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In a fluctuating economic world, it is essential for brands to adapt.

For 2012, businesses must become agile and adopt innovative strategies that engage with today’s increasingly ‘switched-on’ consumer. Here's how.

1. Advertising-as-a-service

Traditional advertising must evolve. Recent research from Havas Media revealed that consumers are no longer enamored with the advertising they see, and feel that “just one in five brands has a notable positive impact on their quality of life.” The truth is, consumers are no longer interested in traditional advertising being ‘pushed’ at them and are increasingly switching-on to communication channels that provide a service. Whether it’s a brand's CSR strategy, product innovation or instructional demo - brand stories are never told via traditional TV ads. Increasingly brands are turning to online channels, away from ad slots on broadcasting channels, to build a trusted, relevant service and engagement with their audience across multiple devices.

2. Connected devices

One of the most significant developments for 2012 is without a doubt the emergence of connected TVs and even more significantly, how consumers will interact via second screens. According to Nielsen's 2011 mobile connected devices report, 70% of tablet users and 68% of smartphone users use their device while watching TV, usually in a social sense and more often than not this social activity isn’t tied to the programme they’re watching. This is the untapped marketplace that savvy advertisers and brands in 2012 should create compelling content for. The ‘sweet spot’ for advertisers in the second screen marketplace, is participation TV around live entertainment formats. Reality TV has always driven interaction via social media and SMS, but programmes like The Million Pound Drop have taken it to new heights. Connected TVs will only push this further creating seamless and real-time participation with content, and the gamification of advertising formats.

3. Mobile

Over the past year, mobile devices have led both technological and marketing innovation. Google states that 79% of smartphone owners use their mobiles to aid in shopping and 74% make a purchase as a result. Smartphones have revolutionised how we interact with content on-the-go and in 2012 the mobile device will continue to play a significant role. In particular, mobile devices could reinvent the remote control for connected TVs.

4. Multichannel Engagement

We’re now entering an era where almost any device or surface can have an internet connection, and as such, video can be displayed almost anywhere. So prevalent has video become as the preeminent communication tool of our age that Cisco's Visual Networking Index shows that by 2015, 1m minutes of video will cross the internet every second. Already brands are moving toward this kind of engagement, this is only just the beginning for multichannel marketing in 2012. The realisation will be that it is not simply about the media and screens that advertising is displayed on. It will be about customers’ lives and the devices they surround themselves with to make life that little bit easier.

5. The Amazon Effect

While it’s not a trend per se, I wanted to highlight the growth of the dominant media force that is Amazon. Its platform is now utilised by many brands to boost their own e-commerce and the upcoming Kindle Fire is being heralded as the first serious threat to Apple’s all-conquering iPad. Effectively communicating with ‘switched-on’ consumers isn’t a stretch for Amazon and it’s already proven its agile organisational structure works. Amazon constantly evolves its business model to adapt to the marketplace and brands that look beyond their original heritage will offer customers unique and bespoke services. What Amazon has achieved, should offer inspiration to brands in 2012.

Chris Gorell Barnes

Published 15 December, 2011 by Chris Gorell Barnes

Chris Gorell Barnes is CEO of Adjust Your Set and a contributor to Econsultancy. You can also follow him on Twitter

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