What's Next: The Ogilvy Consulting Trends for 2019
– T R E N D S F O R 2 0 1 9 –
Hello and welcome to the Ogilvy Consulting
Trends for 2019.
Five years ago, when Marshall Manson and James
Whatley started this annual report, they based it on
three principals: First, that they write something they
enjoyed reading themselves. Second, that each
forecast had to have an actionable takeaway. And third,
that the following year’s report must begin with a
reckoning of the previous year’s predictions.
As of this 2019 report, Ogilvy Consulting is picking up
the baton and we look forward to doing justice to
Marshall’s and James’s legacy.
On to the trends!
Did we actually
right last year?
Augmented Reality Gets Real
After years in the digital wilderness, 2018 might be the year
AR finally takes off.
We saw everything from paid AR designers becoming a thing
on Fiverr, new AR creator apps entering the scene, AR ad
units getting announced by the major platforms, and then
How did we do?
It is undeniable how prolific the push is now for more brands
and tech partners to do be doing MORE in the realm of AR.
However, while adoption has sped up, brands still haven’t
found the best and most valuable applications – and this is a
problem the industry is yet to solve.
#OgilvyTrends2019 / Image source: Zappar Youtube/MashableUK/ VR Focus/Digital Trends
The End of Typing
In 2018, voice and image recognition are on the rise and soon
they will become another interface for all.
Voice grew and grew. Amazon launched Alexa for hotels, Call
of Duty launched a voice-activated gamer coach, and in the
UK, smart speaker ownership doubled in six months. Globally,
Alexa crashed on Christmas Day due to the overload of
people trying to activate their new Amazon Echos.
How did we do?
Later on in this document, we’re making a fairly large bet on
the future of this particular trend. As far as we’re concerned,
we’re right on voice and a little off on image recognition.
The former is racing forward; the latter is taking its sweet
#OgilvyTrends2019 / Image source: Toms Hardware
The Tragedy of the Commons
There are too many brands throwing too much money at
inauthentic partnerships and something will have to give.
A LOT happened. Unilever CMO, Keith Weed, called for
influencer marketing transparency. The Competition and
Markets Authority investigated celebrities for not labelling
sponsored posts. Multiple cases of lack of clarity with #Spon
or #Ad posts were referred to the FTC and ASA. And in once
instance, a rate card for a negative influencer was revealed.
How did we do?
We think we were on the money with this one. The fortunate
thing is that with greater awareness and legislation, comes a
cleaner and clearer marketplace. The ASA has a new guide for
influencers to help make clear that ads are ads – and with it,
an increasing commitment to make influencer marketing a
mature marketing channel for brands to invest in.
The Amazon Awakening
Amazon will be the most important emerging platform for
digital advertising in 2018 – and it will grow and grow and
Amazon’s advertising revenue grew 122% YOY and is now
worth $2.5 billion.
How did we do?
I don’t think we could’ve been any more right on this one.
If you’re not looking at the opportunities that Amazon
Advertising can offer, you’re doing it wrong. A* for us.
The internet is changing and GDPR is bringing those changes
in line with data protection to make a better and more secure
web – you need to be ready.
Facebook told its entire EU user base that it had to re-agree
to new T&Cs (and arguably lost 3 million users in the
process). GDPR came in and we all collectively and
unconsciously unsubscribed to millions of email lists.
How did we do?
We weren’t ever going to get this one wrong, however what
has been interesting is witnessing firsthand the care and
attention that is now going into data handling. Good work,
#OgilvyTrends2019 / Image source: Daily Mail
The high street is dying
There are countless articles heralding the death of the high
street. Even the most trusted commentators are jumping on
the death cry; recently, the BBC listed “Six Reasons Behind
the High Street Crisis,” with the shift to online shopping cited
at No. 2.
The growth of the ‘bricks-to-clicks’ phenomenon has been
accelerated by the rise of the ‘on-demand economy’, with
consumers less willing to wait to get their hands on goods
and more online retailers offering same-day delivery.
But how bad is it, really?
But while digital has undoubtedly had a major impact, the
truth is that around 80% of retail sales still happen in a
physical store in the UK. The UK is actually one of the
world’s most advanced markets when it comes to online
shopping sales. Only China has a greater proportion of retail
sales coming from digital channels, according to our
Non-ecommerce sales will still contribute the largest
proportion to the retail total and will grow by 2.3% in 2019.
Online retail spend will grow 15% in 2019, to account for 21%
of total retail.
