Transcript: 2020 Marketing Predictions

By David Card

All right, well, let’s get started. Thanks for joining us on this unusually warm January day here in New York. Glad you’re here for our webinar. Start with a quick note, C42D webinars cover a different marketing topic every quarter. The format is as follows. I will cover my prepared remarks for about 30 to […]

All right, well, let’s get started. Thanks for joining us on this unusually warm January day here in New York. Glad you’re here for our webinar. Start with a quick note, C42D webinars cover a different marketing topic every quarter. The format is as follows. I will cover my prepared remarks for about 30 to 45 minutes. At the end, there’ll be time for questions. If you have a question at any time, you may type it in the Q&A box. The video of this webinar will be available on by the end of the week. Probably much faster than that. Okay, so getting into the agenda, we’re going to start with a review of last year’s predictions. See how we did. I’m going to do some riffing on topics for this year, 2020 marketing trends. I’m going to go off on a small tangent on design trends as well and we’re going to sum it all up. It’s going to be pretty simple followed by Q&A of course.

So this presentation is going to be a little different than what we usually do. It’s going to be highly visual. I’m going to go through each one with some examples. Some of the headlines I’ve seen recently and what I think some of the implications will be for some of these marketing predictions. So, a quick review of how we did last year. Last year we talked about data privacy being the earthquake that will reshape marketing. I think that pretty much came to pass in one form or another even more so this year. Prediction two, blockchain crawls out of the ocean becomes useful to build trust and that didn’t really happen. Blockchain kind of just stagnated and didn’t really do too much over the past year, but that’s the nature of predictions. You never really know.

Voice is changing for the better. So this was about the growth of voice assistants and I think we saw a lot of that in terms of new frontiers opening up for marketing with voice as well in the home. B2B and B2C barriers continue to crumble, been seeing a lot of that over the past year as well. Premium digital experiences are now table-stakes, boy, more now than ever. And that’s continuing even into this year. It’s all about experiences.

Social is no longer a B2B afterthought, so B2B brands are doing more than just lip service to their social channels. They’re really investing and putting out meaningful content and engaging with their customers even more on social. Clarity and storytelling takes center stage. So I’m seeing this a lot and people who are reaching out to C42D, everybody seems to be more aware of brand storytelling. So I think that one was valid. Startup branding breaks out of a rut. Well, I feel like for the past year things have pretty much remained with the status quo. Lots of beautiful lifestyle pictures of people on flat color backgrounds. But we’ll see you when we get towards the end of this where things might be going and evolving in that space.

So, let’s go into it. Riffing on 2020 marketing. So like I said, we’re going to do this sort of off the cuff. I usually rehearse these webinars many, many times, but due to scheduling and some other issues this year, I was not able to do that. So a little bit off the cuff, but I feel pretty confident. So when you do searches for upcoming trends in marketing, you get things like this. The value prop for B2B customer data platforms [inaudible 00:12:36] CDP is a shift from data integration to activation.

CDP adopters move beyond core data integration … So what does all this mean? To me, it’s kind of toxic. It’s like gibberish. So, my goal is to break this down into just plain English wherever possible. So, sound good? All right, let’s try to do this in a little bit more human terms. Prediction one. More and more brands are creating movements. So as you know, a movement means rallying a group of people around a common cause or ideal. So over the past few years, you’ve seen momentum building on this everywhere from Bombas with their one pair purchased, one pair donated. The idea of this intriguing marketing, like you can’t buy this sock. It’s the greatest sock that was never sold.

Allbirds doing much more than creating shoes. They’re creating the world’s most comfortable shoes. Getting incredible breaks with people like Obama wearing their shoes. Kindbody, this was actually a C42D client. So taking the concept of a fertility clinic and turning it into a mobile tour, really bringing the idea home about women’s empowerment and taking control of your fertility. So, building a lot of buzz around that. Sweetgreen lines out the door, Sweetgreen, I hope everybody loves them.

So what this is really all about, of course, and let’s not forget the shaving company that’s fixing shaving. So, who knew shaving could be turned into a movement. But yes, apparently it can. So what’s good about movements, movements forge emotional connections with your customers and how do you do it? You want to focus on a bigger idea like is there a giant that you can slay? Is there some sort of wrong that you can right in the world? What can you do and how can you create believers in your movement?

