As the great Prince once sang, “I have seen the future, and it will be.”
With the New Year just passed, and another trip around the sun completed, it’s that time once again to take a peek into the future and offer up what we think it will be.
As part of an annual series, we asked industry leaders what they see coming in the year ahead while also looking at the year just passed.
Next up is Mary Knickrehm, Founder & Director of 402 Marketing Collective, taking a look ahead, a look back, and at the fate of her New Year’s resolution for 2023.
What are three trends to look for in the coming year?
While I’m a creative person at heart, at my core I’m a performance driven girl – I love numbers. And one thing the numbers have shown me in the past year is that the campaigns that deliver the best metrics are the ones with good creatives, and lots of them. Based on what we’ve seen in 2023, here’s what I think we can expect in 2024 – a Creator and Creative driven year:
1. More of less and less is more will be the mantra
We’re living in a world where attention is a scarce commodity – it’s hard to get it and once you have it, it’s already turning to the next thing. To stay top of mind, brands need content – and lots of it. The days of the brilliant, high-production ads the advertising world loves are on their way out, and short-form, lo-fi content is here to stay. Not only is it faster and cheaper to produce, it’s more effective too (more on that below).
2. 2024 will be the year of the (UGC) Creator
UGC (user-generated content) has been having a moment and this year it will be coming to the forefront. Its authenticity and relatability significantly influence purchasing decisions and brand trust, driving higher engagement and conversion rates than traditional branded content. Often conflated with influencer marketing – there is a key difference that distinguishes the two: the purpose of engaging a UGC Creator is for the content itself, rather than the opportunity to reach the creator’s audience. In 2024, I predict we’ll see brands start to invest more in UGC as part of their creative strategy.
3. Branding will blend seamlessly with entertainment
You know the phrase “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”? Well, you could say the way to a consumer’s mind is through their screen. And the truth is they’re usually not hungry for an ad – they are looking for entertainment. To earn the privilege of their attention, brands will need to learn to give them what they want. In 2024, branded content will blend more seamlessly with entertainment, particularly on platforms like TikTok.
A recent example I love is surprisingly done by one of my least favourite airlines, United, with TikToker Delaney Rowe, who is known for her cringe comedy videos where she parodies character tropes like “the absolutely insufferable female lead of an indie movie”. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any more positive comments about United than on this ad.
@delaneysayshello Love is in the air… @United Airlines #unitedpartner ♬ original sound – Delaney Rowe
Your favourite trend of 2023
Reflecting on 2023, it was refreshingly light-hearted. Amidst the challenging times of the preceding years, there was a noticeable shift towards playfulness and humour, particularly in the realm of social media and advertising. Also, did anyone else notice ‘metaverse’ talk dropped off a cliff? Wasn’t mad about that trend taking a backseat, honestly.
Your favorite campaign of 2023?
I always struggle with this question because I have the memory of a squirrel. I would have to say SKIMS “The Ultimate Nipple Bra” because when I started writing this article, it was the only one I could remember. I find the product personally a bit problematic, and even though I wish I could erase my knowledge of it from my memory, I’m still talking about it months later and for that alone it deserves credit. Love her or hate her you have to admit, Kim Kardashian knows how to get attention. And by the way, that product sold out within weeks.
What was your 2023 New Year’s Resolution and did you keep it?
I had several and kept most of them. My proudest accomplishment was finally getting my inverts on the pole. Crushed it.
Check out our Three Trends series here.
Here are Mary’s predictions from last year.