December brings the opportunity to reflect on the previous year and consider the future. With that in mind, we sat down with five leaders at Brownstein and Red Thread PR to discuss what they see as the most significant changes coming in 2023.
Careful Consideration on Social
The shakeup on Twitter and resulting fallout from major advertisers should have brands thinking twice about their social strategies. Marc Brownstein, President and CEO of Brownstein, sees the need for brands to craft their image online carefully. “Brands will be even more cautious about what social platforms they support because of the growing amount of polarizing content.” With the current upheaval at Twitter and other newer social platforms gaining traction, we will see many brands re-evaluating their social strategies and playbooks.
Unity In Messaging
Erin Allsman, Managing Director at Brownstein, noted a distinct shift coming to the advertising industry environment in the new year – a new collaborative practice. “As consumers continue to scrutinize brands’ corporate actions just as closely as their products’ attributes and commercial messaging, it is more critical than ever that the brand marketing and corporate communications functions work together as partners. Too often these functions are siloed and operate with separate agendas and objectives. Companies that make the internal transition to align these functions more closely and operate off an integrated strategy will be better poised to both grow their business and protect reputation.”
Addressing Economic Inequities
Market conditions have led consumers to be more careful about their spending and, just as importantly, the brands that benefit from their purchases. Laura Emanuel, Managing Director of Red Thread PR, discussed how the business community is likely to address economic and social concerns, “As we see inflation increasing and the divide amongst American wealth only deepening, I think we will see more brands make efforts to address accessibility and inequities – and that’s not just a price point issue.” Emanuel added that doing so is likely to have a positive impact on the company’s image: “Addressing these issues ensures that more people can access a brand in a sustainable and inclusionary way. Just as brands are addressing equity and inclusion internally, so must they do so externally.”
Balancing Budget and Emotion
Even with purchasing power for the average consumer at a lower level than a year ago, that doesn’t mean brands’ only appeal to consumers is affordability. Vice President, Director of Brand Strategy, Anne Ryan, spoke about another marketing consideration in the new economic reality. “Brands will continue to work hard to strike a balance between brand building through emotional efforts and hard-hitting promotions. But, more than ever in 2023, emotion for the sake of emotional advertising won’t fly. Brands need to ensure their emotional appeal is in service to their customers more than their brands. It was in the pandemic not long ago, when spirit brands got into the business of creating hand sanitizer. Now, in 2023, brands are going to have to re-imagine how they can help consumers with today’s challenges. How can they make it easier to live on a very stretched budget, but tie that back to their values and brand promise?”
Many large brands have developed niche marketing teams within their organization, creating more competition for agencies to secure business. But ultimately agencies and client marketing folks are on the same team; they just need to better partner. “In-house agencies have proliferated over the past few years, but as brands face new challenges, in-house and external agencies will improve the way they collaborate,” said Director of Account Management, Steve Briggs. The future of agency-client relationships lies not just in the short-term work at hand, but looking bigger picture to solve brand challenges – together.
If the 2020s have shown anything, brands must be prepared to adapt to expected and unexpected changes alike. With shakeups in social media, the economy and more looming, adaptation and agility will continue to be a focus to secure brand longevity.