This is particular to each company, each brand and what you stand for. But, I’d encourage you to take a bigger view of how you can look at ways to build a movement with your brand. Of course, authenticity, responsibility, which is another thing we’ll talk about in a few minutes here. And passion is key to building an authentic movement. And really what it’s all about is, to me at least, it’s about being human, treating your customers as such. Okay. So, look at them as more than just a line item on a spreadsheet. What common cause can you guys all find together and advance forward in the world? Okay. So, that’s all about creating movements.

Next up, customer experiences both on and offline take center stage. So, yeah, you can’t really walk down the street in marketing-ville without hearing about how important customer experiences are. Everybody’s talking about it, whether it’s an online experience or offline experience, the way people shop and the way people buy things is evolving and it’s shifting towards bringing this idea of like a premium experience to your customers.

So what’re some ways that that’s happening in the retail world? If you haven’t heard of Showfields, it’s a place in New York City. It’s described as the most interesting store in the world or also known as the retail discovery zone. And what they do is they highlight a collection of independent, mostly digital brands running the range from health and wellness vendors to home and design merchants. And what they do is they curate special cubicle size spaces designed to elevate each brand’s individual product in an Instagram-able and interactive way, spread out over four different floors of space.

So, these are some shots of what it actually looks like. You can see in their own description on the site, they’re home to a revolving array of art, food, drink and community programming aimed to facilitate deeper offline connections, there we go, between brands and consumers through a magical stage of discovery. So yeah, not going to the mall anymore. Some of the brands that you see here, these are some of the really cool and Instagram-able spaces that they’ve curated throughout the space. Again, a lot of these are what we would call digitally native brands.

A couple of other ones here, really cool spaces. And the takeaway at least from Business Insider was our experience at House of Showfields was extraordinary. We left the store convinced that retail theater should be the next best thing to hit the shopping experience. So, everyone’s trying to figure out, how can we stop this retail apocalypse. The decline of retail. One thing that they’ve done out in New Jersey is they built pretty much the biggest, craziest mall ever called the American dream. I believe this is a rendering. This doesn’t look real, but that’s pretty much what it looks like. On the inside, you can see it’s more or less a carnival-type atmosphere where you can spend the day not realizing that you’re actually here to shop, miles and miles of rollercoaster track as well as an indoor ski area.

Hey, anything to get you there front and center to shop. So, the whole idea of what people are doing offline when they’re shopping is evolving and growing into more of this experience-based thing. Other brands like MasterCard are just coming up with clever ways to make you think about their brand. In this case, it was a box of macaroons and I really think that things like direct marketing to people has been overlooked over the past few years. We’ve all been focused on digital, but real tangible things that people can hold in their hands still has tremendous value.

Also the idea around creating these destination type events, this was a poolside activation for Taco Bell, I think it was at some hotel in Las Vegas. They set up a ticketing system and I think it’s sold out in like four minutes or something like that. So you could chill poolside with Taco Bell. I’m sure they had DJs and all kinds of fun stuff going on. So again, thinking more around this idea of a theatrical type of event is where I think things are going.

So, some takeaways, materialism definitely isn’t dead, but traditional shopping is totally on life support. You don’t need to look any further than the abandoned shopping closet down the street to know that. You want to think about meeting your customers at the intersection of passion and culture. So what do I mean by that is find things that people can be passionate about, culturally relevant experiences and dream up ways to create actual experiences around that. I think theatrical. The theme of moving from interruption to entertainment. So, marketing in the past is all about, I got to interrupt you, I got to get your attention to get this message to you. And now it’s more about engaging people where they’re at and giving them something in exchange for their attention. So, it’s sort of a new way of thinking about things.

Apply the same thoughtfulness to your online experiences. So I could probably do a whole webinar about digital customer experiences and what things and tactics brands are employing on that. I’m not going to dive into that. You could Google that and read on and on forever about all that. And I encourage you to do that. But that’s not where we’re going with this webinar today.

