Christopher Smith. December 2016.

Mobility rules, video crowns itself as king of content and augmented reality finds its place in digital marketing strategies, while brands face the indifference of consumers who demand from them a clear and consistent purpose which contributes to improving their lives.

With just weeks to go before 2016, various experts and media are beginning to reveal their predictions on the trends for 2017.

Purpose will be the word to mark the agenda in 2017. Consumers demand brands with a clear purpose, coherent and consistent with their actions. They want brands improving their lives and with whose values they can identify. Generally speaking, the challenge for brands is to battle the indifference of consumers, since the disappearance of brands would not cause any upset for 74% of users according to the Havas Media Group’s Meaningful Brands index.

On the other hand, our already digital world now moves decisively towards mobile.Zenith Mobile Advertising Forecasts predicts that 75% of the world’s data consumption in 2017 will be mobile. Smartphones are already the favorite device of most Internet users in the world, while wearable technology and IoT add up to the supports catalyzing interactions between consumer and brand, further blurring the already almost imperceptible line between digital and physical space. A good example of this, according to the Report Ditrendia 2016: Mobile in Spain and the World, in the first quarter of 2016 the United States already registered more mobile data lines in cars than in telephones. The same report shows that in Spain 56 % of Internet users already use the mobile or tablet to control some service of home automation.

Thus, as technological advances reshaping our lives and our social and consumer habits, empowering the new consumer to redefine business models and foster a more collaborative economy, for organizations the challenge of attracting, persuading and converting a consumer increasingly indifferent to brands and exposed to a huge diversity of supply is even greater.

Regarding marketing, trends, as expected, will be marked by digital evolution. Of course, not all experts agree on their predictions and, in addition to the ones we will see below, there are many other practices that we will see soaring during the year. However, most experts agree that the following will be the three top trends leading the communication between users and brands in 2017:

  • Video Marketing takes the lead. If until now the phrase “content is king” had dominated the scenario, referring mainly to written content, in 2017 we will see how words definitively cede the scepter to visual content. By 2017 Cisco expects video consumption to account for 69% of Internet traffic. The claim for live content which enables users to participate in events to which otherwise they could not attend grows. However, we must not forget video is just another format of content that should interest, convince and convert a consumer who demands purpose from the brands.

  • The audience will become increasingly mobile. Progressively we spend more and more time connected from smartphones and consumption figures through this device soar. According to the Information Society in Spain Report 2015, published by Fundación Telefónica, 88% of users in Spain prefer Smartphones as connection device, although only 15% of them are satisfied with the possibility to purchase goods or services through a mobile application. Something to keep in mind.

  • The definitive take-off of augmented reality, driven by the Pokemon Go Experience, which went as far as raising $ 10 million in one day in its heyday. Although the audience eventually lost interest, the initiative demonstrated that these applications have great potential and that consumers are interested in receiving and enjoying these kinds of experiences.

At the center of all actions is the consumer. Regardless of the device, platform, format or application we use to get the message across, providing content and relevant experiences connecting to each consumer’s concerns and giving meaning to their relationship with the brand is the true core of the matter. Consumers want useful and purposeful brands, and as Millenial and Z generations enter the market, this trend will increase.

But what is purpose when we speak of a brand or an organization? It is, simply, its raison d’être. A brand driven by its purpose is one that puts its why at the front and the center of its communication, but especially in its way of acting and behaving.

Good examples of brands with a clear purpose are, for example, P & G, which has placed its purpose in the heart of the business since its origins in 1837, making its mission “Touching lives, improving life” the leading thread of any action. Or Kellogg’s which has remained true to its roots for over a century. No wonder both are in the top ten of the last index of Meaningful Brands published by Havas Media.

Purpose defines how an organization operates: what it does and how it does it, what services it provides or what products it markets, who it hires, promotes, and rewards. To communicate that purpose convincingly and to connect with the values of the audience, it is mandatory that all elements of organizational identity are aligned.

Only when things are done consistently and in a coherent way through all possible touchpoints with consumers –products, human resources, channels of communication, services, customer service, social actions, etc. – these can relate in a holistic way with the brand and truly connect with the purpose of the organization.