#OgilvyTrends2019 / Image source: eMarketer
In October 2017, Jack Ma coined the
phrase “New Retail” to describe the
melding together of real world and digital
shopping experiences. This wasn’t just
blue-sky thinking. Alibaba plans to open
1,000 smart supermarkets in China in the
next five years.
#OgilvyTrends2019 / Image source: The Print
Brick-and-Mortar is evolving
— not dying
Retailers must pair their physical stores with a digital strategy. Pop-up stores are a good
example of merging online and in-store to create an “omni-channel” customer experience.
Omni-Channel NowCross-Channel AspirationMulti-Channel RealitySingle-Channel Legacy
The resurrected store
The physical store has a significant advantage over digital
in many ways, but perhaps the most significant is that it
allows tangible human-brand experiences. Looking ahead,
there will be hugely meaningful technologies and strategies
impacting the physical.
Machine Learning in store
The ‘un-manned’ craze
#OgilvyTrends2019 / Image source: Mr Magazine
The 2019 Story
The story so far is a warning on strategies that rely
solely on online vs. offline. ASOS, a valuable retailer
that bet its strategy exclusively on digital, saw its
stock fall by 43% in 2018, wiping more than £1.4 billion
off the market value. The news was followed by other
online retailers like Boohoo and Zalando also losing
significant market value.
Stephen Lienert, a credit analyst at Jefferies
summarised it well; “It was supposed to be bricks and
mortar that’s dying and online is the future, but that
headline gets ripped up today.”
Notably, they all failed to pivot toward an omni-
channel reality. Their potential customers are
channel-agnostic; they should adopt the same
mentality. For retailers to succeed, physical locations
remain important, but blending online and offline
experiences will become vital.
#OgilvyTrends2019 / Image source: Daisuke Harashima
2019 TREND 2:
THE RISE OF
THE SUPER CMO
The CMO has been
in the press a lot recently
As the complexity of the marketing function rapidly
increases, many CMOs are becoming nervous about the
future — not only for their organisations, but also for their
However, a rising number of CMOs are attuned to how
marketing is transforming, and are taking the necessary
steps to ensure that they (and their organisations) can
survive and thrive in the age of rampant disruption.
This may be a long-term platform for radical change, or a
shift to doing more transformational things on a smaller
scale. It may be about rethinking the role technology plays,
or shifting culture, or adding new capabilities. Whatever the
nature and whatever the degree, almost all CMOs and their
organisations are in some kind of Marketing Transformation,
and if they’re not, they’re most likely thinking about it.
There is increased expectation
for the CMO to lead transformation
across the business
Under pressure to drive business results — frequently with
reduced budget and resources — CMOs are expected to
evolve their organisations while managing ever more
complex ‘business as usual’ scenarios.
This new accountability frequently leads to unfamiliar
territory. Instead of being held to traditional marketing
metrics alone, CMOs are now expected to be sales drivers,
technology officers and customer experience advocates.
In some organisations, the title CMO has been replaced with
titles like ‘Chief Experience Officer’ or ‘Chief Customer
Officer’. Whatever the title, those responsible for the
marketing function are finding that success increasingly
depends on one of the core principles of Marketing
Transformation: the requirement for the CMO to think and
act beyond the boundaries of the marketing function.
“Our consumers are the ones
driving the need for
transformation across all
They expect seamless, tailored
engagements at every level and
on every channel, not just
Global Consumer Goods Brand
CMOs not on the road to
transformation will face an
The need for enterprise-wide
transformation is irrefutable
For the CMO, influence has often been squeezed within
the organisation as:
• The CIO impacts core marketing decisions such as the
Marketing Technology stack
• The CFO demands more performance accountability
for emerging and disparate digital activities that lack
standardised measurement methodologies
• Lines of business seek innovation and consumer-centric
products and propositions
• The Sales organisation needs direct-to-consumer
models and customer insight
• Service becomes inseparable from marketing with the
adoption of digital and omni-channel experiences
But as these responsibilities have evolved over the last
several years, we see an opportunity emerging for
Marketing transformation includes not only
digital transformation, but also data
enablement, customer centricity and more.
Investing in and creating a roadmap for
internal and consumer-facing technology
to deliver efficiency and effectiveness.
Setting up the internal and external
organisation for the immediate future but also
to ensure long term innovation and health.