Next topic. Loyalty programs get smarter by employing personalization at scale with AI. So that sounds like I’m drifting back into that marketing speed, but I’m going to break it down for you. So, we all know that great customer experience takes a mix of both creativity and intelligence. And when you think about loyalty marketing, it’s all about building these longterm, mutually beneficial relationships between the brand and your customer. When you can do that when you can deliver these highly personalized experience that communicates pretty clearly to your customers that you get it and you’re willing to do what it takes to make this experience for them special to them. That helps forge a stronger bond and helps increase the potential longterm value. If you can get it right, they might just wonder how you managed to connect with them in a natural and organic way. And good things can happen from that.

So here we have a chart and when you look at it, this is ways that retail marketers are using AI to drive innovation and growth. So all around personalizing experiences, understanding their behavior, managing interactions in real-time. A lot of people doing that. Also, how you sort and identify customers across various channels. AI is contributing a lot to that and especially around targeting prospect audiences as well. So, AI at its most basic level can automate simple and repeatable tasks and really excels at pattern recognition. So what some retailers are doing is they’re employing AI and machine learning, which is AI’s step-cousin, of course, to automatically identify high-value customers.

So the people who are contributing the most value to your bottom line and who generate the most amount of revenue and then they’re using that insight to deliver high-performance loyalty experiences just to those people. This obviously allows for more efficiencies and it helps brands to deliver that magic combination of the right offer to the right person at the right time. At the same time you can also engage your lower value customers and identify who’s more likely to convert over time. So stuff that’s painstaking for humans to do, the artificial intelligence can do automatically.

And you’re seeing this in some ways in brick and mortar around what Amazon Go started to do. So this AI-powered supermarket brings the idea of the frictionless experience. So that’s what shopping on Amazon is like, right? It’s very frictionless. They’re trying to bring that into actual physical retail. So your expectations that you have online are also being played out in the real world. With the AI employed, retail experiences can automatically be adjusted based on the various situational content, where the customer is in the journey or even where they are inside the store. You can deliver tailored messages and content that can adapt accordingly. So interesting where Amazon’s going and they’re pretty much a bellwether for what the future of shopping is going to be like.

Another application of AI is in organizing user-generated content. So Emily Weiss, the founder of Glossier says, “We see our community as co-conspirators, co-builders, co-storytellers.” User-generated content is great because it facilitates brand building and authentic connections with your audience, but it can also contribute substantially to at-scale content creation. So one of the problems is how do we create all this content? Well, let the users generate some of it as well. The only problem is they generate so much of it is, how do you sort through it? How do you find what’s relevant? What are those three posts that you’re going to have featured on the Glossier website going to be? So, they’re relying on their fan base to generate this content across all channels. But AI is being used to sort through the fire hose of content to find the most relevant posts that they can then feature.

So let’s sum this up. Customers are demanding unique and personal brand interactions. This is pretty much table stakes these days. As I said, things are shifting to a more customer experience centered approach and we’re going to have to figure out how to do that. So whether customers are online or offline, show them that you understand why they’re there, what they’re looking for and how you can help. So again, this gets back to authentic, personal, human interactions.

Employ your AI to inform content recommendations based on age, gender, location, purchase history, and online behavior to deliver targeted highly contextualized marketing that converts. So, in sum, what that really means is to use your AI to get the right message to the right person at the right time. And without doing that, you’re either going to be flying blind or just simply unable to keep up with the fire hose of data. And as AI capabilities grow, become more increasingly affordable, the frictionless in-store experience will likely become yet another standard customer expectation. So more and more fickle consumers wanting everything served up to them on a silver platter. And our job as marketers is to do that.

Okay, we’re going to dive down a little into AI-driven creative. So just bear with me on this tangent. What do we see here? We see a person and a cat, right? The only thing is these people don’t really exist. These are all generated by AI. You can go to and you have to wonder, it’s the creative field going to be disrupted by technology that is really this amazing? I mean, come on, that looks like a real cat. I think I had that cat. Will photo-shoots be no longer needed in 10 years? If you asked me, I’m starting to think maybe, I mean think about how hard it is to work with cats. If you’re doing an ad for cat food, have you ever tried to work with animals on a photoshoot? Let’s just virtually generate that cat. I think that’s way easier.

