With that in mind, we have focused our perspective for the year
on three trends and three fundamentals that too many forget in
their pursuit of trends. We hope you find them useful!
2014 is a big year for South Africa. Cape Town is the official
World Design Capital for 2014 and in April we celebrate twenty
years of democracy in South Africa. Our stature as a creative hub
is growing and we have come a long way as a nation. Expect
celebrations, reflections and a fair amount of election hysteria.
Africa is booming and South African brands are expanding across the
continent, and we will stop seeing ourselves as late adopters of
Western trends and start feeling genuinely proud of local products,
innovations and customs.
Online shopping was slow out of the blocks in South Africa, due
to the poor speed and penetration of the internet. This is changing
fast, as brands like Yuppiechef and Zandos have moved from cult
status to mainstream and the retailers, such as Woolworths, start
taking online shopping seriously. With the meteoric rise of
smartphone use in South Africa, online shopping will become common,
and consumers will expect to be able to buy wherever they are (and
however they like - expect to see much more 'build your own
package' options too).
Content marketing has been on the rise for the past few years,
and marketers will finally have to accept the radical idea that
they need to be what their customers are interested in, rather than
trying to interrupt it. On digital and social platforms this means
thinking more like a publisher or a breakfast show producer than an
advertiser - creating interesting, relevant and engaging content
that adds value to your customers' lives. You want to be the video
on YouTube that everyone is watching, not the video that that they
endure for five seconds while hovering over the 'skip ad' tab. But
it's also not a 'digital trend' - content is everything that your
customers choose to engage with, from music festivals to
Everyone is talking about Big Data and it certainly is going to
make marketing much more precise, measurable and effective (one it
becomes better understood). Behavioural analytics will prove to be
hugely useful for design, messaging and media choice, but there is
no substitute for deep insight into the motivations, context and
desires of your customers. Numbers can't give you that.
Never in the history of the world have attention spans been as
short as they are today, or marketing messages as prolific and
overwhelming. Getting noticed is no easy feat, and it requires
bold, raw creativity and smart thinking. Branding that plays it
safe will simply get lost.
Consumers love the brands that treat them with respect, and they
can spot a fake from a mile off. Don't produce a poster that says
you put the consumer at the heart of everything - actually behave
like you do. Listen to your customers' ideas and feedback,
incorporate them in ideation, communicate openly and honestly and
never, ever treat them like you know best.