Fallon Planners (and co-conspirators) were asked to share their single most impacting trend of 2006. What most impacted how you perform your daily tasks as a planner?
And a few brave ones even looked into their Magic 8-Ball to predict the most impacting trend of 2007.
SETH GAFFNEY, Account Planner, Fallon
Brands are people with MySpace pages, friends, blogs, and most importantly "real" voices. They are run by people, their consumers are people (not consumers), and thus they are human. We can celebrate their failure (see BusinessWeek feature), talk to them, call them out, and help co-create them.
El Gaffney sees in 2007... EXECUTIONAL PLANNERS. "YouTube that shiznit!" isn't good enough. Brands that embrace complexity and do things look to creating multiple stories (even around their own communications - I've noticed a huge increase in "Making Of/Behind The Scenes" videos for our own campaigns) need a better plan of how to implement. "We'll put the Behind the Scenes on our website" isn't good enough. Moving this way is scary and means there's more to do. Clients will pull a Tim Gunn/Rod Tidwell combo - Make it work and show me the money. It will be up to us to provide the insights, roadmaps, and metrics for optimizing each piece.
ADRIAN HO, Director of Account Planning, Fallon
Cut and paste, mashup and remix of social and cultural concepts. Starting with my BlackBerry which really allowed for the dissolution of the work life barrier and ending with Audi. These themes featured heavily in my client strategies and the context that I applied to my brands.
Adrian sees in 2007... POST-MODERNIST BRANDS. More brands will begin understand that they need to break themselves apart and allow for their customers to pick and choose and remix the parts of the brand that they want instead of having to swallow the story whole.
SARAH SALINE, Assistant Account Planner, Fallon
MAINSTREAMING OF PODCASTING
Not just for techies. Increasing numbers of corporations, people and organizations post podcasts are fueling a diversity of knowledge. It's finally becoming more than a cool new technology that is absorbed and thrown away. In 2006, I started to develop a library of sorts. I like them better than traditional news articles because there is no paper clutter (a serious problem for me) and they can be arranged into categories on my playlist. Reviewing podcasts is now becoming a reliable search tool for me.
RITCHIE EMSLIE, Planning Director, Fallon
I REALLY WASN'T PAYING ATTENTION
However, Ritchie sees in 2007... Obsession with celebrity, religion and ethics, gender and age roles, individualism, the meaning of balance, luxury, digitalization, the environment. This explains our love or hate or love-hate for: Paris Hilton, Richard Dawkins, Bratz dolls, George W. Bush, Blackberries, prefab housing, iTv, Al Gore.
ADAM CHORNEY, Connection Planner, Fallon
RISE OF THE IDEA / FALL OF THE AD
Ads came second to ideas. People are finally starting to realize that making the ads is the easy part. Along with this, connection planning and account planning are becoming largely indistinguishable. Kind of like having an art director and a copywriter on a creative team - one's good at drawing, the other's good at writing, but they're both responsible for the idea.
Adam sees in 2007...WHO THE F*#K KNOWS!? That's what so awesome about our world right now (if you're the type who isn't scared shitless by it all). We're gonna have to stay flexible so we're ready when the next big thing changes everything all over again.
AKI SPICER, Planning Director, Fallon
Harnessing the power of a departmental hive mind has been my own preoccupation thru 2006. Blogs became a liberating tool that interlinks creatives, AEs, even clients into the same feed of planning thoughts, trends, videos, statistics. It has become an extension of the face-to-face meeting, a virtual roundtable. It has fueled my own ability to 'think out loud' and it's made information distribution faster than developing a full powerpoint deck. And it has forced a drive towards personal action in a job that can get very bogged down in esoterics and abstract theory ("stop overthinking it and do something, post a blog entry").
Aki sees in 2007... PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THE HIVE MIND. I expect increased collaboration in multiple dimensions - driven by wikiality, video, audio, etc as technology continues to get cheap and accessible. Assimilation into this Hive Mindedness will fuel departmental thought-efficiencies and wring value from our diverse experiences and individual voices. It all speeds up, we get past this awkward 'gee-whiz' phase, and we soon get on with saying something truly important.