But seriously, a lot of design processes are being automated today. Everything from simple things like localization, smart grids and style guides, file naming that seems like a given. But look here. A photo in design retouching, 40%, so long art department. You’ve got lots of stuff that needs to be done, tons of assets that need to be created these days. How are you going to keep up with it? Well, AI is one way to do it. And one application that at least I didn’t think of, and maybe you didn’t either, is copywriting. So, this is Persado.

Persado is, in their own words, a way to combine words with data by breaking down marketing creative into six key elements. What they do is they generate all kinds of different potential messages, test and optimize, and then they push out the best performing content. Basically do what no team of people could ever do. And are we ever going to go back? Why would you? So you could have a higher payroll and lower revenue? I don’t think so. You can see some of the headlines here. JPMorgan signed up with them roughly about 12 months ago. This is getting the job done and it’s really only going to improve. So yeah, robots over humans, the writing’s on the wall, so to speak, no pun intended. So yeah, copywriting team, get ready, work on your resume, prepare to be replaced by the robots.

Okay. Next up is brands cannot escape corporate social responsibility. So tying into that idea around achieving a mission or a higher ideal with your brand. I don’t have to describe the times we’re living in, you know that the awareness of social responsibility, it’s growing every year. The days of the robber barons mindlessly plundering without regard to their impact. It’s just, it’s so last century, people. I mean, come on. Being a socially conscious brand is now, it’s just a given. You can’t dodge it. And we’re seeing it in the headlines from the Davos meeting that just happened a couple of weeks ago, thought leaders like Ogilvy are pushing this out, brands just can’t afford to sit on the fence anymore.

And those who have the courage to put themselves on the line will get rewarded. I absolutely agree with that. So everything from sustainable shipping, ways to do zero-carbon, shipping solutions to companies like Petal that’s pushing an entire responsible brand and business model, responsible credit for the modern world. What do you mean no fees? We threw them out. Yep. Are you listening, Citibank? No annual fees. No late payment fees. No foreign transaction fees. No other fees. I don’t know how they make money. But look, this is where things are going. So not just lip service, right?

The other ideas, another manifestation of a refillable consumer [inaudible 00:31:10] goods, right? Hermes with a refillable lipstick. Honestly, why didn’t I think of that, man? You see some of these ideas, they just seem so obvious after they come out. Over here on the right, you see a screenshot from Humankind which sells shampoo and conditioner in a bar form, so eliminating that extraneous plastic waste. Even this morning in the shower, I noticed the conditioner I was using, which was in a plastic bottle, shame on me, clearly said bottle made from 100% recycled plastic. So even if you have a bottle, companies are working that responsibility angle, it’s very much front and center and you can see here the stat, more than 55% of consumers will consider company values when making a buying decision. I think that’s only going to go up from here.

Facebook, arguably one of the poster children for perceived corporate irresponsibility went so far as to rebrand and reposition their master brand this fall. I think it launched back in November. You can see the new logo on the upper left there. So they repositioned themselves as safe, inclusive and responsible. Think what you want, I know a lot of folks over there and they’ve gotten a bad rap in my opinion, but I think they were much farther ahead of the curve on responsible corporate behavior than most people think. Whether or not that was clear from the headlines, I’m not sure. But, it’s really easy to rip on them and blow this whole new positioning off as very insincere. But I really, I really don’t think the case, I think this is authentic. This is how the people there that I know feel.

And if you haven’t noticed the image of the girl skateboarding, check that out a little more closely. This image stopped me in my tracks. She has no legs. Okay. How many of you have considered using a model with no legs in an advertisement, website graphic or any type of marketing? So yeah, kudos to Facebook for taking the lead on this. And this is really responsibility, inclusivity, that’s really what it’s all about is thinking beyond just the standard things that we’re used to.

So brands can’t escape it. Your customers are paying more attention, especially millennials and gen Z, pay more than lip service, inauthentic attempts can do more harm than good. A recent study shows that progressive ads are 25% more effective. So develop messaging campaigns that engage with all audiences, think a little bit bigger. Entire brands and business models are emerging like Petal, the credit card company we just showed. So entire business models are emerging with real or inferred responsibility at their center. So whether or not they’re really thinking of themselves as a responsible credit card company. That’s their message. And you’re going to see whole brands that are based around this.

