From a communications and modern marketing perspective, we have a much bigger toolbox to play with, but maintaining coherent, consistent and connected stories that reach diverse, multigenerational audiences is harder than ever.

Create Real Value
It’s time to rethink our current business model. Only one in five brands are perceived to impact people’s life in a meaningful way. Thriving brands know that balancing the 4Ps – People, Planet, Purpose with Profit – is crucial to create ‘real’ value and meaning. When navigating cloud marketing, communications teams must use this 4P approach in their interaction with stakeholders.

Spark New Thinking
The Trend Management system is a strategic method for tapping into change drivers in both a global and local context, providing a framework of insights to spark new thinking. To understand the future we need to explore the key trends already impacting businesses and modern marketing. While we deal with these trends individually, they are all interconnected via Context (what), Curation (who/where) and Community (why/how).

Context

Radical Openness and The Global Brain
In a Reputation Economy, where Going Social is the new norm, businesses must work harder to be noticed and trusted – reputation is your most valuable currency. A 2012 survey of 97,000 people in 30 countries found almost half of respondents (48%) would not recommend the organisation they work for. For communications, a new level of accountability is required – and however large you are it’s possible to make this work. With a vast and geographically diverse organisation, GE still used social media to connect and engage with internal and external stakeholders, earning it a finalist place in the Best Fortune 500 Brand on Social Media 2015.

‘Streamlined’ and ‘Intelligent’
Big Data Analytics
and Real-Time Solutions are transforming our world so that we now have thinking cities – living, ‘intelligent networks’ capable of fostering new behaviours, alliances and communities. Communications possibilities are immense; New York City analysed big data in order to solve costly urban problems (from pest control to fire safety), also connecting people, goods and services. Here, the potential is to move from ‘big’ to ‘streamlined’ and ‘intelligent’ data sharing.

Digital transformation is not a destination but an ongoing journey of discovery. Instant Everything and Multichannel are becoming a reality, and cloud technologies will continue to drive high performance. Social retail is already huge – a value of $3.3bn in 2014, up 26% from the previous year. Brands must capitalise on this potential by being user centric and broadcasting messages across devices and channels. There are numerous clever examples – recently the New York Times gave away exclusive content to a million readers using Google cardboard virtual reality headsets. Meanwhile, IKEA’s ‘digital home makeover’ app uses augmented reality to drive sales, improve customer experiences and reduce furniture returns.

Seamlessness is Key
The Internet of Everything (IoE)
and Iterative Improvement are being enabled by cloud technologies, which are evolving to give us diagnostic apps and biofeedback. It’s predicted that 80% of mobile data traffic will be from smartphones by 2020, while almost 70% of Americans already participate in digital health monitoring. Seamlessness is key and, in the future, our devices will have silent conversations with each other and the environment around to facilitate a new understanding of our behaviour.

Global Citizens and Betapreneurship
Global Citizens are digital natives who are setting new standards in virtually all areas of society and business. These Mobile Millennials expect Hyper Connectivity and a world without borders. According to Forbes Millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce by 2025 and make up most international assignments. While it’s important to remember that the ‘average’ consumer doesn’t exist, this group will be very important to reach through messaging. Three in four Millennials believe that businesses focus only on profit, rather than improving society, so purpose will become key to both financial returns and employee satisfaction.

Building Tomorrow’s Thriving Economy
One way to build this is through enabling Betapreneurship, fostering Creative Communities and Lifelong Learning within the workplace – 3M’s 15% and Google’s 20% in-house entreprenurship (intrapreneurship) programmes are great examples of this. The creative industries are critical to building cultural capital and tomorrow’s thriving economy, as is fostering new ideas and access to information. For instance, 70% of YouTube searches are ‘how to’ related, so we need more FAB LABs – places where entrepreneurship can be nurtured in DIY fashion. From a comms perspective, it’s critical to be fluent in social and digital marketing. Millward Brown research suggests that well over two thirds of successful organisations are led by modern marketing teams who understand how to use new media effectively.

Community

New Models and Well(being) 4.0
Both people and businesses now aspire to Betterness – becoming a force for good through ‘deep’ engagement and collaboration to build a better world. The Circular Economy is part of this vision and aims to maximise resources and minimise waste; were conscious capitalism, factor in the real impact of our consumption activities.

Be Authentic and Mindful
Tomorrow’s map of success will have Purpose-Driven Leadership and Meaningful Storytelling at its core. Communicating both of these through your messages – whatever the medium – is critical, although it is equally important to take a ‘less is more’ approach and be authentic. The Year of Mindful Living was 2014, Harvard, Silicon Valley and World Economic Forum all joined the conversation about new models of engagement. As the head of mindfulness at Google put it: “Goodness is good for business”.

Engage in Open Dialogue
When we connect the dots all of these trends are critical to modern marketing and business performance. We must consider the end user and tailor simple messages across platforms to deliver the right content in the right context. Organisations must engage in open dialogue to build communities engage with their audience. Our research shows that: Technology Optimisers and Creative Collaborators will prioritise Access and Collaboration, while Global Sustainers and Wellbeing Hunters will demand Betterness and Engagement.

Be the Change
Brand value is now being measured by how well you engage with the world, so a 4P bottom line is becoming the new norm. It is liberating to remind ourselves that we all have the capacity to be active change makers and visionary leaders when we embrace the challenges ahead and focus on shaping better organisations.

Talk: Oracle Modern Marketing Event, November 18, 2015 London Hilton

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