by MarkLives (@marklives) What are the industry expectations for the marketing and advertising industry in 2020? A panel of key agency and marketing execs discusses the macro environment, budgets, changes in messaging, movement in the industry and any consumer and communication trends they’ll be looking out for in the year ahead. Next up is Grid Worldwide‘s Masego Motsogi.

Masego MotsogiMasego Motsogi (@masegom) is the managing director at Grid Worldwide and her experience in the industry spans over 16 years. She has worked with clients across various industries, has a keen interest in youth and women development and their advancement in the industry. Masego strongly believes that the communications industry has potential to influence culture, and as such should take itself and its product with the seriousness it deserves.

2019 was a very interesting year. One could easily call it the year of negatives, what with the undeclared but very evident economic downturn; the plethora of commissions of enquiry that occupied our news headlines on a weekly basis; the upsurge of crime, especially femicide; the mess that is BREXIT; the impeachment enquiry on the other side of the Atlantic… I could go on but am sure you get the point. Certainly, from the personal conversations I had with peers, it seems this negativity or heaviness was experienced by many in their personal capacity. I’ve no doubt that other years had their share of negatives, but 2019 seemed to outdo the whole lot.

Macro issues

Macro issues matter but what do they mean for the industry we operate in? In my view, I think we’ve mostly been preoccupied with the world’s goings on and almost buckled down to just do what is expected of us. Have I seen the dial shift with the work we do? Perhaps yes in a few instances, along with the understanding that they likely haven’t been seismic events that call for big press statements and that some of these growth points will be incremental in nature.

Being the eternal optimist that I am, I would be loath to keep it at just a year lodged with negativity. I believe negative experiences do offer opportunities for learning and, hopefully, growth as the ultimate result. And so maybe 2019 offers us just that as 2020 begins.

Many pundits seem to have come to a consensus that 2020 is a year where hope will be revived and where the rewards for the slog put in during 2019 will pay off. This is the view I choose to hold myself and, with this, I put my hope in our industry and ever-present spirit to do work that delivers the goods but also impacts on our society.

What we can do

There are a few things that I strongly believe we may glean from years past and either continue to build on or start doing with great intent.

Technology to increase efficiencies

Fourth industrial revolution (4IR)” seemed to have firmly etched itself into the South African lexicon in 2019. With these sorts of terms bandied about, though, we tend to focus on the theory and lag in delivering what they need to do. There have certainly been tracks made in relation to using technology to improve efficiencies. This, however, could be much improved to afford us more time to get back on the ground to learn much more from society and cullture, and the communities that make it. In turn, this will allow us to know much more and give us access to minds who deliver on culture. This leads me to my next point.

Stop using social media as the sole source of cultural insights

There’s no doubt that social media offers opportunities to ride the relevance train — we saw this recently with the #KFCproposal working phenomenally well for KFC. The reality, though, is that, with or without the social media eye, life carries on and what give work gravitas are true human insights. To understand these, we need to get back to being human beings by living life (and not through social media) and do our best to avoid being samples of 10 in the office that offer “insights” that are relatable only to us and our tribes. This will continue to lead to hollow work.

Honesty as a key tenet of our conversations

Having come into the industry close on 18 years ago, I remember how very hard but truly honest conversations could be had between clients and their agency partners. It would appear that 2008 and other factors that I am yet to decode have led to a largely master/servant relationship between clients and what I intentionally call agency partners. I hope that we can go back to building partnerships that are founded on respect and understanding, allowing us to be experts in our respective fields and resulting in constructive conversations.

Inform, entertain and inspire

We need to constantly remind ourselves why we do what we do. We’re here to inform customer about the brands we touch, and we need to do this while we entertain and education — but in an inspirational way and, where possible, make it beautiful. This needs to be our mantra, our daily reminder why we do what we do. While we do this, we need to remember what impact these often-repeated messages which we’re tasked to deliver have on our society.

2020 — what does it look like?

I’m looking forward to yet another year that’s injected with a greater degree of excitement and positive; to inching closer to us being able to deliver work that we’re increasingly proud of; to us realising that we can be pioneers in delivering communication ideas in new and different ways beyond the TV, computer and mobile screens; and to continuing to deliver meaningful work that builds glory for the brands we touch and the consumers of those brands.

See also


MarkLives logoLaunched in 2016, “The Big Q” is a regular column on MarkLives in which we ask key advertising and marketing industry execs for their thoughts on relevant issues facing the industry. If you’d like to be part of our pool of panellists, please contact editor Herman Manson via email (2mark at marklives dot com) or Twitter (@marklives). Suggestions for questions are also welcomed.

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