Grayling Middle East and Africa CEO, Loretta Ahmed presents Grayling’s annual trends forecast

Leading global communications firm Grayling presented the annual findings from its latest trends series – #6into18 which provides an overview of the six top trends expected to influence clients in 2018.

Discussing the report with some of the region’s top communications professionals, Loretta Ahmed, CEO for Grayling Middle East and Africa, highlighted how consumers are exposed to over 10,000 marketing messages each day. Continuing on this Loretta said: “With consumer attention spans shortening and brands marketing efforts increasing, we aim to offer a fresh perspective on the industry with our 6 into 18 series. Providing these insights to leaders in the field helps ignite strategic thinking at a time when campaigns need to translate across an array of different platforms”

Given this continuous bombardment, consumers are becoming more sophisticated in terms of how they consume their media and the type of content they wish to engage with. As a result of this paradigm shift, it is harder than ever for brands and corporations to land their messages. Frequency alone is not enough. Brands need to be innovative and brave, while embracing new techniques and new channels. If brands do not stay one step ahead of the curve, they will not be able to break through the noise and get noticed.  Loretta covered six trends that every communication professional needs to think about when planning for the year ahead:

  1. Take a Stand: The lines between business, politics and culture are ever more blurred, and organizations can no longer sit on the fence as consumers demand clarity, commitment and action, and diversity is the order of the day. How can marketers and communicators harness this trend with authenticity?
  2. Urban Vision:  Marketers will increasingly focus on global ‘super cities’ and their fast-growing affluent populations, anchoring their brands in iconic spaces, and engaging directly with culturally-savvy audiences that can in turn reach and influence others.
  3. Story Time: From advertising serials and Instagram stories to fictional classics and mixed reality experiences, brands are increasingly using narratives in new ways, to capture attention and build a loyal following. How many companies are brave enough to stop talking about themselves and let other, more authentic voices take the spotlight on their behalf?
  4. Test and Learn: As the pace of change increases, organizations of all sizes are assuming more of a start-up mentality. Crowdsourced ideas and rapid innovation are the order of the day, with live testing and beta operations becoming the norm for beverage brands, retailers, media companies, and even banks.
  5. Brand Play: Everything becomes a game, with smart organizations driving purpose and personality through every customer interaction, delivering the unexpected and turning the mundane into a game, to activate and reward consumers. Get it right and the prize is great.
  6. Attention Economy: In the swipe-right age of digital overload, in which attention is increasingly scarce and savvy consumers are opting out of ads and filtering the content clutter, brands must invest in rich targeted content with real value if they want to cut through. Any old content won’t do.

Join the discussion on Twitter, using #6into18.

About Grayling

Grayling is a leading global communications network founded in 1981 to deliver data-driven strategies for Digital Marketing, Communications, Creative, Government Affairs and Investor Relations.  Grayling operates from 40 offices in 25 countries worldwide across Europe, North America, the Middle East and Asia. The firm works across multiple sectors including Energy, Environment & Sustainability, Healthcare, Technology, Consumer Brands, Financial Services, Transport & Logistics, and Government & Public Sector.