1) The biggest trend this year has been the rise of the conversation about, and demand for “Content.” It’s a buzzword for the engaging yet perishable storytelling that fills the meat grinder of social and digital media. The sheer demand for volume has de-valued this content to the point where clients want to buy it by the pound, which makes creating great stuff hard, and dilutes whatever time, energy and budget you might have as you have to produce more. I despise the word ‘Content” personally. We used to call it “An engaging story, well-told.” Or simply: “Good advertising.”
2) As clients begin to grasp the true potential of Social, and the channels themselves have matured in their ability to deliver, we have moved very heavily in that direction. We have invested in in-house resources to produce video, as budgets have fallen while demand has risen for a 24-7 resource to craft stuff. And our creative staff has become less specialized from a discipline standpoint: virtually everyone on our team can design, write, program and shoot--so the combined teams are less rigid in their basic construct [art director, writer, producer etc.] as the end result is less excecutionally predetermined [video, digital, print, etc].
3) We’re really proud of the work we’ve done this year for Mercury Marine. As a bunch of guys and girls who love the outdoors, producing stuff that feels organic, authentic and visceral has been both a challenge and tremendously satisfying. Work launches January ‘17.
4) I’d say the rise of the branded streaming channel as a stand-alone engagement opportunity is the next big thing. As more people “cut the cable,” and “Smart” devices become ubiquitous, the limitations of traditional media fall away. Some brands (GoPro, for example) have a huge head start, as most brands simply don’t have enough to say to fill the bandwidth of a channel on their own. Creating a well-rounded engagement that can attract like-minded audiences to tune in (and stay tuned-in) is the challenge, and it’s going to happen soon. In a weird way, it takes us full circle to the birth of broadcast, where a single brand’s sponsorship created the show.