And remember, diversity means more than just gender, race, or sexual orientation. Think of the model with a different body type. And there she is, she’s skateboarding. And you know what? That’s all good.

Next up, the evolution of the privacy conversation. This was big on our minds last year. And I think over the next year it’s going to create winners and losers. So what do I mean? Europe right now is saying that real-time bidding process in programmatic advertising isn’t GDPR compliant. If you know anything about ad marketplaces, then you know what I’m talking about. The California Consumer Privacy Act, it’s now live. It just started on January 1st. That means organizations must protect personal data such as IP addresses and device data. They can only share it with third parties with whom they’ve contracted. Combine the two and at least in some attorneys’ point of view, the whole real-time bidding process is effectively a data breach. Oh, snap! 

Have you ever thought about what this guy is thinking? Have you ever had an ad show up for something you just talked about? I’ve had ad show up for things I’ve texted people, I’ve heard other people say they’ve seen ads for stuff they just thought about. Creepy, weird, yes. The backlash, it’s in full swing. People are fighting back against this. Location data, which sort of flew under the radar for a really long time. It’s now front and center. It’s very much on everyone’s mind, and I think this is a year where some marketers are going to get ahead of the curve. By scaling back their reliance on third-party data, that’s going to impact all kinds of ways that they market. There’s going to be a lot of conversations in the boardroom about this in 2020, very much on the minds of the big three tech companies, Google, Facebook, and YouTube.

I mean, sorry, Google, YouTube, and Facebook. I guess that’s all three. I guess Apple is in on this too. Hey, as I said, I just threw this together last minute. But Google added two new voice commands for people to better control their privacy when using its voice assistance. So now you can tell Google you want it to forget what it just heard you say by saying, “Hey, Google, that wasn’t for you.” Or you could say, “Hey, Google, are you saving my audio data?” That’ll fire up the settings screen. It’ll enable you to change your privacy settings.

Facebook right there in the center, they’re starting the decade by giving you more control over their privacy. So as we mentioned before, they’re scrambling to make sure that you understand that. And speaking of scrambling, YouTube dropped a bomb on children’s content creators just a couple of weeks ago by killing off comments, end screens and data collection for any kids’ videos. So yeah, it’s going down in 2020. It’s going down big time and people are going to have to react, they’re going to have to shift their tactics and in some cases their business models. And in some cases, this is a humorous tweet here, but with an important point.

So, Jad is talking about his first dine-in restaurant in California, not sure how he feels about the privacy policy being sort of dropped on the table here. So you can see there’s this long disclaimer, but I think there’s an important point, funny, but don’t let all this legislation kill your customer experience. I’m sure your attorneys are going to want one thing, your customers are going to want another. And I think you have to find the middle ground. So again, the web of legal issues, it’s only going to get more tangled. Power shifting back to the consumers, they’re taking the power back and this is only going to continue. So you’re going to have to think about how you’re going to review and update your privacy data and cookie policy. Speak with your attorney. We’re not lawyers, we’re brand designers.

Examine your whole data ecosystem. So, internal and externally, are you complying with all your policies? Do you have, if you’re a large company, do you have a chief data officer reviewing all this? We might want to take a look at it because a lot of people are predicting that class action lawsuits are just going to come through the flood gates this year. So take a look at stuff. Think about how you’re connecting content and data ethically or you’re going to risk blowing your reputation. So keeping ethics at the center and trying not to degrade that user experience. Find the balance.

Bear with me one second while I take a sip from my delicious ice-cold water. All right, great. Thank you. Next up, TikTok, is it the apocalypse? So unless you’ve been living under a rock like me, you’ve heard of TikTok. So as an old geezer, I admit I didn’t check out TikTok until recently, when I did, I was instantly sucked in. TikTok, if you didn’t know, blurs the lines between internet challenges, memes, social videos, music videos I should say, and other forms of online content. Some TikTok trends are unique to the Apple, others are just indicative of broader online inside jokes or trends. So it’s sort of like what began as a simple lip-syncing app has become the source of viral memes. On TikTok, the memes exist in the form of short videos, challenges, dance moves, lots of inside jokes, lots of lip-syncing. But I think the understanding which TikTok trends go viral and why is going to be one of the keys to decoding a gen Z, millennial internet and meme culture in general.

