Could 2022 see the beginning of a creative marketing renaissance?

Understandably we’re all reluctant to make too many bold predictions after a couple of rather depressing years. Still, we thought we’d turn our attention to the potential for happier times ahead, particularly as it relates to brands.

One of the worst aspects of 2021 has been the flatlining effect on confidence. After months of cancellations and false starts, there was a noticeable chilling effect on major campaigns and events, with businesses reluctant to plan too far ahead. Now, the new year promises something different and more than a faint hope of a resurgent economy.

So, what could brand development look like in 2022?

We might like to look at what happened after the 2006 Global Financial Crisis (GFC) for some clues. In the space of a couple of years, some of the most iconic brands in a generation emerged and flourished. Technological innovation combined with a specific shift in consumer behaviour and demand to deliver Netflix, Uber, Airbnb, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Pinterest.

You could believe those major brands have had little to do with your business. However, they have had an incredible influence on how we buy, sell, and promote what we do today.

Taking an optimistic view of 2022, here are three key things you might consider for your business when it comes to marketing.

1. The demand question might not matter so much

As marketers, ignoring or taking consumer behaviour for granted, seems counterintuitive. Still, in an environment where people can suddenly spend and travel like they’ve not done for months, there’s no point in being overly cautious. That’s why in the first half of 2022, the supply side of marketing will call the shots. Marketing investment has been held back over the last year and a half. Even if you haven’t been doing it yourself, many of your competitors have held off on major campaigns and events.

The important lesson here is not to get left behind when the flag drops.

2. Pay attention to your competitors but don’t do what they do

Just like the world after the GFC led to different ways of doing business, we could see unusual approaches to marketing emerging in 2022. Now’s a good time to conduct a health check on your industry. Which of your competitors is still operating, and do you think the marketing pivots they made over the past 18 months were temporary, or are they here to stay?

One word of warning: The answer to effective marketing success in 2022 will not always lie in doubling down on your online strategy. In our previous article, we spoke about the risks to your brand from an over-reliance on digital.

3. Creativity will be king again

Perhaps our boldest prediction and one of the trends we’re most hopeful for in 2022 is a shift toward creativity in marketing. Marketing investment isn’t the only thing that is pent up; it is creative energy as well. We believe our brand strategy recommendations in 2022 will most likely tend toward vibrancy and optimism. We will also be advising clients to be careful about moralising in their marketing. After almost two years of being told what to do, the public isn’t going to be in the mood to hear about your company’s virtuous attributes.

Humour, cheekiness, and captivating design could and should win the day in 2022.

So obviously, time will tell if there is a marketing renaissance in 2022, but one thing is for sure, whether there is constrained demand or not, your brand is going to need to stand out from the crowd.

Let’s get creative!