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10 Anti-Predictions for 2018 That Will Actually be Useful


David Chriswick & Doug Malcolm

10 Anti-Predictions for 2018 That Will Actually be Useful

So many reports for 2018 predictions remain unopened in our inboxes, and as the reams of in-flight reading stare up at us from our ‘Unread’ folders, it got us two grouches discussing how much of the prophecies in those PDFs will actually be of use to us in the coming 11 months, if growth is our ultimate goal for brands.

After all, what from last year’s predictions helped us sell more stuff in 2017? How much should we and our clients care about blockchain, bots, VR, AR, IoT and machine learning, before the next tidal wave of futurism hits us in December? 

The conclusion of our mildly intellectual chinwag yielded this list of perhaps more useful, more predictable predictions that will actually help our clients fuel growth over the next few years as we wait for all of the sexy tech to be widely adopted (or not).

Spoiler: It’s nothing new and it’s definitely not as cool. More evergreen proof than prediction, based on good ole empirical evidence that helps us understand how most brands grow in the real world.

1. Brand loyalty will still be a thing but it’ll be similarly small like everyone else’s brand.

Pareto’s 80/20 “rule” has been proven to be a myth in marketing. More often than not 50% of sales come from customers who only buy the brand very occasionally (only once or twice). [1] [2] [3]

2. Brands that grow will be the ones who acquire more new customers, not loyal ones.

Efforts aimed at increasing penetration (% of people buying the category) are twice as effective at generating large business effects than trying to increase purchase frequency. [4] [5] [6] [7]

3. Differentiation won’t be as important for brands as just being top of mind. 

On average, only 10% of any brands’ buyers see their brand as different. Salience is 79% more effective at driving consumer choice than differentiation. [8] [9] 

4. Over-investing in short-term goals will put long-term brand growth at risk.

Evidence from IPA Databank analyses suggests that the optimal balance is 60/40 in favor of brand-building as a good rule of thumb. Yet that balance increasingly tips the other way.  [10] [11]

5. Not enough media will be committed to sustain the impact of many campaigns.

On average, uplifts in consideration following a campaign decline at 15% a week, meaning the uplift will have decreased 50% in 5 weeks, returning to pre-campaign levels in under 4 months. [12] [13] [14]

6. Video advertising will continue to be the most effective media choice for for most categories.

Evidence revealed that online video-only campaigns saw a 25% increase in very large business effects, TV-only campaigns saw a 33% jump, and for campaigns which did both, the boost was 54%. [15] [16] 

7. Creativity will continue to be the biggest driver of effectiveness

Award-winning creative work is 16 times more efficient that non-awarded campaigns, and in a recent update to the analyses, that number is growing. [17] [18] [19]

8. Emotional advertising will work much harder than rational advertising. 

Emotional campaigns are almost twice as likely to achieve top-box profit performance as rational campaigns. And more than twice as efficient at driving market share growth. [19] [20] [21] [22]

9. Fame will be the ultimate objective to the most effective campaigns in the world. 

Fame effects are proven to increase the efficiency of campaigns 4 times as much as those campaigns that were developed without fame as the objective. [23] [24] [25] [26]

10. Budgets will still matter for growth. There’s no free lunch.

The proportion of brand growth explained by Share Of Voice is getting stronger – it was 6% for 1998-2006 campaigns, grew to 12% for 2008-2016 campaigns, and will continue to grow. [27] [28] [29] [30] 

That’s it; ten somewhat ‘anti-predictions’ for 2018 that we are more than happy to stick our necks out for. After all, it’s marketing science, not science-fiction. No voice-enabled crystal balls required.



Les Binet & Peter Field, Marketing in the Era of Accountability, 2007

Les Binet & Peter Field, The Link Between Creativity and Effectiveness, 2011

Les Binet & Peter Field, The Long and Short of It, 2013

Watch a short video on the power of Fame 

Les Binet & Peter Field, Selling Creativity Short, 2016

Les Binet & Peter Field, Media in Focus - Marketing Effectiveness in the Digital Era, 2017

Watch the video presentation of this from EffWorks 2017.

James Hurman, The Case for Creativity - Three Decades of Evidence of the Link Between Imaginative Marketing and Commercial Success, 2016.

Nielsen, Budgeting for the upturn - Does Share of Voice really matter?, 2009.

Byron Sharp, How Brands Grow - What marketers don't know, 2010

Jenni Romaniuk, Byron Sharp,  How Brands Grow: Part 2: Emerging Markets, Services, Durables, New and Luxury Brands, 2016

If you don’t have time for the books:

Losing Loyalty: The World According to Byron Sharp

How Brands Grow: Speed Summary

How Brands Grow Part 2: Speed Summary

Thinkbox, Profit-Ability - The business case for advertising, 2017.

David Chriswick & Doug Malcolm

David Chriswick & Doug Malcolm

SVP, Brand & Creative Strategy; VP/Group Director, Creative Strategy

David “Chizzy” Chriswick, SVP, leads the Creative Strategy capability for Chicago and San Francisco while Doug Malcolm, VP/GD, heads up strategy for PPG Paints, the makers of Glidden, for whom he helped to lay the foundation of the recent ‘Real Is How We Roll’ campaign. Healthy skeptics, both pride themselves on being “responsible, not traditional” brand planners, strategizing based on hard evidence into what makes people buy and how brands really grow. Both admit to relying on beards to make up for disappearing jawlines. 


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