So this is generation Z, roughly age 17 to 23, they’re the largest, the youngest, the most ethnically diverse generation in American history. Girl on the left, very young. Never wants kids, doesn’t have a life plan. Cliché, Maybe a little, but maybe not so far off the mark either. 82 million members, 27% of the US population. Wow. That really surprised me. I was like, wow. This is way bigger than I thought. And wait for it. Spending power of 143 billion. Dude, oh my God. It’s a lot of B’s, 143. It’s really simple when you think about it. They do cool, funny shit. Old folks like us kind of stare in incomprehension, right? So what do we do? Oh God, how do we deal with this? Well, it’s my job to spot the trends and not explain exactly how to take action. Although I am on some of these, all I can say is spend some time understanding TikTok, get sucked into it. Watch it for a few hours. Try to pull yourself out. Figure out why it is what it is. If you’re marketing to gen Z, this is mandatory.

I think, if you want to go philosophical on a deeper level, the way people communicate, it’s evolving. As one of my younger employees put it to me at one point he said, “We communicate with GIFs now. Yeah. We don’t use, we don’t even text. We just GIF each other.” On another level, the concept of entertainment, which has been doing this for a while. It’s shifting and shifting more and more to tiny chunks of awesomeness. I mean, I think that’s the best way to put it. 16 seconds of, “Holy cow. That was great.” What are the implications? I don’t know. But when you find out, drop me an email, [email protected], while you’re at it, get to know these folks. These are some of the big influencers on TikTok. Loren Gray on the left. She’s leading the pack with about 31 million fans, quite a bit.

Baby Ariel on the right, been described by Time Magazine as one of the most influential people on the internet. Yes. One of the most influential people on the internet with 29.6 million fans. That’s her, get to know her. A couple of other influencers, Jacob and Flighthouse. Yep. I’m just as lost as every other guy over 40. So yeah. So TikTok is the apocalypse. In [sumration 00:42:47], it’s not even a word. Gen Z is a huge market opportunity. They communicate in strange and unknown ways. So embrace your inner lip-sync-er, learn to speak the new language, follow the trends and influencers. And you may discover a few opportunities along the way.

So following along the youth angle here, we’re going to jump into the next one. So virtual worlds are the new, Super Bowl had to work in, a little Super Bowl reference being just a couple of days ago. So maybe you’ve heard about this. This happened fairly recently. The Fortnite Star Wars, Skywalker Rising announcement trailer. 3.1 million people watched Fortnite’s Star Wars event live. I think that’s both people in-game and following on Twitch. Okay. So it’s not Super Bowl like numbers yet, but still keep this in mind.

In 2018, and this is even a year before 2019, over 50 billion hours of gaming content were watch. That is a lot of hours. So yeah, huge market opportunity here. And what was it like for this Fortnite thing? Generate huge amounts of press and it was really cool. I’m just going to walk you through how it went down. So, it started out with people jumped into the game. It took forever to get in. The servers were all melting down. Of course, this happens anytime you do a big in-game experience, but eventually you got in, you dropped in, I think you flew in on like a TIE fighter, landed on the landing field. You look up and there’s the Millennium Falcon shooting down some TIE fighters, engaging in aerial combat. Then it lands right in front of you. J.J. Abrams drops out in some really tight leather pants, has some witty stage banter with somebody else, allows you to have a few chuckles. And then they played the trailer sort of like drive-in movie style, which was cool.

Everybody got the first peek at The Rise of Skywalker. And then after that, of course they rewarded all the players with a loot box that had of course lightsabers in the color that they wanted. So in the end, it was a blast literally. Fortnite, like they needed any more success at this point? But yeah, they crushed it on this one. Classic, never been done before experience. Well, maybe in-game marketing has been done before, but maybe not quite on this scale or with this type of impact. This is one of the best examples I’ve seen yet of in-game marketing.

