The power of a brand lies beyond a logo.

The power of a brand lies beyond a logo.

In most organisations, the brand – its health, its architecture and even its tracking results – are still viewed solely as a marketing function. The common belief remains that marketing departments are considered the only custodians of a business’ successful brand health.

But this can be argued on two levels:


Powerful brands significantly outperform the market.

Compared to a Morgan Stanley Capital International World index investment, the world’s 40 strongest brands returned twice as much to shareholders.

As such, limiting ‘brand’ solely to the marketing division and not to the broader business could restrict a business’s future potential/success. 

A brand isn’t just a logo or pretty pictures. 

It’s how we look, speak, behave, and interact with our customers. Brands need to create and reinforce trust, familiarity, and positive associations, much like a personality. Doing so will drive a level of ‘stickiness’ that keeps customers coming back for more.

Having previously worked on large-scale business transformations for clients including Toyota, Caribou Coffee, and McDonald’s, we have seen what strong brands can do to a business’s bottom line. 

In our experience, the most successful brand tracking results come from those who empower all their staff, divisions & functions with a responsibility to ensure the brand is considered in all that they do. 

staff meeting

Every staff member, from the CEO through to the frontline salesperson, should view themselves as a ‘brand advocate’ and bear the responsibility of ensuring this ‘intangible’ thing called brand — which now contributes to 90 per cent of the intangible value of a company – is embedded, lived and breathed throughout the business.

In recent years – mainly due to COVID – many businesses have seen ‘cost cutting’ measures and ‘efficiencies’ result in a downward trend in marketing headcount and dollars spent. 

This has resulted in time-poor staff and overstretched resources, throwing their reduced budget at fragmented, ad-hoc initiatives— with no north star, framework, or anchor point to align decision-making and investment, which seems counterintuitive to us.  

Every consumer-facing brand has a range of touchpoints or ‘interaction’ moments that shape a customer’s experience. Over time, these ‘moments’ either improve or detract from a brand’s strength. Companies that invest in CX are said to be three times more resilient than CX stragglers.

The decisions that led to a touch point’s creation most likely hailed from a range of cross-disciplines in an organisation. From a website’s UX to the friendly voice of a customer service representative to the unboxing moment of an online delivery— every touchpoint should offer an experience that is shaped by a decision that someone or several have made.  

So, it stands to reason that everyone in an organisation needs to think about the brand and how it’s embedded in everyday life to increase the company’s value. This cross-functional understanding of the importance of brand will often see an organisation’s brand tracking soar. 

Between 2016 to 2019, Toyota Australia undertook a significant brand transformation project that saw staff across the business ensure the ‘brand’ was deeply embedded throughout the organisation. 


This involved re-calibrating how its teams were briefed on the business, its ambition and values and took an ‘inside-out’ approach – effectively delivering a rebrand internally two years before any external change was made. 

In doing so, Toyota experienced record-breaking results, including— Most Trusted Automotive Brand in Australia 2020 and the highest ever result for brand satisfaction for Toyota dealers.

The Power of The Brand

    • A brand is a consumer’s total experience with a recognisable product.
    • A brand is powerful and is the core identity of a company that can make or break it.
    • An intangible asset, a brand carries a value, but that value is difficult for investors to put a number on.
    • The three main ways to value a brand are stripping out the assets, product to product, and the intensive approach.
    • The power of branding can help a company triumph in a price war, thrive in a recession, or grow operating margins and create shareholder value.

With all of this in mind, it might just be time to think about the brand’s future within your organisation a little more deeply. You never know; your actions and investment in the brand might just see those tracking results soar to record highs.

To learn more about how CSMG digital can help bring your brand to life so that it has real value to both your organisation and your customers, talk to us at

Why customer storytelling is critical to your marketing mix

Why customer storytelling is critical to your marketing mix

Customer advocacy, also known as word of mouth marketing, is one of, if not the, most powerful marketing tools brands have today. Why? Because consumers trust third-party reviews, endorsements, and recommendations from real people far more than ‘cold’ marketing or advertising messages. 

In fact, research suggests a 12 per cent increase in advocacy (done well) can represent up to a 200 per cent increase in revenue. Customer advocates are also 50 per cent more likely to influence a purchasing decision and two times more likely to generate sales than paid advertising. Meanwhile, 92 per cent of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review.

One of the most critical B2B marketing mix components is having a robust and scalable customer advocacy program. Having your customers explain how they use your product to solve their problems in a clear, authentic way is key to marketing and selling your B2B solution.

Customer advocacy too often ends up in the ‘too hard basket.’

Despite the benefits of customer storytelling, 80 per cent of companies don’t like leverage advocates in their inbound marketing, and 58 per cent of companies don’t even know who the brand advocates are. 

So why is this the case? From our experience, we’ve all too often seen companies place customer advocacy in the ‘too hard basket. 