In 2019, the successful CMO will become
the transformation agent that has the
brand and the customer at its heart
In the BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands report, the
three most meaningful characteristics of the Top 20 Risers (the
brands that increased most rapidly in value) are:
• Meaningfully Different (relevant and distinctive)
• Disruptive (shaking things up)
• Brand Experience (customer journey)
This points to three areas central to the remit of the CMO: Brand,
Innovation and Customer, and means marketing can become the
glue that connects broader organisational and technological
A successful transformation should consider the core pillars of
marketing operations (people, process, platform, partners), seek
business and stakeholder alignment around a common vision and
strategy, and instil and nurture a culture across the organisation
that celebrates continued, upward change. It must also harness
and maximise the effectiveness of key marketing levers and
capabilities including technology, data, content, media, channels,
production & measurement; ultimately, driving profitable customer
growth and delivering against omni-channel experience ambitions.
2019 TREND 3:
IN B2B, A NEW
How businesses do
business is changing
Let’s get one thing straight — the era of B2Boring is over.
Not because most B2B companies have changed the way
they do B2B (they haven’t — yet), but because there are
forces at play that are changing expectations —
for customers, companies and within broader culture.
The archetypal price and features-driven B2B buyer is
swiftly becoming extinct. Individuals are looking for more
than ‘ticking boxes’ and pleasing the ‘higher ups’.
Instead, a new generation of both workers and companies
have come of age and are changing the way decisions are
made, products and services are marketed, and the role
business are engaging in broader culture and society.
We call this emergent trend the new culture of business.
#OgilvyTrends2019 / Image source: Forbes Magazine Cover January 2017
The trifecta that’s
influencing the trend
1. A new tribe with new power, needs and motivations
73% of millennials are involved in the purchasing decisions of
the companies they work for. They are breaking traditional
moulds and exhibiting a new hierarchy of personal needs in
2. Entrepreneurs becoming the new cultural icons
Innovation, tech and future-oriented entrepreneurs and
executives, like self-taught programmer turned cultural icon
Elon Musk, are creating and driving the firms that are
disrupting products, categories and business itself. Suddenly,
‘business’ is water cooler conversation.
3. Businesses defining new ways to do business
Companies such as WeWork, Salesforce and Airbnb, are
redefining the world of business by questioning traditional
processes, business models, economics and even the values
of the business world. They are transforming the workplace
and attract the best talent by embodying a strong brand
purpose and delivering on values-driven commitments.
#OgilvyTrends2019 / Image source Rolling Stone magazine cover November 2017
A shift from value-driven
Value to the world
Value to me
Value to my business
The Millennial B2B buyer isn’t solely concerned about the
value of any purchase they make for a company — but
increasingly, what that decision means for both
themselves and society.
Personal and societal values are becoming more important
decision-making criteria. So, vendors who help them to
achieve their own personal goals are more highly regarded.
Equally, purpose-driven companies with values and
behaviours aligned with their customers will find
themselves higher up the recommendation list.
For example, the new B2B buyer might choose Salesforce
over an alternative vendor in part because the company
didn’t just make a ’commitment’ to pay equality, but stated
its plan to immediately close the gender pay gap.
The year ahead and how
you can drive this trend
into your business
The businesses that will grow
will be those that embrace a
For business to flourish, people must flourish.
The new generation of talent is looking for more from its
work experience — one that is optimised for meaning and
personal fulfilment, and encourages development and
According to a recent research report, 80% of executives
believe their culture must evolve in the next five years to
succeed, grow, and retain the best people.
In 2019, we expect to see a dramatic increase in new talent
initiatives, and more executives publicly sharing the values
and relevance of the companies they work for.
Businesses will seek to redefine
There are three types of Companies that thrive in the new
culture of business:
— Those born into it (i.e. start-ups)
— Those that have maintained their new start-up culture as
they have scaled (e.g. Airbnb)
— Those that have evolved or are re-shaping to reflect the
best qualities of the companies above (e.g. Salesforce)
We suggest in 2019, as companies seek to achieve the
growth rates of companies like WeWork, Spotify, Salesforce
and others, they will need to redefine their brands along
more progressive lines.
In B2B, the benefit of transforming the brand will be the
ability to attract a demanding new customer, the best talent,
and the right ecosystem of partners to bolster brand
presence in the new culture of business economy.
