Advertising Week

Marketers Debate Brand Scenarios for 2025 at Advertising Week

What Will Consumer Engagement Look Like in the Future?

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At an Advertising Week panel on consumer engagement, marketers discussed brand scenarios for 2025 identified in research by the U.K.'s Future Foundation and the Institute for Practitioners in Advertising.

Melanie Howard
Melanie Howard Credit: Courtesy of Future Foundation

Melanie Howard, Future Foundation's chair, outlined the four scenarios for a decade from now, when most interaction will be on mobile phones, social networks will use mostly visual communication, and more than half of us will have wearable technology.

In one of the best brand scenarios of the future, called Brand Me-Q, the brand is like a lifestyle coach. Ms. Howard cited Nike as a good example. In Me and the Brand Next Door, the brand offers a platform or stage to consumers like YouTubers. The most challenging scenario for marketers is iControl; Ms. Howard said that consumer wants to create their own universe of brands and is just interested in functionality, and uses the brand like a toolbox. In the fourth scenario, Best Buy Brands, consumers want seamless transactions at the right quality and price. Good examples are Amazon and Alibaba, she said.

"If you just rely on what you did yesterday, you're going to fail," said Ivan Pollard, senior-VP for connections, investments and assets at Coca-Cola North America. Referring to the scenario of consumers using brands like a toolbox, he said he would change toolbox to sandbox, with the idea of opening your brand up to consumers. He said innovation comes from both outside and inside, citing The Bridge, a Tel Aviv-based Coca-Cola incubator for startups that acts as a bridge between the entrepreneurial community and major markets around the world.

The Bridge program is open to startups that offer software solutions that fit one of five core areas: consumer engagement, retail, supply chain, marketing innovation and health and wellness, the company said.

Jennelle Tilling, global CMO of KFC, said KFC has a strong recognition program, to recognize successes that can be replicated in other markets, and also encourage people to attempt new things even if they don't work out. She said she was inspired by Coca-Cola's "sizzle and fizzle" awards. "I try to give awards for people who have had a go," she said.

Karina Wilsher, a partner and CEO at Anomaly New York who represented the agency sector on the panel, said it can be hard for global marketers that have built their brands through legacy processes to innovate in a fast-changing market. "The ability to move rapidly internally….is one of the biggest challenges," she said.

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