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Guest post: What’s next is in the past


The following post is from friend and colleague, Kasey Skala, who’s a digital communications manager by day over at Great Clips. Kasey and I actually disagree on a regular basis–on social media marketing, on sports takes, on the greatness of coffee (the guy doesn’t drink hot liquids!). But, there’s one thing we can agree on–the over-abundance and ridiculousness of the “prediction” posts we see this time of year. Instead, I’m giving Kasey the floor today to talk about what he sees in 2014–and guess what, it has nothing to do with mobile, “social business” or “real-time marketing.”


With the holiday season upon us, it’s usually around this time that we begin to see the “2014 predictions” posts pop up across the interwebs. These posts will likely be summed up a few common and unoriginal thoughts: mobile, data, Snapchat (they really mean disposable content) and wearable technology. While I think these “trends” are important, it’s my belief that “what’s next” for 2014 is actually what’s behind us.

It’s obvious that digital has changed the way we live our lives — both personally and professionally. From a marketing standpoint, it’s no longer about price or location for 99.9% of brands. Access and obtainability is no longer a differentiator. Brands that are going to succeed in 2014, and beyond, are those that appeal to emotional experiences. Cecelia Wogan-Silva, the director of creative agency development at Google, was recently quoted in FastCompany as saying “something extraordinary is usually something that touches consumers and tells a story, it’s not just technology alone that builds a brand.”

Coca-Cola is taking this approach with their “corporate websites are dead” stance and the launch of Coca-Cola Journey. Unilever just launched Project Sunlight. Dove’s ongoing Campaign for Real Beauty was one the most talked about ads, as was Nike’s Find your Greatness. None of these examples talk about product, price or place. The focus is on emotional storytelling that connects with consumers on a deeper and personal level.

Which brings be back to my 2014 prediction — we’ll see more brands focus on what’s behind us. Content isn’t new — heck, content strategy was one of the most overused buzzwords last year. While all brands are struggling to figure out content, I think 2014 will see a rejuvenated push toward emotional content. We’ll see more brands filling marketing roles with journalists and non-traditional writers. And, unfortunately, this is going to be an expensive trend for brands.

Again, I think mobile and data are important. They play a big role in the future of digital. However, I like to think bigger picture and get beneath the surface. Technology changes. Technology evolves. The one constant: people. And that’s where my focus in 2014 will be. What about you?



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