Social trends that will affect marketing in 2008
Although they are not all directly related to the field of marketing, there are seven key social trends that will have a profound effect on consumers and brands during the coming year, according to strategic brand marketing firm Group 1066.
With a presidential election in the US that is likely to be as unpredictable as ever, the Olympic games that will focus commercial attention on China, and a writer's strike that could change Hollywood and the advertising landscape significantly, 2008 is certainly going be an interesting year.
Major trends impacting brands Group 1066 has taken a good look ahead and identified what it believes to be the key developments in the coming year that will have the most impact on brands and consumers, including:
- Google goes for telecommunications Google has been making noises about the January 'spectrum auction', with figures as high as US$4.6 billion being involved. Google's intention to provide open access to the data network could bring about a new kind of broadband access that would be significantly cheaper for consumers than many current telco offerings. Whatever the outcome of the auction, Google's participation signals a shake-up in the market.
- Writer's strike opens up the advertising game Corporate advertisers looking for an excuse to abandon the diminishing returns of network television advertising may find an opportunity in the current Hollywood writer's strike which threatens the winter television schedule. Expect smart advertisers will engage niche audiences on the web instead, and to take a harder look at social marketing opportunities through web sites such as Facebook. This key event could potentially bring about a new approach to mass marketing.
- Close-up on Chinese brands Although China currently has a very poor reputation for quality control and product safety, with the 2008 Olympic games being set to take place in Beijing, Chinese brands will certainly have an unparalleled opportunity to put themselves in front of millions of consumers and companies worldwide. Companies such as Lenovo, Haier Group, TCL and SVA will have a chance to introduce themselves to the world, particularly in the already cut-throat consumer electronics market.
- Financial services companies clean up their act After the sub-prime mortgage crisis that emerged in 2007, the major financial services companies are expected to embark on some very broad-based branding campaigns intended to cover up the lending scandal and restore their image with the public.
- Green companies pay for their dirty habits With many companies telling consumers how 'green' they are, a credibility backlash is likely to hit the corporate world - and even some of its environmental NGO partners - as consumers and businesses begin to seek greater accountability and measurement in so-called 'green initiatives'.
- Open-sourcing for brand control America's 2008 primary season has already seen the emergence of the "open-source campaign", as supporters of Ron Paul raised over US$4 million in one day, independent of the Congressman's own campaign. YouTube and other social networking sites were overflowing with supporter-created content intended to sway opinion, and one enthusiastic man even took out a full-page advert in USA Today for his preferred candidate. Why do we mention this here? Well, simply put, smart businesses can learn some good best practices from the political world to help in opening up control of their brands to enthusiastic consumers.
- The new buzzword for 2008 Executives are renowned for loving new buzzwords, and none will be buzzing more in 2008 than anything paired with the word "crowd". Group 1066 expects crowd-words (there's a buzzword in itself) to replace 2007's "mash-up" as the most over-used and over-hyped word of the year. Be prepared for "crowd-sourcing", "crowd-storming", "crowd-bursting", and a whole crowd of others.
Group 1066 is a strategic branding firm that helps technology and financial services companies make their value clear to customers through a market-focused approach to brand-building that encompasses product development, marketing, and sales strategies.