Jon Baldwin Quintanilla, WFA’s Junior Policy and Communications Manager, shares key take-outs from the recent WFA webinar with The Economist’s Deputy Editor, Tom Standage.
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After the uncertainty of 2020 and 2021, the Economist’s look ahead was the perfect opportunity to highlight that constant change is one of our very few certainties. On October 7, WFA members had the opportunity to listen to The Economist’s Deputy Editor, Tom Standage, give his predictions for the year ahead.
Here are some top take outs:
Economic uncertainty is certain
To battle the economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis, different governments developed stimulus packages to support household incomes and limit the amount of companies went out of business. The concern now, according to Tom Standage, is what will happen to the economic capacity of consumers when these measures stop. “Inflation rates are going up, and the prediction for next year is the most uncertain we’ve had in decades,” warned Standage. Some central banks have already started raising rates and it seems likely that more, including the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, will follow suit. This scenarion of economic uncertainty and growing inflation rates is likely to impact consumers and companies worldwide.
The future of work
Covid has changed how, and where, people work. For many of us, home office became the main office, even in those places where it is no longer mandatory. Next year will define the new relationship between employers and employees. However, the reduction in time spent in the office may have different impact on different demographic groups, according to The Economist’s Deputy Editor. This could deepen, he says, the gender or ethnic minority pay gaps across businesses, including those already revealed by the WFA’s global Census of the marketing industry.
Digital platforms under scrutiny
After decades of romance with new technologies, it feels like social media platforms are increasingly under scrutiny. Standage and his team at The Economist believe that this techlash is bound to crystallise in the form of legislation in different places around the world in the near future. And as a matter of fact, in Europe, a group of MEPs recently urged the CEOs from 100 of "Europe's largest advertisers" to stop using targeted advertising based on personal data. Pressure to regulate marketing in the digital space is growing, and developments - including the European Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA) - should be expected in 2022.
Climate change is a growing concern
The climate crisis is a growing concern for consumers. According to Tom Standage, citizens increasingly perceive climate change as an urgent issue that politicians are not addressing. I believe that advertisers will have the opportunity to establish themselves as leading figures in the fight against climate change. In 2022, WFA will continue making developments in its Planet Pledge initiative, a CMO-led framework designed to galvanise action from marketers within our membership to promote and reinforce attitudes and behaviours which will help the world meet the challenges laid out in the UN SDGs.
Sport is back
The Olympics in Tokyo reminded us of the healing power of sport.
This summer, the world had the opportunity to connect after the sporting drought led by COVID-19. Large sport events are back with the Football World Cup hosted in Qatar and the Winter Olympic Games hosted in China expected to happen later next year. These events will offer advertisers an incredible opportunity to reconnect with consumers and worldwide audiences.