Reflecting on 2018 in Marketing

As the year draws to a close, not only is it a time to look forward to the new year, but a time to reflect on this one. And while, in our personal lives, this may mean more exercise, less drinking and more saving money, in our business lives it’s about considering what worked and what didn’t in our marketing strategies. Here are a few marketing professionals discussing their views on the key marketing moments of 2018.

Katie McAllister, chief marketing officer, TUI UK and Ireland:

“Last year we transitioned from Thomson to TUI. Throughout the rebrand we were conscious of the need to build on the Thomson legacy, while presenting the fresh face of TUI. That’s probably why the campaigns that have had most impact for me this year are from established organisations seeking to modernise what they stand for.

“Lloyds Bank’s ‘The Running of the Horses’ was a powerful way to build on its work in the diversity space with an imaginative use of the familiar black horse. I also think the Army’s bold approach was genuinely thought-provoking and attention-grabbing. Featuring real young soldiers telling believable stories, it felt totally authentic and was pitched perfectly for the audience it was targeting.”

Neil Kirby, marketing director, Bupa Global:

“2018 has been the year wellness has come to the fore. It wasn’t long ago that health was defined as no diagnosis of illness, but now we are seeing our customers view wellness as a daily, active pursuit, which incorporates mental and physical wellbeing as well as emotional health – it means living longer, and thriving too.

“This ‘revolution’ in 2018 has been kick-started across multiple categories through brands that to date have not traditionally played in the healthcare space. For example, startups like Babylon and established companies like Philips have begun telling brand stories through the lens of wellness.

“In 2018 we’ve seen our customers become more health conscious than ever and increasingly look for a true healthcare partner, offering an holistic solution to their needs and using their health plans to take control of their wellbeing through a rich spectrum of benefits.”

Rory McEntee, marketing director, Gymbox:

“This was the year where customers raised their voice about sustainability and brands listened. We have taken action, whether it be changing our wet wipes or introducing re-usable stainless steel water bottles. It has shifted our mentality so we deliver great brand experiences in a way that reflects the changing values in society.”

Pete Markey, CMO, TSB:

“2018 has been a year of brave moves by big retail brands seeking to fight back with more focus and vigour than ever before (such as John Lewis). 2019 for me will be about brands making a deeper connection in a post-GDPR world with the opportunity for more meaningful brand experiences.”

Danielle Atkins, chief brand officer, Kodak:

“The fact Patagonia’s CEO [Rose Marcario] announced it was going to donate its $10m tax relief to combat climate change in the US is really interesting. Likewise so was Iceland’s palm oil ad rather than the traditional, tug on the heartstrings Christmas ad. There’s a formula for Christmas ads that John Lewis has led with for the past few years and I thought that was interesting.

“The other one was Nike’s ‘Nothing Beats a Londoner’. For me it was a really interesting way of leveraging influencers in both an authentic and local way; actually shining a light on an issue that it’s tough for London’s youth. There are a lot of challenges facing young people in London. For me it stands out as showing how companies are actually using their money and being authentic in the way they’re shining a light on real issues.

“In the case of Patagonia, it is basically taking on a government, which is really interesting. Companies are stepping up where governments are failing. There’s something really interesting in that as a theme.

“I think that’s what you’re going to see in the future. That’s what consumers want, they want authenticity, purpose. That for me is the future of brands. Marketers talk a lot about the conscience economy and you’re starting to see businesses take on the mantle of what governments are supposed to do, but they’re in chaos.”

Interview courtesy of Marketing Week, sponsored by Salesforce

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