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Op-Ed: BFG’s Scott Seymour Talks Brands Embracing ‘Quirky’ in 2014

seymourbfgAs 2014 winds down (and time flies even faster), we figured we’d break the monotony a bit by picking the brains of various agency folks and gathering their thoughts on the year that was and/or what to expect from the industry come 2014.

First up to bat is Scott Seymour, VP/chief creative officer at Hilton Head, SC-based creative agency, BFG Communications (no relation to BFG9000, obviously), which has worked with brands like Buffalo Wild Wings as well as on entertainment efforts for Fox and Warner Bros. Here, the 20+-year ad vet tells us what to expect from brands next year in four shorts parts. FYI, we’ll have more input from industry folks as the weeks progress and will scatter them throughout what’s left of 2013. Anyways, take it away, Scott.

 

1)            Shift to Understated

This one’s simple. Simple — meaning that brands will begin to fully understand that simplicity is a consumer desire both emotionally and aesthetically. Brands will shift from overt branding to subtler, more understated styles. And, as early-adopting brands gain traction, this trend will gain momentum. Other brands will see the benefits through a cleaner approach. This will eventually move to branding across all mediums as brands forgo “screaming” their names, logos and messages in exchange for sophistication. It will be about a quiet exchange of the megaphones in favor of more intrigue, more discovery, resulting in deeper consumer connections.

2)            Embracing Quirky

It is said that beauty can best be found in the imperfections. This coming year, brands will stop saying it and start doing it. This doesn’t mean we won’t see beautiful or “real” work. (Real has already happened.) What this does mean is that the age of transparency will finally catch up with marketing — forcing a divergence from the cookie-cutter, safe route. Brands will step away from canned, stock photos and lofty, aspirational images. Instead, they’ll focus on uncovering stories, shedding light on character and celebrating quirkiness — the stuff with real substance. The real breakthrough marketing.

3)            People Before Brands

Consumers choose brands for a variety of reasons. In 2014, I believe the human connection will prove to be more powerful than ever because of a drive to connect with brands on a deeper level. This level goes beyond a humanized approach of a face with an email or a hand-written thank-you note. Successful brands will showcase their core values and beliefs and consumers who relate will flock. And remain loyal.  It may seem unbelievable to some, but brand and product will take a backseat to stories about innovation, motivation and design. Resonating with consumers will gain a significant level of importance and meaning.

4)          Juxtaposed Collaborations

Next year, you’re probably going to hear that consumers don’t read, write, look, watch or listen. But, somehow, you’re still reading… The truth is that most of us don’t really believe this. In fact, today’s consumer is more informed and more discerning than ever. This is why brands — whether they want to or not — will be pulled onto the fast track. The fast track to relevancy. In order for brands to stay relevant, it will be necessary for them to step out of bounds to reach new demographics and demonstrate — for an ever-demanding consumer with lots of choices — that it can relate to him or her. I’m really excited about this. Here’s why: This is beyond strategic partnerships and synergies.

In fact, it’s more about creating unpredictable unions that help both parties stay in their own game and try a hand at a new table…Imagine a rapper and a home appliance brand, a food cart vendor and an insurance company or punk rock band and a classic jewelry brand. You get the drift. It’s not for shock value but a way to bolt on to, into or aside niches and genres that are unbeknownst to a standard A-frame target demo.

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