Take note and incorporate into your 2018 strategy.

In 2018, brands will be required to take a deeper dive into the data that they are collecting in order to fully understand their value proposition to the consumer. Authenticity and emotional connection will remain dominant themes but must be balanced with learnings from artificial intelligence. Brands will continue to differentiate but many will miss the mark based on a variety of factors like ineffective social listening. Savvy brands will embrace video with sound strategy and consistently strengthen their value proposition through effective storytelling. Micro-Influencers will grow in popularity based on the ability of brands to target more effectively. Lastly, voice-optimized content will likely take us into 2019 with brands struggling to align their brand voice with ubiquitous content.

 

Artificial Intelligence

The way brands interact with consumers will be greatly influenced by the use of artificial intelligence. Through the utilization of big data and machine learning, brands will produce highly-customized content. Savvy brands will collect data based on a variety of factors including persona and lifestyle to market more effectively to their customers.

 

Differentiation 2.0

Differentiation has and will continue to play an integral role in brand success. While most market leaders acknowledge the need for differentiation it is often lacking in the end result. Savvy brands will learn to link an emotional connection with differentiation thereby strengthening the relationship with the consumer.

 

Video Will Dominate

Successful creation of video content replete with a strategy to align with verbal identity will be a key differentiator in 2018. The use of Instagram Stories and Snapchat will allow brands to create video content and share it right away. Savvy brands will seek to tell stories that emotionally connect and clearly state their value proposition.

 

Value Will Remain Elusive

The definition of ‘value’ will become more and more difficult to define. The consumer will have enormous clarity on why they are making a purchase and expect you to deliver extended value beyond that purchase. Brands will be required to be transparent and authentic while balancing emotional resonance to engage consumers. While consumers will define value, it will be incumbent upon brands to collect data and adjust their value proposition accordingly.

 

Rise of the Micro-Influencers

Companies shelled out an estimated $570M globally last year on influencer marketing according to eMarketer. The challenge of measuring the ROI for these campaigns will remain a difficult proposition. Micro-influencers will thrive in 2018 because brands will be able to target more effectively, have longer content cycles and reduce the often exorbitant upfront costs associated with influencers.

 

Voice-Optimized Content

According to Google, last year 20 percent of online searches were conducted through voice search. That number is expected to increase to 50 percent by the year 2020. Brands will have to optimize content for voice search as well as web content and mobile. The ease of voice search vs. typing is a significant factor in its popularity. You will start engaging brands in the same way you talk vis a vie your messaging app, SMS as well as telco apps.