Brands use creativity as force for growth

By Hussein Dajani, Deloitte Digital Partner: Customer & Marketing. Deloitte’s Global Marketing Trends 2023 Middle East report explores how marketers are uniquely positioned to create new levers for growth.

By Hussein Dajani, Deloitte Digital Partner: Customer & Marketing. Deloitte’s Global Marketing Trends 2023 Middle East report explores how marketers are uniquely positioned to create new levers for growth, and provides an understanding of how top brands are meeting the needs of today’s customers with insights and guidance to prepare for the months ahead.

Hussein Dajani.

This year has seen the rise of emerging technologies and new ways of doing business as Covid permanently disrupted traditional business platforms and modes of operation. From e-commerce taking centre stage, to businesses learning to operate in the Metaverse, the changes we are seeing are here to stay.

Insights for the Deloitte trend report were gained from 1,015 C-suite executives and leaders from brands across the world, including those from the UAE and Saudi Arabia, to better understand the opportunities – and challenges – that lie ahead. The research finds that brands answer economic instability with marketing investments; creativity is used as a force for growth; and Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) drive growth through sustainability efforts.

Brands tackle economic instability with marketing investments

The past two years spent in a global pandemic have only deepened marketing’s impact. There has been growth, innovation, and agility in the way marketing has reacted to help navigate and thrive through these dramatic and unprecedented times. However, we are now transitioning into a period of economic uncertainty that will test marketing’s resolve once more.

CMO’s are doing the following to secure their companies against current and anticipated economic instability, with their top priorities being to accelerate the move to new digital technologies or platforms; to expand into new markets, segments, and geographies; and to implement systems or algorithms to enhance customer personalisation.

Creativity inspires organisations to think differently

Growth has been a primary responsibility for CMOs. However, as generating growth becomes more complex due to rapid societal, technological, and economic changes, many brands have responded by doubling down on data and analytics. While these analytical tools are often viewed as essential for any contemporary marketer, there are indications of an imbalance: organisations may now lack the creativity needed to meet the challenges of the modern business world, as manifested in fewer creative leaders in the C-suite and lower emphasis on creative skills among CMOs and marketing talent.

Creativity can go well beyond brand communications and advertisements, using innovative thinking to shape how systems are designed, challenges are converted into opportunities, employees collaborate, and organisations engage with customers and other stakeholders.

CMOs should redefine what creativity can offer, bring in management buy-in from across the entire organisation, and inspire the organisation to think differently. These three strategies will encourage creativity in their organisations which will act as a force for growth.

Rising technologies for marketers to watch

Striking the right balance between hype and investment is one part art and one part science for CMOs. It’s impossible to ignore trends that everyone is talking about, but unwise to overinvest in unproven technology. This year, our data suggests both metaverse and blockchain are of growing interest for marketers, as they offer significant promise to brands. The CMO has the potential to determine how these trends become relevant to their customers, but it is critical to engage in the following activities in order to get it right:

1. Look before you leap: Define your objectives for creating Metaverse and Blockchain experiences and keep an eye on early adopters who will pave the way for broader adoption in 2024 and beyond. Make sure to consider potential challenges including cybersecurity, trust, brand reputation, and digital rights management.

2. Start laying the groundwork for a Metaverse and Blockchain strategy: The Metaverse and Blockchain offers CMOs across industries new opportunities to expand engagement and experience, and to grow new revenue channels. Marketers that fail to set a strategy early may find themselves playing catch-up for years to come.

3. Weigh brand priorities in developing your adoption strategies: Our data shows that companies are still prioritising investment in technology platforms and capabilities to support personalisation and achieve customer-centricity as a top priority, but brands that fail to make a strategy for joining the Metaverse may lose the opportunity to become leaders in the space.

CMOs drive growth through sustainability efforts  

Sustainability has captured the attention of marketers for years. Once seen as a hot-button issue, sustainability has grown into a matter that is not only the right thing to do as a responsible corporate citizen but can also be good for business. Brands that focus on sustainable business practices can become more relevant and profitable as well as grow – all the tenets that CMOs strive for. These practices also become a lever that brands can use to stay ahead of cultural trends.

Organisations that wish to thrive in the future should continue to invest in the kinds of products and marketing efforts that help ensure a healthy, equitable world. To that end, they should refrain from pulling back on sustainability investments, although this might feel tempting to do in times of economic uncertainty.

Marketers should also look inwardly across products and services to infuse sustainability throughout the entire life cycle of the product or service – leading to improved efficiencies, increased brand value through customer alignment and ongoing impetus for growth. Finally, marketers should unify their organisation by rallying people behind the cause by leading the charge on internal sustainability efforts.

Opportunities for marketers this year

There are four key opportunities that marketers should focus on to help their organisations be resilient and successful in the face of rapid change:

1. Focusing on marketing investments to navigate economic uncertainty: Prioritising new technologies, expanding markets and customer personalisation to help brands endure and thrive amid complex forces in the economy.

2. Re-imagining the role of creativity for your brand to drive growth: Creativity can shape how systems are designed, challenges are turned into opportunities, employees collaborate, and organisations engage with customers and other stakeholders.

3. Defining your Metaverse and blockchain strategy to stay competitive: Look into adopting emerging technologies to create competitive advantages – with particular focus on the Metaverse and Blockchain.

4. Bolstering consumer trust through internal sustainability efforts: As consumers stress sustainability as critical to their brand choices — focus on environmental, economic, and social impact, from the inside out.

DOWNLOAD full Deloitte report.

This article was first published by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, to which Retailing Africa is a media partner. To become a CMO Council member to access all peer-powered content, SUBSCRIBE HERE.


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