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2017 Predictions on the Future of Branded Content

Written on January 5, 2017

As 2017 starts we take a moment to make some predictions on what the future might hold for our industry and branded content…

The Economy

The cautious approach to economic growth in the US and Europe will make way for policies aimed at deregulation and stimulating spending. As consumers and companies make and spend more money, we can expect to see brands’ marketing budgets improve, and efforts to create engaging content accelerate as companies fight for market share.

Global Approach

An improvement in the world economy will do away with much of the rhetoric of protectionism and global trade wars. New technologies will replace some jobs and create others. On the whole, the global middle class will continue to grow, and so too will global marketing spend.

The BRIC countries will continue their accent in global economic importance. New markets will sprout in Africa, Asia and around the world. Smart marketers will find opportunity even in the smallest of countries.

Trade, travel and technology will give rise to an even greater number of global citizens. Multinational brands will continue to demand fresh content from all over the world – a greater volume of content, quickly, and for less.

Entrepreneurial labour will move where the work is. Today it is commonplace to find a bevy of expat film industry professional based in places as far flung as Sierra Leone or Cambodia.

Camera, lighting and grip equipment will continue to be made more affordable, sophisticated, easier to use, smaller and light-weight. As such, there will be more good locally available crew options for brands looking to cut out travel costs and hire locally.

Global competition to host influential creative projects will heat up. More countries and states film and tourism commissions will seek to attract visiting productions with generous incentives for any projects that showcase their regions to the world. Expect incentives to extend to media beyond the traditional feature film and TV series incentives.

Improved Digital

Improved technology and analytics will mean brands will demand more transparency and independent third party ad tracking. Reduced fraud in digital advertising will help continue to move marketing dollars from live TV to digital, thereby increasing the need for digital content.

Consumers will demand more personalised and relevant content. Brands will move from interruption based ads towards seek-out content. Although the trend will be towards fewer, better ads, brands will require more versions to cater to a diversity of consumers. As such, expect more work for creative content providers such as directors and photographers.

As content becomes more personalised there will be a decrease in the demand for ad-blockers. This will work to further the move of marketing dollars from live TV to digital.

Demographic changes will also continue to play their role as younger generations watch less live TV and the older generation dies out.

In-House Content Studios

Brands will seek to make more branded content decisions in-house. Supporting services that offer creative and production solutions, transparency, cost savings, faster turnaround, greater choice, and a global / local approach will do well. To survive, ad agencies will need to adapt.

Future Technology

As new publishing platforms and filming technology develops, we can expect creative content makers to push creative boundaries with new and unique advertising. The 30′ TVC format will be only one of many ways to advertise.

Brands will continue to invest in virtual reality. Experimentation in this area will see the start of some very creative approaches to marketing. Expect to see a focus on creating augmented reality content with social elements. We can also look forward to  some interesting 360 Immersion, although virtual reality requiring wearing of headsets is more likely to win earned media than widespread ad dollars.

Technology changes outside of the film world will also affect how digital content will change. What will a commercial for a self driving car look like? Or a drone delivery service? Will a customer’s interactions increasingly be with AI? How might a technology such as internet connected contact lenses that record and play back video be adopted by advertisers? The creative possibilities are endless.