Content 2012 Session 1 - Anticipate: The future of content. Melanie Howard of The Future Foundation on the key trends that will shape the near future

The second speaker of the day was Melanie Howard, Executive Chair of The Future Foundation . She told those present that she wouldn't be telling the audience what the future of content marketing is, as no one can actually say what the future will hold. Instead she would look at ideas around the future.

She said that agencies need to think about the future and what their role could be in constructing it. It shouldn´t be purely about anticipating the future but about driving it too.

She then talked about three different future trends, long term, mid term and short term, but suggested that agencies often tended to think too short term in focussing on trends and emerging media platforms. We have an overwhelming need to have an idea of what is hot and on trend and sometimes this means we ignore longer term, more substantive trends.

One key bit of advice Melanie gave to agencies was to look five years into the future and see where individuals are moving and tailor products to meet their needs.

To highlight this she showed a series of examples of scenarios she has worked on. This included a visionary scenario where people had what she termed 'a seven day weekend' and only came to work when they were inspired 

She also referred to work on the future of marketing she undertook for the IPA in 2006. The two key trends she predicted was the growth of network marketing, which the ad agencies have focused on and secondly the development of content advertising and creating stories for brands. Melanie added that ad agencies were slow to get their heads round this latter point and that it has created a very real opportunity for existing content marketing agencies.

Melanie concluded her presentation by sharing several key trends that she sees are already emerging.

Firstly Magic nostalgic -  the ability to create an emotional connection that is linked to the past. This especially potent in time of austerity and even more powerful if it can deliver traditional values in a modern way.

Secondly the end of adventure. Our lives are so organised now. For example each time we book a hotel we already know a lot about where we are staying via the web. Now we have a desire for something a bit riskier and spontaneous.

Thirdly gamification, an ongoing trend which will continue to permeate industries from gaming through to supermarket shopping.

Melanie concluded her roundup by talking about a concept she called murdered by modernity in which people crave space away from connected devices like phones, tablets etc. Apparently 50% of us never switch our phones and will respond to work emails when out of work hours. 

Posted in CMA news
28thNov 2012

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