Brand Innovators 2022 Outlook: Agency

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In the 12th installment of our 2022 Outlook Series, Brand Innovators speaks to agency leaders about what is on the horizon for 2022.

Ad agencies got back to work in 2021, after a year of upheaval in 2020. The U.S. ad market is expected to grow 25% year-over-year in 2021, according to Magna Global. This momentum is expected to continue next year with Group M predicting that ad spending will grow 9.7% to $836.9 billion.

“In 2020 and 2021, the pandemic challenged the way we engage with the world,” says Chris Boothe, chief operating officer, Publicis Media. “Agencies had to move completely digital, as did the rest of the world, and adapt to an unpredictable marketplace, and, within that, identify new consumer behaviors. Through these years, agencies have pushed the bounds of creativity for their clients as the world explored what was still possible and only just now possible. As we come to see the predictability in the unpredictability, 2022 will be a year to solidify the lessons learned and to expand our new capabilities even further, with agencies and marketers playing a key role.”

Digital media channels have become even more important to consumers over the last couple of years and agencies will be navigating these channels and shifting media spend based on these shifts in behavior.

“In the past two years, the way audiences consume media has changed significantly. Not only did people congregate on social media to find and form community in a way they couldn’t in person, they also turned to these platforms for entertainment and shopping,” says Lauren Hanrahan, CEO of Zenith USA, Moxie and MRY. “Brands are leaning into social platforms as a means for discovery as content and commerce come together.  Marketers are meeting consumers where they are, streamlining the purchase journey and nurturing post-purchase relationships. This approach allows for the collection of meaningful data, because we see firsthand how a consumer interacts both with their content and their wallet. As an agency, our role is to have experts in culture, content, and commerce apply creative media strategies that help brands grow.” 

As we head into 2022, brands are excited about the potential for social channels as selling channels. Amy Lanzi, EVP, North America lead at Publicis Commerce expects more brands to experiment in these avenues in the coming year.

“This year, we saw the rise of Community Commerce and social media playing a key role in bringing together creators, communities, commerce and entertainment,” she says. “Next year and beyond, we’ll see social commerce give way to the “commerceverse” as people move from entertainment to purchase. Virtual environments will allow brands to connect with consumers in a surround-sound way – whether it’s livestream shopping, purchasing virtual goods or creating a unique branded experience.”

NFTs and the metaverse are trending topics in 2021 and brands will likely go deeper into these new channels in 2022. 

“If 2021 was the year that brands learned about NFTs and the Metaverse, 2022 will be the year that these two emerging technologies come together to unlock true Web 3 experiences for brands,” says Keith Soljacich, head of innovation, Publicis Media. “NFTs enable so much more than art, so we should expect to see brands launch more utility-based NFT’s in the form of avatars, wearables and access tokens to Metaverse experiences.”

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