And where else is this type of stuff going? Well, Zuck, he’s on top of VR as we all know, buying Oculus and they’re calling it the next computing platform. It’s a pretty bold statement. For a while it seemed like there was a huge hype around VR, it seemed like it fizzled out, like adoption rates weren’t as big as I thought they were going to be. But I’m predicting in 2020 you’re going to see a lot more widespread adoption as a tool for entertainment and communication. Of course, Facebook being a major tool for both. So what’s he got up his sleeve? Yes, folks. It’s Horizon, the virtual Facebook world. There are attempted a new virtual social experience and maybe they’re actually going to figure it out this time. They’re going to figure out how social works in VR. I don’t know. They’re a very experimental company. This is what it looks like. Very cartoony, it’s been described sort of like as Disney World with VR, you can get your own Disney style avatar, no legs. That’s two references to Facebook without legs in one webinar.

All kinds of things to do like shoot each other. Of course, you got to shoot there, right? Why can’t I just give you flowers? I mean, why do we always have to be attacking each other? I guess it’s more fun, I don’t know. Anyways, one of the cool things here is that the tools for user-generated content are right there in the experience so you can build your own stuff. I think like this entire island or wherever they are was built using the in-game tools for content creation. So this is going to sort of spiral and go off into all kinds of different directions once the beta opens up and it becomes more public. People are going to be building their own things. Will it be creepy and offensive or will it be cool and fun? I don’t know. But you can really, it doesn’t take a huge leap of intuition to see how some branded experiences are going to probably start showing up in here in Facebook Disneyland, the weather seems ideal for a beach party.

Maybe Corona’s going to have some stuff going on. I don’t know. But, again, new ways to think about marketing, new ways people are going to communicate, new tools for expression. It’s virtual reality and it’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be interesting this year. And of course, Apple playing me too. Google rolling out their own gaming platforms, which will do nothing more than extend the reach to even more homes. Apple, we can all imagine them having some kind of AR, VR connections based on some of the patents we’ve seen them filing over the past year. So yeah, more VR worlds are coming, more augmented reality and as the technology improves, as more folks adopt, I think you will start to see Super Bowl like events. You’ll probably even actually be able to be at the Super Bowl in VR in a couple of years brought to you by Bud Light, of course.

All right, so let’s sum this point up. Sheer size of the gaming market has attracted the largest tech firms and the smartest minds. While it’s in its relative infancy, VR worlds are going to become as important for marketing as the offline worlds. New innovative strategies in tech can connect with customers to create never been done before experiences. The only limit is really your creativity. While you’re rolling this out, beware of the potential for failsauce or unknowns like technology melting down, bad actors, trolls, et cetera, to just disrupt your live events. So again, lots of planning is going to have to happen.

So that’s it for the marketing trends. I’m going to go off on a couple of design trends real quick and then we’ll wrap it up. I see we’re at a quarter of the hour almost right now. So, being in a design and branding agency, we can’t help but notice some of the trends that have been manifesting over the past 12 months and where we think things are going over the next year. So starting off with maximalism nukes minimalism. So this has been, for about the past decade or so, this is pretty much the ultimate in-home design, right? It’s scaled back, as simple, as minimal as possible. I think you’re seeing a reaction to that coming and it’s going to look like this.

So, can you spot the differences? I know it’s really subtle, but there’s some subtle differences between the two. Let me put it side by side so it’s a little more obvious. But seriously, what we’re seeing is a reaction to this over-simplification of everything from interior design to fashion, to websites and branding. Over the past few years, the logo world has been pretty much … said it in a simple, bold sans-serif font. You had a start-up, you have a new company, you had a digitally online brand, this is what it’s going to be. It’s going to be simple, lowercase, sans-serif font.

You would also use this type of typography throughout your marketing, throughout your website, et cetera. So, I think what you’re going to see now is something a little bit different, a little more complex, a little more interesting serif fonts. If you look at GoDaddy’s new branding, they just launched, they’re very much a tech company, but they went with a font that looks very much like that one in the middle there. So not less is more, but more is more. Check out this website for Kin Euphorics, which is some sort of non-booze booze that millennials are drinking. I guess it gets you wasted without alcohol or something like that. But again, look at the logo, right, complete opposite of that other direction that we saw. To me, in a word, this feels very plush. Bright colors, the logo with the script and the bling blings and everything is just, it’s very much going in the other direction, it’s going over the top.

