2016 can be simply successful

Every year I watch the predictive rhythm of the business calendar.
Everything starts out with a fleeting sense of bright and shiny newness but inevitably the grind of business imperatives and deadlines, the year-as-usual, takes over. Be that as it may, in life we must continually begin again if we want to keep growing.

In the business of brands, simplification has taken root and these roots will strengthen in the coming 345 days. That’s my conclusion after taking a step back over the holidays to do my usual thinking on the year that was and churning through a hefty dose of reading.

Here are some other predictions that I picked up.

Social consciousness action: There is a new breed of activists worldwide as social wrongs are increasingly protested against collectively, and overthrown. South Africa is, and needs to be a hotbed of rising social consciousness. Doing the right thing for the right reasons has never been more fundamental for our brands, which are also under the watchful global eye.

Generation Z cognisance: Andreas von der Hevdt, Head of Kindle at Amazon points out that marketers will meet and target Generation Z … a post-millennial generation born between the mid- to late-1990s and 2010. The ease with which this ‘nextgen’ engages with digital technology makes the mind spin. As marketers we are responsible to protect what is rightfully theirs: the innocence and awe of life that should be experienced in childhood.

Agency consolidation reality: On the agency front, this year the traditional agency model will increasingly come under threat as rapid-fire delivery, continued tight budgets and the ability to be flexible will be called for. At the same time there are small agencies out there that are ripe for the taking by the big fish. There are also exceptional freelancers to be tapped into, making the virtual agency model one to unlock.

Making media choices: Innovation is a given in today’s media landscape but what matters is clarity of thinking, combined with knowledge of the multitude of channels and know-how of what works and doesn’t. Simplification holds the key to the best media strategy and buying power, and it needs the eyes, ears and mind of experience to make it count for business performance.

In this vein, I found a great comment by von der Hevdt from Amazon: “Top brands and marketers should focus their resources and efforts, i.e. generating results with a few channels as opposed of wanting to be everywhere. This is especially true for social media, which has gone mainstream in the past few years. Sometimes to the detriment of building and maintaining lasting and personal relationships.”

He has something there.

We need to bring brands back to relating better to real lives and very real living. We cannot let routine suck us into communicating because that is what is expected of our brand. No. We need brands that communicate with soul; that contribute to social purpose and the future good.

So as February knocks and routine begins to threaten, let’s steer clear of the year-as usual.

Because staying inspired and focused can be ultra simple. As the E+I team’s latest blog post, Make it, pace it – it’s all new this year puts it, “2016 will be what we make of it. … So go ahead, make a great day and join us on our pursuit to make a great year.”

It can be that simple.

Paul Middleton

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