For a long time, cherubic faces and feel-good bromides were enough to sell consumers on a product. By the early 1960s, brands were considering TV advertisements just as important to reaching potential customers as radio and print media. Digital advertising was well-established by the early 2000s, and most brands began to build their social media presence by 2010. Platforms and consumer interests are continually changing, so what’s the key to marketing in 2020?

As a full-service creative agency, Trilix has the privilege to work within a variety of industries. This varied experience allows us to share strategic insights from client to client and cross-pollinate our best practices and knowledge. We know there’s no secret recipe to grab attention for any brand in any industry — it takes incisive strategy and outstanding creative work, executed consistently and repeatedly. As we head into 2020, it’s clear that authentic, streamlined content published with a purposeful and integrated marketing approach will resonate most with audiences.

To guide you through the beginning of this decade, we’ll release a series of articles that break down how this overarching trend toward executing more and better integrated content marketing will affect digital and traditional communications, media buying, web design and graphic design.

Authentic Content

This decade, millennials and Gen Zers will outnumber baby boomers and Gen Xers. These two groups grew up with pop-up ad blockers and streaming services that allow them to skip advertisements. They turned away from overly polished imagery, unrealistic models and brands with questionable ethical practices. In fact, 86 percent of consumers prefer a brand that is authentic and honest. Hard sales pitches aren’t the key to earn their loyalty, but aligning with their personal ethics is.

“Telling our brands’ stories is the most important way to build a real relationship with an audience,” said Brett Adams, Trilix’s chief marketing officer. “You don’t want to create a façade, but you want to balance the image you’re portraying. Make sure people see the authentic part of your story, why you're in business and what your mission is,” Brett added. “Whether your company is business to business or business to consumer, it’s about building relationships. It's about transparency.”

How can your brand tell a more authentic story in 2020?

  • Balance polished content with timely, in-the-moment content that emphasizes authenticity over refinement.
  • Solicit and republish user-generated content that shows real customers’ stories and genuine feedback.
  • Let consumers hear directly from top leadership, especially when a difficult decision has been made.
  • Showcase ways your organization’s work reflects its mission and tout ethical practices.

Streamlined Pieces

Brands are all vying for a bit of their audience’s attention. If you don’t get your message across quickly and captivatingly, you risk missing out on a customer. For video production, that means sharing your message within 15 seconds. In text, we often have just a few hundred characters. Visuals must be engaging without overloading the senses.

Businesses must be selective about the information they want to convey at a certain time. Informational content that teaches consumers something about your product or service will be on the rise throughout the next year.

“I think today's marketing arena allows for there to be a lot of instant gratification,” Brett said. “However, this does allow you to do a lot of research and optimization on the fly. There’s no silver bullet. If something doesn’t work just right, we embrace the ability to test and make some mistakes and optimize. Don’t be afraid to try something different and try it again if it doesn’t go as planned.”

Here are some tips to create streamlined and effective content in the coming year.

  • Identify the message you most want to convey and the reaction you want to elicit from each of your key consumer audiences.
  • Ask how your message delivers value to your audiences — be customer-centric in this thought process!
  • Focus on a few keywords to portray visually and carry through written messaging.
  • Cut anything that doesn’t directly relate to your message.

Purposeful, Integrated Approach

In the next year, an integrated marketing strategy will be crucial for brands to get the most bang for their buck.

An integrated marketing approach involves releasing and repurposing content in a more purposeful way than brands did in the past, customizing the same pieces of content for different platforms and audiences. It helps brands carry consistent messaging across multiple platforms, reaching different audience segments without devoting extensive additional resources to content production. It also prevents a brand from burning out their audience by releasing a barrage of content with disjointed messaging.

For instance, if a brand is creating a how-to video and releasing a new website at the same time, they should be diligent in planning how they’ll use new video content on the website before the shoot. Perhaps some pieces of the video can also be posted on social media, while others could function as pre-roll video ads, and the video’s script could be turned into an infographic, blog or e-book. During the shoot they can publish behind-the-scene looks on Facebook or Instagram stories to generate excitement from the finished piece. The final video could go live on their website, be made into a TV commercial and be the centerpiece of an e-newsletter. Every aspect of the work to plan and produce this one piece of video content can be multiplied with an integrated approach that makes efficient use of every piece of content.

Wondering how to be more purposeful with your content?

  • Determine the resources you have available.
  • Identify the audience you want to target, which platforms are relevant to those audiences and where your dollar goes farthest.
  • Plan for long-term goals, then use short-term campaigns that will leave established audiences wanting more and will entice new audiences.
  • Brainstorm the messaging you want to convey and how you can mold it to be relevant on a variety of media.

Check back for more information on how these trends will affect communication, media, web design and graphic design!