Is this a trend only for consumer stuff? I don’t know. But you’re seeing it in some of the ways people are approaching photography on their websites. This layered overlap intertwining of serif fonts. Some very loud and bold, in your face, beverage marketing. And when in doubt, go to French fashion to see where trends are going. So again, lots of stuff in your face. This website, Drole de Monsieur, wherever your mouse went on the site, like this sort of fire hose of photos would appear. You can see that on the right over the guy’s face. It was very much over the top. Very much more is more and not less is more.

One final trend here and then we’re going to wrap it up. Kind of this fun idea around coziness. So I read this article on Vox. Why are so many brands pivoting to coziness? It could be a reaction to the upheaval that we see in daily life. The insecurity around the world. I don’t know. Coronavirus, this idea that we want to feel safe and we want to feel warm, we want to feel protected. As a result, the bedding and sleep industry is now estimated to be worth between 30 and 40 billion. All we want to do is chill in our Brooklinen sheets and put a nice weighted blanket over our head and chillax.

But you’re seeing brands like Birdies, with their home coats. This girl here on TikTok, who’s a big fan of cottagecore, which is an entire rabbit hole, I encourage you to investigate, which is all about finding the coolest, most inspired decor that you would see in a small cottage in Switzerland. Kind of fun. Kind of weird. But bigger brands, billion-dollar companies like Starbucks are jumping in with both feet with their Starbucks Reserve in-store experience here. This is on 14th street and 9th Avenue here in Manhattan. Upping the cozy factor to 11. Have you ever seen so much bronze? I don’t think so, but pretty awesome, pretty cozy.

And furniture companies as well. I think this is a European company called Tolv. Lift the blinds to let in the light, a moment of calm before the day begins. Children, it’s time to gather at the table for some learning, juice and biscuits for those who finish their homework and spankings for those who don’t. But seriously. Yeah, just amping up this cozy factor. I think it’s … you can see the serif fonts there as well. Maybe dialing things down in terms of making things too cold and just warming it up a little. Right. And you see this in the CBD market. Everybody wants to chill. We canned a feeling, we’re chill AF. I think you know what the AF means. Getting in touch with your feelings, making authentic connections. That’s what it’s all about.

So summing everything up. More and more brands are creating movements, not just brands, customer experiences on and offline take center stage. It’s the big headline for 2020. Loyalty programs get smarter — personalization at scale with AI. We’re going to dive into that in a future webinar. AI-driven creative, creating more than just cats that don’t exist, but actually automating some of your copywriting and perhaps even visual design as well. We’ll see. Maybe we’ll all be out of a job soon. Brands cannot escape corporate social responsibility. An idea whose time has come. Privacy concerns create winners and losers. Again, don’t get sued. Update your stuff. Pay attention to the regulations.

TikTok is the apocalypse. I don’t have anything more to say about that. Virtual worlds on the new Super Bowl, can’t wait to see how Facebook’s Horizon and all these other platforms pan out and what Fortnite’s going to become. Who knows? Maximalism returns, and brands embrace a cozy feeling as millennials never want to leave the house. So, if I could sum all this up into a sentence in all seriousness, focus on experiences, not interruptions, and let the robots take care of all the boring work.

Okay, so coming up next, our next webinar, we do these every quarter. Next quarter we’re going to dive into best friends forever, how to drive brand loyalty. So find out the secrets to building an audience of super engaged customers all before lunch. This must see webinar takes place on Tuesday, May 11th, 2020 at 11:00 AM Eastern. Excuse me. To register, visit, look for the signup link which will be up by the end of the week. In case you missed anything, we’ll have a copy of this webinar along with the transcript upon as soon as possible. Also lots of great content there. So check out our blog, again,

For more thought leadership, Subway Series and of course great webinars like this, I’m going to open this up for Q&A if you guys have anything pause for a moment. Otherwise, we’ll wrap it up before I start coughing from the coronavirus. All right. Well, it doesn’t look like any questions except for my friend Lyle, who’s still here. Hi, Lyle. Thanks for sticking with us. I want to dedicate this memory, to the memory of a great friend that I lost. Jason, you are irreplaceable and you’ll be solely missed and very much in my thoughts, you and your family. So thanks, everyone, and well, I’ll talk to you soon. Have a great day.



Transcription: How to Name Your Company

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