2022, the year of the metaverse, geopolitical conflict and a cost-of-living crisis. 

It’s been a pretty overwhelming year, that’s for sure. With consumers and brands now looking ahead at what might be another wild ride next year, it’s important that we start  assessing the priorities for the global industry over the next twelve months and *cue dramatic music* beyond. 

So, what’s in store for us in 2023?

Customer Relationships

I firmly believe that 2023 will be the year that we really (and I mean really) start prioritising customer relationships. How long will it take for brands to realise that building customer relationships that drive loyalty are worth every penny you spend? 

As the management experts at Bain and Company point out, a mere 5 percent boost in customer retention increases profit by 25%. That’s huge. And what better way to extend customer retention than through music? 

A familiar sound is instantly recognisable and an invaluable tool for forging renewed inspiration and hope in the relationship between a customer and a brand. The emotions triggered by music and sound increase the attention, memorability and likeability of a brand’s marketing efforts, which in turn positively impacts the love consumers feel for brands and their products. 

Engage your employees to engage your customers

Let’s be really clear on this one: you cannot expect your employees to care about your customers if they’re not in an engaging, culturally-positive environment. You increase that level of apathy if your employees don’t believe in what you’re doing as a business, which has a direct impact on your customer experience. In other words, achieving a high level of employee engagement is the first and most important step in improving customer experiences. 

Our work with Haleon showcases the power of music as a tool for internal engagement during a difficult period of mergers. We built an online recording studio for Haleon employees, allowing them to record themselves while singing. The end result? 250 of their voices were mixed into the final sonic logo and anthem, allowing the people behind the brand to take centre stage. 

The rise of social shopping

There’s been a lot of talk about one particular social media platform this year, but I’m not going to talk about that one, because I think we can all agree that it’s been getting enough airtime. 

TikTok has become the poster child of online innovation, particularly with the rise of social commerce. Alongside popular player Instagram, these platforms are accelerating a change in the way people shop. Instagram Checkout makes it easier than ever for brands to advertise and sell their products directly through the platform and TikTok is introducing everything from TikTok Shopping to Creator Marketplace to allow brands to engage more meaningfully with consumers. 

Next year, we’re going to see an increase in social commerce experiences and the creative ways in which brands engage and sell. Showing up visually is just the first step, but brands should be thinking about other ways to engage through the experience, including earcons and music-led content.

The Gen Z Takeover 

The marketing industry has been obsessed with millennials for the past two decades. This OG influencer generation with cash to splash have set the boundaries for the modern era of brand engagement. 

However, millennials aren’t as young as we might think they are, and they’ve certainly outgrown their caricature as a bunch of entitled 20-somethings. In fact, the first millennials are now approaching their 40th birthday! 

While this age group still makes up a significant proportion of the audience of many marketers, there is a new generation on the rise. Gen Z is another young and influential generation that has the power to revive old trends, make new ones, and convince their millennial parents to splash the cash on the latest hype brand. This is an incredible superpower that brands should be paying attention to if they want to be future-proof. 

Getting smarter 

Smartphones, smartwatches, and smart TVs are already commonplace. The technology behind them is becoming smaller and cheaper all the time. In 2023 and beyond (let’s call it the “not-too-distant future”), it’s likely that almost every electronic device will be “smart” in some way. Brilliantly and, sure, perhaps slightly weirdly, smart microchips are already being implanted in humans. But in a world with zero visual cues, sound will become a critical way in which technology brands can shape their identity and nail differentiation in a competitive landscape. 

So, as this year draws to a close, I think it’s time we raise a well-earned toast to highs and lows, and most importantly, the opportunities ahead. 

This one’s to 2023.