Brand Innovators CES MegaTrends Summit

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It’s always exciting to be anywhere near Vegas during CES, and the Blis team was lucky to make it to Sin City this January! We attended the Brand Innovators MegaTrends Summit, which ran right alongside the Consumer Electronics Show. “Brands Bet on Digital” was the theme, and the event focused on how the internet has fundamentally changed the ways in which we consume and interact with all forms of media, content and information. Consumers are online 24-7, asking Alexa for the headlines and watching TV on their phones. Brands have become publishers and are able to use data to target their customers at home and on the go, any time, any place. It’s been a pretty dramatic shift!

With that as the backdrop, the summit focused on a few key trends in brand marketing that we expect to see grow and evolve in the year ahead:

CPG Considering DTC

Given the theme of the event, it’s not surprising that Direct-to-Consumer was a common recurring theme. Brands are keen to leverage their first-party data to develop direct relationships with their clients, which seems logical when you consider that 89 percent of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience according to Gartner. DTC gives brands more control over that experience.

However, this can be a challenge, particularly for companies in the CPG space who have relied on mass retailers for distribution. Many CPG manufacturers are rising to the challenge by acquiring newer DTC players – for example, Unilever’s acquisition of Dollar Shave Club. However, if
brands don’t (or can’t) build that direct relationship, they will need to work closely with partners that can provide insights on customer behavior.

The Shift Away from Traditional TV

With streaming and OTT continuing to steal thunder from linear TV, it’s no surprise that budgets are following the trend. While traditional TV ad spend still dwarfs OTT ($70 billion vs. $8.2 billion projected in 2018, according to MediaPost), budgets for then newer medium continue to grow. In fact, Citi is planning to launch a new credit card this year – and won’t be spending a dime on traditional TV media for the first time ever.

The Search for Meaning – and Loyal Customers

Consumers – and especially millennial consumers – want to purchase things from brands that they feel passionate about. The AMA reports that 70 percent of Gen Y will actually spend more to buy brands that support causes they are aligned with their personal values.

For brands, this could mean supporting causes or charities, promoting diversity in their organizations, or taking a stand. Consumers don’t want the brands they love to wait for the government to enact laws – they want brands to do the right thing. One great example of this behavior is Patagonia, who in 2018 announced that they would donate their massive tax rebate to environmental causes. Similarly, Nike’s support of Colin Kaepernick and Dick’s removal of guns from its shelves resonated well with consumers.

All in all, Brand Innovators hosted yet another excellent, thought-provoking event. We left excited about everything 2019 holds for brand marketers!

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