From the revolution of Super Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to the politically-charged global landscape, 2018 remains a blind spot for most CMOs.

So how do you continue to orchestrate innovation, feed content-hungry customers and cut through the competition?

Experts from the largest global agencies tell us what you should look for and how to navigate your way through the year.

Charlie Rudd – Chief Executive Officer of Advertising and Marketing agency Ogilvy & Mather London

“2018 will be the year of the “techlash”. Business and politics will become ever more entangled. Politicians will increase their focus and attention on the tech giants, legislation will be proposed and they will be further scrutinised for tax avoidance and suppressing competition.  In turn, they’ll work harder to restore their tarnished brand reputations.  The new privacy law GDPR will also move power over personal data, from the tech giants to individuals. The impact of this law across swathes of business sectors will be huge and far-reaching.”

Vicky Bullen, CEO of brand design agency, Coley Porter Bell

“Driving Business Growth in the context of Brexit might seem harder than ever – we, like many other businesses I suspect, will be hedging our bets – praying for a soft Brexit but taking advantage of the weak pound to drive growth internationally.  Digital Transformation will also drive growth – as businesses understand the value of their data, find new routes to market, innovate through technology, use it to become more efficient, targeted and relevant, they will grow.”

Christian Purser, CEO, London, at global brand consultancy,  Interbrand

“Obsessive curiosity about customers will fuel improvements and innovations in products and services that ensure brands are always improving, always competitive and always growing. Customer-centricity is a hot topic in boardrooms, as businesses look for ways to bring the voice of the customer into the business to inspire change and growth.”

Giles Hedger, CEO, M&C Saatchi

“There were only ever two market strategies. Do something nobody else can do; or do what others do, but better. The ‘doing it better’ strategy is about beating the bell curve in everything you do. Bell curve returns require the courage and flair more readily associated with new-to-world businesses and their entrepreneurs. Mature businesses need to reclaim these values, because, as they approach 2018, and contemplate success in a low growth environment, most CMOs – deprived of growth curve opportunities outside their system – will have to return to the competitive and comparative gains within it.”

Jane Asscher, CEO and Founding Partner, 23red

“In 2018, there will be a shift from individual empowerment to collective strength. This is a very human mindset that stands for sharing, learning and pooling resources together, and will be driven by consumers’ need to reassess their purpose and attain a sense of fulfilment and greater happiness. Brands and business will, therefore, continue to look at their purpose and the role they play in this societal shift.”

Jem Fawcus, Group CEO, Firefish

“Technology was going to make the world a better place and social media was meant to allow us to understand each other better, but all we seem to do is shout at each other and worse.  Up until now, this has been seen as collateral damage worth taking for the genuine benefits tech brings.  But it is reaching critical mass, and I expect there to be a tipping point amongst government regulators and actual users unless companies can find ways to help us be nicer to each other, stop the Russians hijacking our feeds, and tell us what they are actually doing with our data.  There are big advantages here for those who get it right.”

Patrick Reid, Group CEO, Imagination

“Future brand experiences will enable consumers to choose unplugged ‘real life’ places where augmented content appears in a physical space. With such a variety of experiences, limitless in terms of what you can see and hear, human emotions and senses will become even more important as a differentiator. 2018 and beyond will be about blending experiences and technology in a more sensory way, to create greater excitement and emotion.  Expect more haptic technology, wearable biometrics, and VR food and drink pop-ups at brand experiences.”

Tom Roberts, CEO of Digital Agency, Tribal Worldwide London

“Machine learning will have a positive impact on business’s bottom line – and 2018 will see the impact of machine learning. We will also see AI growing beyond chatbots, and automation will drive effectiveness, cut costs and provide better customer services. We are already seeing the positive use of Alberto within retail to aid shoppers find clothing and purchase. In 2018 we will see companies invest and discover the power of machine learning.”

Tobias Matthews

Tobias Matthews


Writer at Fourth Source.