XL … March of the Marketing Machines (by O&M)

15 trends that will fundamentally impact marketing communications now and into the future. We are seeing more and more traction on how algorithms, machine learning, robots, virtual personal assistants, artificial learning and new digital mediums such as virtual reality are profoundly changing our industry. In fact it is more than a change, it is a revolution, and it is going to be more impactful than the internet and social media upheavals of the last twenty years.

Artificial intelligence (AI) in all its forms will be just as big if not bigger than what people call the Second Industrial Revolution. But whilst there is this monumental change happening, there is also an unexpected and just as profound unforeseen and very un-artificial result, which we are calling The New Empathy. This is essentially how technology is also forging a new sense of global human connectedness through emotional story-telling and empathy. In what sometimes seems like the darkest of days in 2016, there is also a new optimism bringing people and cultures together.

We finish with a collection of insights which we are calling the New Adventures in Marketing, which cover a variety of miscellaneous but just as important movements, including a new era in brand marketing that we call Brand Activism. The report wraps up with a deeper look at the award winning work we loved from Cannes.

The Trends


Trend 1: The March Of The Machines

In this chapter, we highlight how the new field of data driven creative science is opening up our industry to new possibilities and ideas never even conceivable just a few years ago. In five insights we outline how social media will be fundamentally changed by machines that can post, respond and even create content (trend #1) and then build on this technology to even create art (trend #2), how virtual reality is opening up a whole new creative medium (trend #5), how smart machines will transform our world (trend #3) and how in the longer term we could even become a new species (trend #4).

Trend 2: The New Human Empathy

There’s one word at Cannes that was uttered more than any other. Not authenticity.

Not purpose. No, not even engagement. It was empathy. Empathy is the new way to gain engagement. And of course engagement is one of things we are all trying to achieve in the confusion that is today’s media landscape. Empathy has come to the fore because of the new digital world. Thanks to social media, we are now all the creators of our own stories and we publish them relentlessly. It is the stories of our lives that we are telling, and of our friends, and even of strangers, that are pulling at our emotions. These are the stories that are creating empathy, and are the stories that are working best. And now virtual reality is creating a new level of empathy by placing us literally in the shoes of others.

Trend 3: New Adventures In Marketing

This third and final section is a broad range of insights that will impact our world over the coming months and years. From the anti-digital and social media movement which we are calling Analogue Escapism (trend #11), to the contrasting movement to Immersionism – the rise of ultra fast reactive content covered by The Ephemeral Web (trend #12) and Quick Response Comms (trend #13), to perhaps the most strategically significant trend of all: the rise of Brand Activism (trend 14) which outlines a new paradigm shift in the way brands are marketed. Finally Cultural Engineering (trend #15) outlines how organisations have a role in using their budgets to create new popular culture.

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