus on such formats, we are certain to see more tools and apps arise.

4. STRONGER REGULATIONS FOR BRAND CONTENT

In 2018, the Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) created a new set of guidelines to help creators navigate the murky waters of disclosing when an ad, is an ad.

From sparking inspiration to driving action, ads are a great way to drive awareness and this document made the way for transparency, especially for newcomers.

Such demand for clarity has since increased, especially with new features such as Instagram shopping which has encouraged more than 130 million users to tap on various products per month.

As brands continue to refer to this new legalisation, we will, in turn, see how paid partnerships will become more clearly declared and as a result, help enhance consumer trust.

5. BRANDS WILL ADOPT AN ALWAYS ON A MULTI-CHANNEL APPROACH

As marketers continue to harness the full potential of co-created content, we will see a focus on an integrated approach to influence as marketers build strategic long-term partnerships at scale across marketing channels.

This amplification enables brands to enhance their messaging, reinforce their identity and encourages consumers to further engage with their products.

Out-of-Home opportunities offer contextual and memorable brand communication, effectively reaching all demographics throughout the consumer journey, but getting such strategies right can be a time consuming and daunting task, as agreed by over 23% of marketers.

For example, brands must be consistent with their messaging and look across each device and channel to avoid confusing or consumer frustration.

That’s why as more people are connected than ever before and screen time increases, it’s our duty to help guide and educate such activity so we can leverage such benefits.

6. CO-CREATED CONTENT WILL BECOME A KEY FOCUS FOR ENGAGEMENT

Professionally guided media, tailored for a specific brand or service successfully receives X2 higher engagement compared with talent generated content.

So, as more brands and talent alike continue to enter this space, we will see a higher demand for such high-quality media, which can be later be repurposed by the brand and optimized across a multi-channel approach.

7. THE DEMAND FOR TRUE TALENT WILL CONTINUE TO RISE

Without a doubt, our key takeaway was that the term ‘influencer’ is widely misunderstood and perhaps is the cause for key concerns when matching talent, which over 61% of marketers currently consider as their biggest challenge.

We talked about this issue during a panel debate which we hosted called The Big Lie and agreed that the term (as it stands), doesn’t distinguish the ‘talent’; professional creators who have real expertise and are managed by an agency, from those who have no real credibility and who use the term ‘influencer’ purely as label as a means to define their status.

 

William Soulier, CEO of Talent Village responded to such concerns and disclosed to the panel that anyone who has a following on social media and is monetizing it through sponsored posts can (wrongly) be seen as an influencer.

He went on to say how this is damaging to the industry as a whole and explained why we like to take a different approach.

“We believe the term should refer primarily to an individual who has professional representation, be it an agency or manager who helps guide their career and image. By benefitting from a particular skill set in a creative field, this, in turn, gives them the expertise and authority to talk about a specific topic, thus supplying brands with a credible voice in their space.”

That’s why in 2020 we predict that by defining such terms and by establishing best practice, we can work together as an industry and in turn avoid the reputation of poorly executed campaigns.

In this vein, authenticity and advocacy will become key in 2020, especially as the space becomes even more crowded and the demand for high-quality co-created content will continue to increase.

Additionally, messaging that accompanies brand content must remain organic to ensure it is not overlooked by the ‘savvy’ consumers who are quickly becoming oblivious to #AD.

Consequently, by adapting a talent-led approach we are able to solve growing concerns regarding fake followers and promote diversity, as we continue to focus on building long- term partnerships in order to deliver authentic and credible results.

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