AVIN NARASIMHAN, Account Executive, Fallon
SOCIAL MEDIA AS A REVENUE STREAM
As the Internet speeds toward interaction, community, and social interaction, social networks reveal huge ad revenue from big biz. MySpace, Facebook have both inked deals with big advertisers. The latter even uses its specific features (news feed, student groups, etc) to allow advertisers to offer targeted messaging to students based on the pages they look at, groups they're in, interests they have, etc. Facebook also was in talks with Microsoft this year. I saw my traditional client begin to recognize the power of social media-- getting buzz generated in the world of social media can be key in integrating ad campaigns into pop culture, and many businesses have started using mediums like YouTube and MySpace as campaign launchers.
Avin sees in 2007... BUSINESSES WILL HARNESS THE POWER OF VIRTUAL WORLDS. Like kids in grade school, businesses are falling in line with their peers and jumping on the virtual world bandwagon, many times with good ideas but not necessarily clear evidence of how it will impact the bottom line. Through hits and misses in the competitive radar, businesses will start to learn how to harness the power of communities like Second Life, and start accomplishing their goals of A) upping their brand cool/buzz factor; and B) creating bottom-line impact that justifies the expenditure of entering and "living" in these virtual worlds. 2006 saw a patently tradional bank get down with Second Life-- pending results (ie brand buzz, recall and recognition, awareness) I'll be interested to see the reaction of others both in the financial world and outside.
PAUL SANDERS, Interactive Producer, Fallon
The critical mass that social networks achieved impacted us web people most. I'd also say that we've learned (or relearned) that connectivity without purpose is only novelty.
This sets up my pick for 2007...I foresee MORE PURPOSE BASED INTERACTIONS that extend connection to collaboration at the brand level. The consumer-generated Super Bowl spot is just the beginning. Collaborative networks will unleash new brand dynamics. We've only scratched the surface of the possibilities on this front.
KATIE COOK, Account Planner, Fallon
This year many companies jumped on the “going green” bandwagon, providing consumers environmentally friendly alternatives such as energy efficient cars (SUVs) and bamboo flooring. My parent’s recently had a deck built out of recycled egg cartons!!! Companies aren’t just providing products, they are also practicing “going green.” Wal-Mart recently opened an experimental store in Texas to study environmental efforts such as heating stores with used cooking and motor oil., while Cargill used meat scraps to make methane and replace high-cost natural gas.
Katie sees in 2007... To Adam's comment, WHO THE F*#K KNOWS!?
MURRAY HARDIE, Group Planning Director, Fallon
Atheists go mainstream and start sticking up for themselves at last - perhaps there's hope for mankind afterall.
Deborah Zavitka, Senior Planning Coordinator, Fallon
Belief in the world of possibilities and the power of thought. Lives built by the stories one chooses to create rather than by the addictions that keep one frozen and enslaved; for example, fear.
Deborah sees in 2007... LOVE AND GRATITUDE WATER for drinking, and COLORPUNCTURE therapy for all.
Beyond 2007... Walk through time rather than walk on the moon.
ALYSON HELLER, Assistant Account Planner, Fallon
def. Places or environments created for a brand that are so compelling that those who experience them want to share the experience with others. Usually located online, but may also be found in the real world. E.g., Joga Bonito, advertising in Times Square.
Social media went mainstream and content was king, prompting us to explore new ways to engage and entice consumers. We sought to create places - enviralments - that would contribute to social media offerings and be passed along like the viral videos/sites of yore. Unlike viral, enviralments invite longer-term interaction (create a profile or post to Flickr vs. simply watching a funny video). Enviralments at their best fit under Adrian's "surprise and delight" theory of brands.
Alyson sees in 2007... MANTRAPRENEURISM. def. The movement for companies to have a sense of purpose beyond profits. The act of incorporating social responsibility into the business model, wherein the interests of both corporate shareholders and community stakeholders are jointly considered before taking action. Famous mantrapreneurial organizations: Patagonia, (RED), and Whole Foods.
As people react against corporate control, companies will need to shift their roles in communities. Sure, profit will be a primary motivator but we are looking to connect with and later support others who are doing good in the world. Sustainability concerns - environmental, social, economic - will have to be fully integrated; piecemeal charity efforts will no longer be enough. We want to feel like we're giving back, even when we're just getting our daily caffeine fix.