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Creative industry trends to watch out for in 2023

Communications & Brand Strategy, Design & Film

Camilo Lascano Tribin

Creative Director | Writer | Marketing | PR & Comms | Tech | ABM

The marketing industry moves at lightning speed and in 2023 nothing will be done in half measures. Creativity is key if brands want to cut through the noise and in the next 12 months that will involve the seamless blending of the past and the future.  

From marrying purpose with profits to adopting data-driven agile ways of working, it will be a year for looking at marketing and communications with fresh eyes and making some bold and brave moves. And that could even mean investing in artificial intelligence for the first time…  

There’s no denying that the metaverse and advances in virtual reality are some of the most exciting developments in recent years, but we won’t be getting too carried away just yet. In fact, nearly a third (29%) of marketers say they won’t include the metaverse in their 2023 marketing plans. NFT, voice search optimization and VR/AR are also at the top of the list of trends marketers will avoid going forward.  

These are all trends which have been on the lips of future gazers for the past couple of years but have already been consigned to the graveyard (at least for now) by many. So, what are the sure-fire trends that you need to build into your creative campaigns next year?  

Marrying purpose with profits 

We’ve seen purpose-driven marketing taken to new levels of meaning in 2022. The most obvious example of this came from the outdoor apparel maker Patagonia.  

Yvon Chouinard, the eccentric rock climber who became a reluctant billionaire with his unconventional spin on capitalism, transferred his ownership of the company to a specially designed trust and a nonprofit organization.  

The company’s profits will now be used to combat climate change and protect undeveloped land around the globe.  

Patagonia is already a certified B Corp – i.e. a business that acts in ways that benefit society as a whole – and has been a leader in sustainability practices across issues including its workforce and environmental footprint, and built a successful brand while upholding these values. 

The fact that it was able to become and sustain a $3 billion business is a proof point of the business value of sustainability and the potential of stakeholder capitalism to be financially viable.  

The idea of committing to ESG goals and at the same time making profit is not a paradox anymore. Brands have to be creative when committing to a cause that’s relevant to them, their industry and their audience.  

In 2023, brands will craft campaigns which clearly advertise how their customers can be more than just buyers – they can be catalysts of change. This will be achieved through a clear and focused messaging strategy which describes the issue or movement the business is supporting and how it relates to the brand’s core values.  When brands are disconnected from what truly drives their business, they communicate to potential customers that they are of no other value beyond boosting the company’s bottom line.

Generative AI

Generative AI refers to artificial intelligence that can generate novel content, rather than simply analyzing or acting on existing data. No topic in the world of technology is attracting more attention and hype right now.  

It’s easy to see where it fits into the creative discussion. AI models can generate a variety of content types, including text, images, and video. This can help businesses and professionals to create more diverse and interesting content that appeals to a wider range of people. 

It’s hoped that AI-generated content can even be of higher quality than content created by humans, due to the fact that AI models are able to learn from a large amount of data and identify patterns that humans may not be able to see. 

Marketing AI Institute founder/CEO Paul Roetzer urges brands to approach generative AI with “a sense of urgency” and to begin experimenting with tools like Jasper or DALL-E 2.  

With the promise of saving their marketing budget and freeing them up to work on other aspects of their creative campaigns, they may well be minded to do so in the first half of 2023.  

Long-term influencer-brand relationships

In contrast to some leading conversations in the industry, influencer partnerships are still a prime investment. Influencer marketing is second only to short-form video content as the trend marketers plan to invest in more than any other in 2023.  

But there is some truth in the suggestion that social media users are becoming increasingly wary about the authenticity – or inauthenticity – of the influencers they’re following.   

A host of influencers wildly misjudged the mood of their fans during the pandemic – posting pictures from all-expenses paid trips to Dubai, for example. As a result, 85% of young people in the UK unfollowed influencers during the pandemic. 

Users are also looking at the relationships between brands and influencers with a more critical eye, turning to the likes of TikTok for raw, unfiltered, and genuinely entertaining content, rather than paid content on other platforms.  

It could be time for brands to rethink their relationship with influencers, taking the opportunity to build more connections with their target audience by appointing long-term brand ambassadors that capture the voice of their mission and keep the conversation flowing with an actual human they admire and trust. 

Mutually beneficial relationships allow the brand to build lasting relationships with their influencer partners, while the influencers can maintain trust with their audience by promoting the same brand over time.   It also creates the possibility for more creative and effective influencer campaigns, with influencers given greater freedom to create posts that chime with their audience – rather than brands dictating what’s posted.

Agile campaigns

So far you may have noticed a pattern around planning for the long haul. Deploying adaptable campaigns is one way of working that involves rapid iterations rather than creating one big project.  

It emphasizes real-time collaboration (over silos and hierarchy) and is designed for marketers to respond more easily to both expected and unexpected changes. 

You might long for being able to commit to a campaign at the start of the year. But they’re very much halcyon days now in the time of pandemics and energy crises.

It’s about being able to roll with the punches, and brands will need to actively plan for things going off course so they’re not having to be creative on the fly, which is a recipe for disaster.  

Applying an agile workflow to your team will allow you to quickly scale, build and collaborate on campaigns. Agile marketing is a conceptual framework for marketing teams that draws inspiration from workflows typically associated with software development and programming.  However, it’s highly reliant on having the right data, at the right time, otherwise it’s a guessing game. So, the first step towards more agile marketing in 2023 will be putting the processes and tools in place to harness campaign data quicker, which will enable evidence-based experimentation.

‘Me’ mentality

After spending the past two years putting their own needs on the back burner to prioritize public health and safety, consumers around the world are now eager to re-focus on themselves. 

Consumers are aware that brands have a big part to play in helping them build new routines, achieve their goals and build new identities.  

Buyer and consumer empowerment has always been a fundamental part of marketing – but brands, as part of their social impact role, now have a platform to direct conversations and truly inspire change.  

Pinterest’s “Don’t Don’t Yourself” campaign is a great example from 2022 of the ‘Me’ mentality in action. The campaign serves to “[expose] the inner saboteurs that hold us back and highlights how Pinterest is the antidote to doubt”.  

The “Don’t Don’t Yourself” mantra at the heart of the campaign emphasizes the belief that the act of doing can help silence those feelings of fear and self-censorship that can sometimes hold people back. The campaign featured five films broadcast in cinemas, as well as a series of OOH, digital ads and made-for-social films.  

The ‘Me’ mentality trend, as we’re calling it, is an opportunity for industry professionals to humanize their brands and to build deeper emotional connections with their customers.

How Hotwire can help

Hotwire has the tools and the expertise to be truly creative – to push the envelope where possible and offer an objective eye on which trends align with your branding strategy. Connect with us today!