#OgilvyTrends2019 / Image source: Business Insider
How to drive this new culture
into your business
Behaviours that drive the new culture of business:
• Cultivate brand love through values-based
• Create and engage the right sources of influence,
i.e, communities that share your principles
• Demonstrate values, relevance and differentiation
• Build and promote ecosystems of related
products and services
• Provide business solutions not just products
• Provide demonstrable benefit to not only to your
customers’ businesses, but address your
customers’ own hierarchies of needs
These aren’t activities that come out of a PR
department, or the CSR task force, they are baked
into the DNA of the company, its leaders and its
employees in equal measure.
“The last, best experience that
anyone has anywhere becomes
the minimum expectation for
the experiences they want
Paul Papas, IBM
#OgilvyTrends2019 / Image source: IBM
2019 TREND 4
JUST A TREND
In the past two years we’ve profiled the emergence and
adoption of ‘voice’ as a way for customers to achieve what
they set out to do in their daily lives. We identified bots in
2016 as an emerging trend; and in last year’s report – The
End of Typing – we profiled the explosion of smart speakers
from the likes of Amazon and Google amongst others as
they sought to enter the home.
Looking to 2019 it’s fair to say that we’ve reached critical
mass in terms of the number of devices (phones, speakers,
cars, and now even toilets!) that are voice-enabled with
conversational user interfaces and voice assistants.
#OgilvyTrends2019 / Image source: Canalys
But currently voice assistants
are like Dory from “Finding
Nemo” – one minute after
talking to them they forget
From text to voice and beyond
The increased deployment of AI in users’ everyday lives is
also fuelling this shift. The number of IoT devices such as
smart thermostats and speakers are giving voice assistants
more utility in connected users’ lives. Whilst smart speakers
are the number-one way we are seeing voice being used, it
only starts there. Many industry experts are predicting that
nearly every application will integrate voice technology in
some way in the next 5 years.
#OgilvyTrends2019 / Image source: @timoelliott
“I hope to have grandchildren
who are mystified at how, back in
2016, if you were to say ‘Hi’ to
your microwave oven, it would
rudely sit there and ignore you.”
Stanford professor in AI and robotics, and
former Chief Scientist at Baidu–
#OgilvyTrends2019 / Image source: Towards Data Science
Amazon offers Transcribe, an automatic speech recognition (ASR)
service that enables developers to add speech-to-text capability
to their applications. Once the voice capability is integrated into
the application, users can analyse audio files and in return, receive a
text file of the transcribed speech.
Google has also made moves in making Assistant more ubiquitous
by opening the software development kit through Actions, which
allows developers to build voice into their own products that
support artificial intelligence.
Another one of Google’s speech-recognition products is the AI-
driven Cloud Speech-to-Text tool which enables developers to
convert audio to text through deep learning neural network
More ‘jobs to be done’ being
Availability of voice-enabled devices is resulting in consumers becoming
increasingly more comfortable with – and reliant upon – using voice to
talk to their phones, wearables, vehicles, smart home devices, etc. – we
stick to our prediction. That voice will become a primary interface to the
One of the things to keep an eye on will be the (re-)integration of Voice
and Touch Interaction – CES 2018 showed that voice and displays are
merging into one seamless experience.
Meanwhile 800-pound gorilla Facebook has recently started shipping its
contribution to the game with the launch of Portal in late 2018.
All-in-all, expertise for voice interface design and voice app
development will be in greater demand. And as with apps and websites
before them, a new industry of developers will follow.
Responses With Contextual
The last few years have been about
what the user is saying, and now it will
be more about why and where they are
saying it. Contextual understanding is
the next step for voice in order for it to
become an integral part of consumers’
Voice assistants will also continue to
offer more individualized experiences
as they get better at differentiating
Voice search has been a hot topic of
discussion. The visual interface with
voice assistants is missing. Users simply
cannot see or touch a voice interface
unless it is connected to an app like
Alexa or Google Assistant. Search
behaviours, in turn, will see a big
change. In fact, if Juniper’s predictions
prove correct, voice-based ad revenue
could reach $19 billion by 2022.
One area where we will see voice-
enabled devices really take off will be in
the automotive industry and in-car
speech recognition. People will be able
to do more on their drives to work. As a
testament to this, DriveSafe.ly is a great
example of an app that encourages
safe driving so users can keep their
eyes off their phones.
In 2019 smart brands are
looking out for four things
In the future, brand relevance
is key to voice
The top three reasons for using voice cited by respondents to the Mindshare
and JWT study were, "It's convenient," "I don't have to type," and "It's simple
to use." It is distinctly possible that voice will elevate consumer expectations
of the seamlessness of products, services and information.
That being the case, the value of a brand and the role that it will play in the
voice-enabled environments become increasingly important to consider.
