Be bold. Be unique. Be limitless. Be human.
Trend lists abound this time of year, showcasing not only what worked in 2015, but what made the biggest headlines, the biggest blunders and what could be the next marketing must-haves  in the New Year.

We’ve compiled our own trend list and we’ll get to that shortly, but one thing to consider is that many other marketers are going to be reading and acting on these and other forecasted trends. This is an opportunity to embrace the same trends other marketers will want to capitalize on  while still standing out.

Whatever you pursue within these trends or otherwise, we suggest you add a mantra to your marketing mix. Be bold. Be unique. Be limitless. Be human.

Be bold.
Marketing should never be passive, timid or just going with the flow. No matter if we’re talking about a visual identity or integrated marketing plan, be bold in your decisions and actions.

Be unique.
Nonconformity is a virtue for marketers wanting to stand out from the crowd. Corporate boards, committees and maybe even your own conscience may take creative to a conservative place, but there is always an opportunity to be unique in a way that elevates engagement.     

Be limitless.
Shift thinking from limited budgets and lack of time to ideas and actions that, regardless of dollars committed or hours invested, will advance your marketing goals.

Be human.
While every component of marketing and communication is inclusive of some type of technology, don’t let that technology blur the significance of being human. Hand-lettered typography, minimal retouching on photography and a person’s voice at the other end of a customer service call are just a few examples of embracing organic, emotive and human touches.

With this marketing mantra in mind, here’s our roundup of trends for 2016.

  1. Activating Micro-Moments in Mobile: Google is now defining micro-moments within larger moments throughout our customer journey. This fleeting time can be pivotal during purchase decisions, and mobile devices play a crucial role. Google suggests considering four key moment types that represent a full range of user needs: I want to know moments; I want to go moments; I want to do moments; I want to buy moments. Find out more about micro-moments here.
     
  2. Video Everywhere: eMarketer predicts investment in digital video ads will top TV ads in 2017. This means marketers need to consider digital ads, and how video will play a role, as well as the roles video will play in campaigns. Video as content can be edited and repurposed from a paid digital ad to a social post, to content on a website and a traditional TV spot. Contently shares other futurisms here.
     
  3. Design for Employees: Fjord, the in-house design team for Accenture, reported that investing in the employee experience was the fastest growing category of work for its firm across many industries. We understand that customers and their commitments are vital to your success, but employees are just as significant. Communication tools are playing a larger role in fostering collaboration, accountability and connectivity. Here at Designsensory, we’re hoping to improve our internal process and client engagement through Mavenlink, a new collaboration platform, and we’ll have more to come on that later. Learn a bit more about this and other trends from Fjord here.
     
  4. Add Layers of Realities: Both virtual reality, which is an immersive reality experienced through a headset, and augmented reality, which provides an added layer of information, visuals or other information, are becoming more mainstream and incorporated into branding. Some agencies even have in-house labs set up to test equipment and campaign components. Here’s more on this trend and others in a recent Forbes article.
     
  5. Listen to the Value of Podcasts: Podcasts are huge—and because this platform is still relatively new—brands have opportunities to take the lead in sponsoring content through traditional advertising within podcasts or in creating owned content of whole shows or segments. Here’s more on podcasting from the NiemanLab.
     
  6. Be Quiet . . . Sometimes: Getty Images shared that this quiet trend focuses on making space for consumers to breathe and reconnect in a cluttered marketplace, engaging our emotions and spirit with visual haikus. Here’s a commercial from Kit Kat that puts the spotlight on absolutely nothing. Check out more Getty predictions here.