With the marketing landscape continuously changing and evolving due to technological advancements such as artificial intelligence (AI), changing consumer behaviours and inflation amongst others, growing a brand presents its own sets of challenges and opportunities.
While different brands and marketers have their own set of objectives to meet in the year 2024, data analytics and brand consulting company Kantar has found 10 key macro and micro trends that it sees emerging and growing over the year.
1. AI is bringing new opportunities
According to Kantar's Media Reactions 2023 report, 67% of marketers feel positive about the possibilities of Gen AI, indicating a rapid and exciting adoption of the new technology.
In 2024, marketers need to understand that the effectiveness of creative content will grow further, and those who use AI measurement approaches that match the pace and scale will be better prepared.
2. Culture comes first
Success comes when marketing aligns with culture and is lost when marketing offends it. Globally, around 80% of consumers say they "make an effort" to buy from companies that support causes important to them.
On the flipside, consumers are increasingly "acting out" when brands fall out of alignment with culture. This creates a new terrain of demanding consumers becoming increasingly confrontational.
In 2024, confrontational risk must be embedded in marketing planning to be more in sync with culture.
3. Facing cancel culture
Kantar found that there is increasing publicity about brands who take an activist stance. However, if brands decide to take a stand, they need to not care to be cancelled for being inappropriate. Marketers will need to become more culturally connected and learn how to navigate any possible backlash to their content, or influencer content on social media.
Brands who speak out in a way that's consistent with their DNA and stand up for what they believe can make their way into consumers' hearts, despite possible short-term controversies.
4. Making sense of attention and emotion
Kantar's Media Reaction 2023 report also found that 60% of marketers say attention has an important influence on media effectives, whereas 66% say that it has an important influence on creative effectiveness.
It added that is sees a trend towards gaining a deeper understanding of the quality of consumers' creative attention.
With AI-based attention predictions now rising, Kantar said it is destined to play a greater role in 2024, allowing marketers to measure attention at scale for digital ads.
5. Holistic measurements of success
In 2024, Kantar sees a shift towards sustainable innovation, inclusive communication, and strategic PR to foster trust with 42% of companies incorporating sustainability metrics in their marketing dashboard. This is a 16% increase from 2021.
Sustainability metrics involves balancing long-term brand development with product marketing and short-term metrics. Consumers increasingly seek companies that contribute to environmental and social solutions so balancing profit, planet, and people need not be a compromise, but can be a valid business strategy.
6. Innovation to boost sustainable brand growth
Brands perceived as innovative afford three times more growth than brands that aren’t, according to Kantar’s BrandZ 2023 data.
That said, over half of marketers (57%) agree that they need to innovate for competitive advantage. In 2024, innovation - particularly radical innovation - will be a strong trend for brands who want to find the best path to incremental growth.
7. Challenger brands break through
According to Kantar's Media Reaction 2023 report, one in two shoppers prefer, whenever possible, to buy from smaller companies rather than large global brands.
Hence, in 2024, small explorer and challenger brands will outpace many large legacy brands and continue to have success globally by focusing on niche markets and unique products, embracing social platforms and influencers to grow and leading with purpose and sustainability innovations.
8. The rise of premiumisation
Due to global inflation and cost-of-living crisis, Kantar found that consumer buying habits are switching to private labels (+6.3%), cheaper retailers (+10.2%) and smaller, more local brands.
However, 2024 will see more sophisticated price management, such as partitioning in the market to address less constrained customers, as well as value-seeking consumers through premiumisation.
In addition, successful brands will become more premium with this trend not likely to stop in 2024, added Kantar.
9. Beyond the search
An estimated 6.3 million Google searches happen every minute in 2023. Now that search is being disrupted by AI and large language models, analysing the intent of keywords and how they are used, regardless of the digital touchpoint, is key in 2024.
This is the time for brands to review their digital strategy and content to ensure that it shows up where consumers are, with authority and an intention to stay ahead of the curve, said Kantar.
10. Retail gets into the ad business
In the report by Kantar, it added that 46% of global marketers are increasing their budget in retail media. This is because retail media has the ability to leverage rich, first-party consumer purchase data that will help fill the void left by cookie deprecation and the removal of third-party identifiers.
Looking forward to 2024, buyers and sellers need media-agnostic, independent measurement to support proof of channel performance and to create better advertising experiences. In addition, third-party measurement will also play a key part in the development of retail media.
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