by Khuthala Gala Holten. In 2019, brand and agencies should not only finetune new opportunities but also take the chance to make major changes. It’ll be important to be hyperaware of the big shifts — specifically toward digital and mobile — while not abandoning the traditional approaches that continue to work well.

Finetuning the customer experience

Brands will continue to look at the customer journey and ask how they might incrementally improve the experience at each step. The boldest will work to eradicate steps all together and redefine expectations in the process. When asking which parts of the customer experience should ‘disappear’, we will need to go beyond the typical route of a customer’s journey and find ways to engage consumers in more creative ways than before.

Work with a purpose

If we’re all truly in the business of gaining market share, then 2019 should be the year of questions and interrogation of the creative output. More clients need to consider and adopt the idea of giving brands a purpose; they win hearts and minds of consumers because consumer dynamics have changed as they become more discerning and demanding. Brands with a clear purpose create more value and a greater impact over time, making this a crucial and long-term business strategy. With this in mind, we the industry should be producing work that is courageous and meaningful, connecting with consumers and moving them emotionally.

Deep insights

I can’t bear to witness any more high-level desktop research or feedback from a one-day immersion session. If you want your communication to stand out from the rest, your research needs to go deep and it needs to be real, because our consumers are essentially you and I — they’re smart. We need to be more critical and we need to ask ourselves if this is a true reflection and does it resonate? These critical strategic insights will also be a key differentiator and a competitive advantage.

So, let 2019 be the year that we stand up to fight against quashed and lacklustre insights. Cast your network wide; connect and learn something new. Deep insights spark genuine creative ideas that connect with consumers because they’re real.

More digital

One thing’s for sure and that’s that digital transformation will continue to change how we do business in every facet of every industry. While it’s hard to get our minds around this so fast, some of these technologies have a huge impact on the way we work, socialise and interact, and the implications will continue to land far beyond the year ahead.

Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. It’s also a cultural change that requires organisations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment and get comfortable with failure. When we understand this as businesses, then we as agency partners can work to deliver on the business of creativity.


Finally, all of this would not be possible without the force majeure and blood line of any business: our people. All of the trends discussed above would not be possible unless we have the talent to make our clients’ creative products soar.

With a depressed economy and looming political turmoil, the economic context in which we will operate in 2019 may be tougher than ever. Budgets will be cut and briefs will be tight. But now, more than ever, clients need to trust agencies to bring their creative to life — to create, develop and design in way that creates value not only for them as our clients but also for consumers.

So, ask yourself which trends will be important for your business growth in 2019.

See also


MarkLives logo What are the industry expectations for the marketing and advertising industry in 2019? Kicking off our “Big Q” column for the year, a panel of key agency and marketing executives 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.

Khutala Gala Holten is the recently appointed managing director of Joe Public, the above-the-line arm of Joe Public United. She has extensive experience in both above- and below-the-line, and has worked on brands such as Nedbank, Distell and Old Mutual.

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