Over the past decade we have seen many forward thinking brands that have been trying to create an all encompassing business culture. There has been a core focus on companies, brands and teams becoming more effective and efficient to maximise their ROI, but very few have been able to incorporate truly holistic methods of consistency in building great teams, leading to growth/profits in their evolutionary cycle. Let’s take a look at some future trends that we will see more of in 2019

Building on Long term ROI

This perhaps might be more wishful thinking than reality-based, but there are signs that 2019 could be the year marketeers succeed in getting their businesses to prioritise long term ROI; prioritising a more effective way of doing business than focussing solely on productivity, function and efficiency. With increasing amounts of digital data at their disposal most marketeers can now effectively measure everything and this means a deeper focus on having teams that know how to do this. It’s about reinventing, thinking outside the currently known metrics and venturing further into areas that have been long neglected. It’s time to appreciate the values of doing business rather than making it all about mechanical productivity.

It’s all about the Customer

There has been much talk about brands becoming customer centric but in truth, most businesses have not yet been able to integrate this at their core. Most marketing departments either focus primarily on product/innovation or other aspects instead of focussing on customer feedback and insights and this has led to various changes across the board. In the UK alone between 2014-2018 the number of CCO’s (chief customer officers) rose from 15 to almost 90. But this is not about replacing CMO’s with CCO’s, it’s about businesses integrating from within to enable a meaningful collaboration where the customer’s voice is equally important.

The latest Customer Experience Excellence study by KPMG Nunwood shows a distinct lack of improvement in brands’ customer experience over the past year, partly because businesses are not set up internally to respond to the rapidly changing environment they’re operating in.

Given the large scale digital expansions, consumer demands have been evolving at a faster and higher rate and brands need to adapt and respond accordingly. Those brands who are able to bring digital strategies to the forefront with a dedicated skilled team/agency are the ones who will be able to stay relevant given the massive economical and political upheaval (Brexit in 2019) that’s coming. Seamless customer journeys make for happy internal teams, grateful customers and healthy revenues.

Social Media: To be or not to be

In the light of recent data breaches, fake news and widespread hacking, social media giants will have to take clear responsibility for the way they treat their followers and communities or else will have to face consequences in the coming times given the awareness of social media users.

The UK information commissioner Elizabeth Dunham is now calling for a uniform code of conduct covering the use of data in elections and campaigns that will eliminate social media self regulation and instead have responsible bodies overseeing them.

It is also a great eye opener for tech firms & digital agencies to bring in a greater level of responsibility that is centered around societal safety. Case in point with recent online advertising (adverts from well known brands appearing on sites hosting child abuse) fueling sexual abuse of children and tech companies not doing enough to tackle this online. Those who do not show a much higher level of concern and act on it are the ones who will be on the radar thanks to widespread online regulations and a more stringent watch on things. It’s time for social media brands, digital agencies & tech companies to come together to fight this online corruption from all directions.

Reinventing the Agency model

According to research by the World Federation of Advertisers, clients give their current agency roster set-up a score of just 5.7 out of 10, where 10 is fit for purpose. Agencies themselves believe the situation is even worse, with current arrangements given a score of 5.2.

2019 seems to be the year the agency model finally gets a 21st-century reboot. The widespread ongoing complaints of pitches being too costly, time-consuming and the exponential rise of consultancies and in-housing over the past few years has taken its toll. At least that’s what it looks like. The current dominant model where multiple agencies managed under a big umbrella brand (marketing companies) and used by more than 80% of the world’s global brands followed by lead agencies and network agencies has made the whole thing very complex and fueled dissatisfaction when it comes to delivery of tangible results.  Further dissatisfaction about the lack of expertise possessed (often by inexperienced staff) for new digital communications channels has also further contributed to this distrust.

Most brands are now building dedicated marketing teams internally thus bringing in more collaboration and better results working together as one. Brands like Lego and Spotify have already been building internal creative teams that will bring in more transparency specially over the digital media landscape.

Those agencies who show resistance to this change will either have to get onboard at some point by demonstrating more value for their clients or else will have to watch their businesses/clients going over to smaller boutique consultancies for strategy or to media owners Google and Facebook for execution. There will never be a one size fits all solution but this disruption will surely pave the way for more ethical agencies who establish trust and make relationships with their clients a priority rather than just another number. This is the agency model of the future.

Flexible and faster innovation

This is a key requirement for 2019.

With customer demands and needs shifting rapidly, brands and agencies will need to step up faster than ever before when it comes to keeping pace with innovation. However this is not about an outcome-based focus on things that gives importance to speed and fast results but rather a focus on fostering and nurturing ideas, cultures, teams, relationships and an increase in awareness of the impact products, services etc have on societies and the world at large.

Brands need to get responsive rather than reactive and this means foreseeing what is coming. It’s not about sitting on the fence anymore which is always riskier in the long-term but being proactive and paying it forward to benefit everyone in the cycle. Taking into account the needs of customers and people first is true innovation. Being Digital savvy and seamlessly integrating across the board is part of this. In this brave new world it is not about failures but about lessons learnt along the way. Brands are now learning to say ‘why not’ instead of ‘why’!

Future of work

The number of marketeers who consider flexible working very important has risen from 47.2% at the start of 2018 to 53.3% in the latest survey. Furthermore, Marketing Week’s exclusive research reveals that adoption of flexible working among marketers is also on the rise, up from 34.2% to 37.7%. (

WeWork in the UK has paved the way, as a forerunner, in changing the way people work and such flexible working initiatives are all set to further evolve in the marketplace culture in 2019. With a major shift in employee expectations, marketers and brands are now advocating unlimited holidays, flexible hours, 4-day work week, and an ethos that shows appreciation for its people.  Breaking down barriers around how work has to be, how employees have to be, is moving faster and it’s about deepening trust for teams to be more productive, healthy and thus bringing in more dedication to their work.

It is time to put Brexit plans into action

29 March 2019 is set as the date when Brexit will actually happen.  Most of us are sitting back and taking a ‘wait and see’ approach but we might need to take a front foot approach.

It is time to take things up a notch, make plans and implement them now, or else risk being swallowed by whatever sequence of events that will come about. Digital agencies here have a tremendous responsibility in bringing that level of trust that makes brands and marketers say ‘right, let’s do this. Let’s invest in something that reaches a global audience no matter where we are located.’ It’s also about delivering on promises made to customers no matter where they are. As ironic as it may sound it is not about borders or geographical locations but about being prepared to talk a global view and establish a wider footprint based on old school values of doing business: trust, transparency with transformation as the overall goal.

We at Elixir wish all of you a great abundant 2019 and a deeper awareness of our responsibilities in our communities and societies.

New cycle, new projects and challenges & new inspirations,  Bring on 2019!

Are you going to lead this change? Are you a leader or a management consultant or a company that would like to know more on how to bring about a model that is capable of bringing this future to the present. If so get in touch with us. Our brand founder and author of this blog Chetan Jha is leading not just change but also innovation across the board through best practises that echo compassion understanding and reflection. To know more, email us: [email protected]

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