4 Key Trends for 2022

Published on January 5, 2022

The decorations have been put away, the gym memberships have been renewed and we’re busy jotting down plans and goals for the year ahead. After two years of uncertainty and disruption, many things have had to change, and more will continue to do so. But with change comes opportunity. We asked some of our industry experts to share their thoughts on what 2022 has in store for social, media, retail and talent.

A New Model for Social Engagement

Joe Cronin, Head of Social

The shared pandemic experience has been a once-in-a-generation event. As physical connections were replaced with virtual encounters, new behavioural themes have emerged that are fuelling significant changes in social media interactions. Brands need to be aware of this and act accordingly if they are to retain their audience’s trust and build loyalty.

Companies need focus if they are to better understand what people are now looking for when it comes to social engagement with the brands that matter to them. From connection to simplicity, from community to trust – brands that demonstrate real purpose, empathy and understanding in order to drive their social engagement activity will be the long-term winners.

Extended TV reach and improved measurement

Kevin Murphy, Managing Director

Media consumption habits will continue to be disrupted as the pandemic peaks and troughs. Amidst such instability, I continue to find the diversification, but remaining central importance of TV in our lives fascinating. We can debate Meta another time!

ITV have talked about their best financial year ever, but linear impacts have continued to decline after the boom in live viewing during the first lockdown back in March ‘20. But video viewing is rising as a whole, it is just being consumed in different ways. For example, Connected TV (CTV) now has 80% penetration and is rising. Like BVOD, CTV offers a great way to extend the reach of linear TV, especially for lighter TV viewers, as well as incredible levels of audience targeting. Innovations such as Sky Glass and other tech advancements will continue to provide more ad opportunities.

I’m also excited to see the further application of data and personalisation to the medium, the advancement of cross-platform and, indeed, cross-channel measurement so TV gets true credit for its ROI. TV in all its forms remains accessible for clients of all budgets and audiences, so bring on the 2022 version of TV in all its glory.

Investment in talent

Rob Mustoe, Managing Director

This time last year, there was a talk of 2021 being ‘aftermath’. People were asking what life would look like “once the pandemic has passed?” Fast forward 12 months. As we hurtle into the New Year 2022 with the UK Government increasing restrictions and more variants being added to the Covid Glossary… as the eternal optimist, I find myself asking if the coming year will be more “pandemic-plus” than “post-pandemic”? Because we’re certainly not past it, and I’d contend that we’re not even ‘learning to live with it’. In fact, I think we’re building right on top of it. After all, we are in the business of creativity.

So let’s start with the most important thing that 2022 inevitably has in store: investment in talent. Ironically with travel restrictions limiting the geographic radius of the talent in the pool, technology and employer flexibility has worked symbiotically to make those geographies obsolete. Now the job market is saturated with opportunity that was simply never there before. And as people re-evaluate their lives, many have moved on, moved on up, or moved on into a new industry altogether. Enter: The Great Resignation.

Our antidote to this sub-brand of Covid-19? Innovation in ways of working and employer offering: Core hours, international travel opportunities, remote and hybrid working, internship accelerator programs and a healthy focus on nurturing and engaging the next generation of talent. Plus employee benefits galore. Employer brands are having to be more competitive in order to thrive. And long may that continue, because the great thing about “plus”, is that it’s, well, additive. So next year we’ll see even more from employers as they battle to engage undiscovered talent. I think we’ll see greater flexibility, benefits that go beyond individuals, and maybe new types of role specification that cater better for talent working across borders.

But let me just jump back to this idea of the re-evaluation of the things that matter. Because the paradigm shift in what people value most applies to brands as much as it does to the talent market. You see the shift almost universally. Maybe the huge investment in outdoor-light-displays many of my neighbours made this festive season was indicative of people prioritising time spent at home or with family. Or maybe Cyber Monday just had good deals this year. But some things are for sure. Brands will triumph with purpose plus sentiment. And ultimately, more than ever before, people will buy brands that give meaning to their lives.

So, 2022 is about ‘plus’. Plus to brands with purpose. Plus to brand platforms that have human truth at their core. And plus to people, teams and employers who are genuinely willing to innovate. People want more. They want plus. So come on brand owners, let’s get out there and give ‘em what they want.

An opportunity for retail

Joe Stevens, Strategy Director

The continued erosion of the power of the cookie will create new opportunities for savvy retailers (or should we call them data owners? or media owners? Or platforms?!) to generate new revenue by offering insight-hungry businesses access to their first party data. Amazon has proven beyond doubt that there’s cash to be made (raking in $8bn p/q from Amazon Advertising), but 2022 will be the year we start to see homegrown businesses catch on and launch fully fledged retail media businesses.

Tesco has already started the big sell-in, pointing to the 20m households who have a Clubcard and the 65M monthly store visitors who hear Tesco radio and gaze at in-store displays. In 2022, we should expect more businesses with established loyalty offerings to do the same. And for marketers wondering how to capture purchase intent in the era of GDPR, it should prove an opportunity too good to miss.