Leading by example, compact content and other insights from Freedman International's Global Marketing Trends study
ClickZ and Freedman International surveyed more than 500 senior global marketers in the U.S. and U.K. to ask them what challenges and opportunities they foresee in the coming year. These insights have been analyzed and distilled into the Global Marketing 2018 report, which features seven key trends that global marketers should understand.
As technology brings the world together, faster, it’s becoming increasingly important to understand how to build a global brand. A brand that is recognized and understood in multiple countries and languages, but that can also adapt to local opportunities. So how can marketers identify best practices and learn from their peers, to create powerful global marketing campaigns?
Look at the popularity of Snapchat, where videos are only 10 to 15 seconds long. Major brands such as Procter & Gamble, KFC and Citibank have also taken to posting “micro ads” on social media.
Video’s appeal as a marketing channel is obvious. The Freedman International survey found that video can raise understanding of a product by 74%. Thirty-nine percent of business decision-makers also contact vendors after watching branded videos.
Technology allows brands to engage consumers in innovative ways while broadcasting their values to the world. As video content accounts for more online traffic, marketers must be increasingly creative about making theirs stand out.
Do the right thing: Leading by example
People set high standards for the companies behind the products they purchase. In order for brands to succeed, they must display social consciousness. Nearly everyone who took Freedman International’s 2018 Global Marketing Trends survey said it’s important for companies to have good social and environmental policies.
Similarly, 53% of British and 78% of American consumers feel better about buying products that were produced sustainably. This is especially important to millennials, 64% of whom would prefer to work for a company dedicated to making the world a better place. Half would even accept a pay cut for a job aligned with their personal values.
One particularly important value that can impact perception is diversity. Think of brands such as Airbnb, whose “We Accept” campaign went viral after last year’s Super Bowl and Mars, which grew the perception of its Maltesers brand by 8% with a series of ads starring people with disabilities.
Of the Freedman International survey respondents, 27% said their company is “very ethnically diverse.” Even more (32%) said their company has a strong representation of women in leadership positions.
There’s clearly a way to go, but the industry is moving in the right direction. Brands such as Verizon, General Mills and HP have called for their agency partners to become more diverse. Verizon reported a 9% increase in people of color in leadership positions, while HP’s Powered By Diversity program saw its agencies exceed the goal of female representation by 5%.
With more diverse creative staffs, it’s likely that we’ll see a decrease in tone-deaf, offensive advertising. Dove’s whitewashing commercial and H&M’s controversial sweatshirt ad may not have happened.
It’s good to talk: Chatting with bots
Artificial intelligence has transformed the way we interact with brands, with people increasingly expecting the 24/7 customer service chatbots provide. Freedman International predicted that by 2020, the average person will have more conversations a day with chatbots than their partners.
While chatbots field easy questions—35% of consumers inquire about products and services; 33% ask about store hours, location or inventory—human customer service representatives are free to concentrate on more complex issues. On social media, chatbots also respond automatically, which is imperative. According to Convince & Convert research, 42% people who complain to a brand on social media expect a response within the hour.
People don’t only look to chatbots when they have a gripe. Freedman International found that two-thirds of consumers would make a purchase directly from a chatbot. Though only 6.7% of the survey’s respondents currently use chatbots, 27% will think about doing so this year.
A diverse array of brands already utilize chatbots for uses that go far beyond customer service. Sephora bots in messaging platforms help people pick the right products for their respective skin tones and face shapes. Icelandair travelers can search and book flights right in Facebook Messenger. Chatbots from brands like Domino’s, Starbucks and Taco Bell also take orders. And answer philosophical questions, even.