Warc’s key challenges facing brands in 2013

Following on from Toolkit 2012, one of the most read pieces on Warc last year, the current edition aims to repeat its success. But where the former projected ideas such as the weight of the emerging middle classes and the shift toward cultural insight in marketing, the 2013 version offers up a different set of concepts.

Based on Warc’s database of best practice and new thinking, plus the experience of Deloitte’s ‘Marketing and Insight Practice’, the 2013 report highlights four key priorities for brands this year:

Firstly, brands must understand changing consumer expectations, and deal with time-poor shoppers in a way that makes life, and they way they transact, easier. Warc detects public dissent out there, with major corporations feeling the brunt of the angry mob, so companies must improve exponentially on customer service. A serious focus on values, ethics and authenticity is needed here to make the people feel less burdened with superfluous stress.

The second theme, is the impact of technology on the path to purchase. Examining the rise of ‘showrooming’, or cross-selling within stores, trends suggest marketers should look at more closely aligning in-store messages with mobile. They must also ensure TV activity is amalgamated with social media, search, and ecommerce to further target their audience  anytime and anywhere.

Thirdly, Warc pinpoints social media and social influence as a test for brands in 2013. By expanding from simply ‘social media’ to the bigger picture of embracing a ‘social channel’, brands must be looking both offline and online to capitalise on markets.

The fourth point is taking a look at big data, and use all available information to avoid alienating audiences. Basically, better targeting of messages and specific tools such as ‘inferential software’ that assesses data patterns and projects outcomes, plus algorithms that establish ‘advanced correlations’, and systems for ‘nowcasting’, or real-time forecasting should be the focus, Warc suggests.