For the first time, marketers will have no choice but to consider the audio
characteristics of their brands.
The switch in emphasis towards natural, conversational language will also
require a completely new approach to search marketing, SEO and purchase
process, especially given the need to respect cultural and linguistic nuances.
The watchout here is exactly the same as it has been over the last decade
with mobile apps – anyone can create an Alexa skill but very few of them will
For companies, voice applications that don’t drive relevance through utility
and a credible reflection of the brand promise will be relegated to the
2019 TREND 5
THE 5G DREAM
5G will be the most important
innovation since the internet
As trials and commercial deployments become more
prevalent in the news, and as whispers of 5G-enabled
handsets start to emanate from smartphone manufacturers,
we’re hearing more and more about the promise of 5G.
There’s no doubt about it – 5G will absolutely revolutionise
the way we work, play, shop and socialise. The speed,
device density and latency that 5G will bring will make
possible many of the most important innovations in the
• Smart cities
• Autonomous vehicles
• Drone-based fulfilment
• Predictive health services and robotic surgery
• The 4th industrial revolution in manufacturing
To name but a few.
20xfaster than 4G
Once the infrastructure is built,
5G will enable everything
5G will act as the nexus of a suite of current and
emerging technologies and platforms – IoT, AI,
Cloud, Edge Computing, AR/VR – and will
supercharge them to do things heretofore
To date, we’ve tended to think of 5G as “just
another G”, building on the current 4G paradigm.
But 5G is a step change from 4G in terms of
network performance – in the lab, on the street,
and in the home. Everything that 4G initially
promised but has yet to deliver will come with 5G.
The year ahead for 5G and
What It Means for You
But 2019 will not be “The year
of 5G” (and neither will 2020)
To be functional, 5G requires a massive infrastructure build out in the
places where it will operate, up to $300 billion in new chipsets, cell
towers, routers and other hard costs over the next five years. We are
only at the beginning of our 5G dream.
Commercial deployments are in their infancy, and will roll out slowly,
focusing first on 5G-enabled fixed wireless for home and enterprise.
The current generation of smartphones won’t work with 5G networks,
and the first 5G-enabled handsets won’t appear until 2020.
And as things roll out slowly, then very quickly, 5G will become one of
the most profound proofs of Amara’s law that the “we tend to
overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and
underestimate the effect in the long run”.
As we wait for that long run, 5G-enabled fixed WiFi solutions are
already rolling out in disparate industrial and residential areas that will
start to benefit from lightning-fast wireless broadband and low
latency, bringing the IoT-driven 4th Industrial Revolution to life and
greatly improving the speed and quality of residential OTT and smart
#OgilvyTrends2019 / Image source:
Get started now thinking about
what your brand and business
means in a 5G world
For those companies that got caught off-guard by “trends” like
Web 2.0, or the “mobile revolution”, 5G is a chance at redemption.
Those wise to the trend will take 2019 to begin planning for a world
where customers, employees and partners will be engaging with
them in very different ways.
We recommend you:
• Make 5G somebody’s job
• Stay on top of adoption trends
• Start envisioning a world on 5G and how that will impact your
brand proposition, your customer experience, your products and
services, and your physical estate
Envision the future state and prepare a roadmap, however
preliminary and modest at first, that works toward it.
HERE’S A RECAP OF THE TRENDS:
#1 Omni-Channel Resurrects The High Street
#2 The Rise Of The Super CMO
#3 In B2B, A New Culture Of Business Is Emerging
#4 Voice, Not Just A Trend
#5 The 5G Dream Deferred
Bonus bites — if you’re new here — are additional thoughts
and hypotheses that are put forward, often without any data
to support them, which are just here to keep you thinking
and maybe make you sound smarter at parties.
continues to surge
Last year, Amazon successfully
embarked on an aggressive plan to
expand its presence in advertising.
This year, growth will continue as
we see media budgets shift from
Google and Facebook.k.
The transcendence of
Beyond Baidu, Alibaba and
Tencent, there are China tech
giants the West barely
understands. But in 2019, this will
change as companies look to China
for innovations in electric cars,
energy, and industry 4.0.
Young consumers don’t
want to own anything
The definition of ‘wealth’ will
continue to evolve as young
consumers are increasingly
purchasing experiences instead
of goods or services.
Managing Director, Consulting
Global Consulting Principal,
Customer Experience & Digital Transformation,
Thank you for reading
By Ogilvy Consulting