Advertising

Ray Sheerin, managing director of Chemistry

In 2018, creativity will finally be recognised as the killer weapon it can be when well deployed – for business, not just communications. In a business world overrun with left-brain thinkers thinking their homogenous thoughts, lateral and creative thinking will assume its rightful place in the boardroom. (I must disclose that this prediction is one I’ve been making every year, so I offer no guarantees that it will actually come to pass . . . but I live in hope.)

On more solid ground, ‘digital’ will continue its upward trajectory – but it will evolve at an accelerating pace. As consumers grow ever-wiser to the use of data and GDPR flexes its muscles, organic search will reassert itself. Voice search will take off, good news for those of us whose thumbs are just about opposable though not particularly dexterous. Which is sort of relevant: the word dexterous comes from the Latin ‘dexter’, meaning right, as in right side. Its opposite is ‘sinister’. In most languages, words for left are pejorative (eg French ‘gauche’, German ‘links / linkisch’ and Irish ‘ciotóg’, all of which also mean awkward or clumsy). So, how come left-brain is more prized in business than right-brain thinking?

Omni-channel is something we’ll be hearing much more about. Every new medium ever has falsely predicted the imminent, rapid demise of its predecessors. But all that happens is that each new medium changes the overall communications ecosystem in some way and all media, newcomer included, evolve. For example, like Mark Twain’s, reports of TV’s death was an exaggeration: our agency is not alone in seeing TV actually becoming more effective as a communications medium.

The ecosystem is now way too complex for any single medium solution to work and the future will be all about using clever combinations of media, each playing to its own strengths, and all together contributing more than the sum of their parts.

My final prediction is that interruption-based communications will die a death. When the consumer is in control of the medium, zero tolerance of interruptions will follow. I regard this as very good news. Legendary British adman Dave Trott estimates that a shocking 89 per cent of all communications in Britain are neither noticed nor remembered. Consumer engagement, adding value to the experience of the medium the consumer happens to be using, not just interrupting it, is no longer a nice add-on to communications: it is now the entire point of communications. Which calls for some seriously good, right-brain, creative thinking.