Approaching customers and getting their buy-in becomes manually intensive; producing the content internally becomes laborious and time-intensive. Then amplifying the content across the right paid and organic channels becomes a logistical nightmare.

Suddenly, simply running an ad just seems so much ‘easier’ in comparison. You set it up, automate, boom. But what happens when you turn off those ads? Your marketing stops.

Meanwhile, the cost of digital advertising is rising five times faster than inflation, even though 30 per cent of all internet users are now using ad blockers, and among both Millennials and Gen Xers, there is a consistent rise in ad blindness.

However, when done right, customer stories are the ‘gifts that keep on giving.’ They remain on your site, PR, social and marketing channels, on your sales slides, and on partner sites for months, if not years.

That’s why they’re called marketing ‘assets’. You get sustained ROI from them over time. And that’s why more and more agencies are so passionate about driving, scaling and amplifying customer advocacy content within their marketing strategies.

As the famous RockstarCX James Dodkins says, “find those organic stories, the stories that customers share themselves online, not the ones they’ve been ‘coerced’ to tell. If you’re going to be putting systems in place to find these authentic stories, then really make a big deal of them, share them!”

How to streamline and scale customer advocacy

First of all, your C-Suite needs to understand and value the business and commercial benefits of customer storytelling and advocacy. This needs to be cemented from the top and trickle itself down.

Next, employ a dedicated internal customer advocacy manager who is seasoned and can orchestrate a scalable and sustainable program that can be integrated with demand generation and inbound marketing, plus aligned with sales strategy.

Thirdly, invest in a seasoned media and marketing partner who understands strategic customer advocacy marketing. A specialist partner can help streamline internal strategy, scale internal efforts and produce suitable content streams, such as webinars, events, videos, use cases, sales slides and media campaigns. These can then be integrated into a holistic inbound campaign aligned with sales KPIs.

The future is customer-centric

There’s ample evidence that consumers trust ads less and want more personalised experiences. Putting the customer front and centre of your marketing efforts showcases how much you value the customer experience.

At the same time, your customer champions get additional marketing and media exposure, which in turn helps them enjoy an experience beyond the product or service you provide to them. It all starts with a mindset shift. Are you ready? 

To understand more about the role of customer storytelling and the impact it has to play on your marketing strategy, talk to the team here at CSMG digital.

Article courtesy of and Azadeh Williams, Founder and Managing Partner of AZK Media.

Australian consumers demand hyper-personalisation – new report reveals

Australian consumers demand hyper-personalisation – new report reveals

The way to engage with Australian consumers is through real-time, hyper-personalised experiences; a new eConsultancy report, in partnership with Cheetah Digital, reveals.

Entitled 2022 Digital Consumer Trends Index: Consumer Attitudes and Trends in Personalisation, Privacy, Messaging, Advertising and Brand Loyalty. The global report looks at consumer attitudes and year over year trends in personalisation, privacy, messaging, advertising and brand loyalty based on survey insights collected from more than 5,400 consumers across six countries. 

The report details consumer preferences and what they expect from the brands they buy from, the channels, and formats they prefer to communicate, the type of data they’re willing to share, and the terms under which they’re eager to share it.

The pandemic continues to reverberate throughout the marketing landscape.

The publishing of this data comes at a critical time, as the effects of the pandemic continue to reverberate throughout the marketing landscape. 

While some consumer behaviours and attitudes remained the same, many others quickly changed. Shifts that once took years to emerge are taking place in weeks, pushing brands to arm themselves with the latest data to keep up and respond appropriately. 

“The path to customer acquisition has evolved from a relatively straightforward train track to a bowl of spaghetti, with multiple channels and formats to navigate,” said Tim Glomb, VP of content at Cheetah Digital. “Brands can no longer get away with lumping customers into segments but instead must treat them as individuals. 

As a result, this requires developing authentic relationships, offering actual value exchange, and interpreting the right customer signals at the right time in the right channel. 

This report offers brands an extraordinary opportunity to assess their ability to create and execute campaigns that meet and exceed consumers’ growing demand for more personalisation, more privacy, and a deeper relationship with the brands they know and trust. From an Australian perspective, these include

Email marketing reigns supreme.

The report shows that email continues to sit comfortably as the Australian consumers’ preferred channel for receiving offers, content, incentives, and rewards from brands. 


When it comes to driving sales, email remains one of the most effective channels, beating banner ads, social media ads, organic posts, and SMS by up to 228% in Australia, which is 120% higher than consumers globally. Half of the consumers report purchasing a product directly due to an email they received in the last 12 months.

Price isn’t the only loyalty driver.

The cheapest price point is only one factor of loyalty. Today, Australian consumers are loyal to brands that create emotional bonds by fostering community, recognising their customers as individuals, and delivering bespoke offers and product recommendations. Globally 57% of consumers say they are prepared to pay more to buy from a preferred brand, whereas in Australia, 63% of consumers are willing to pay more to purchase from a favoured brand.

“When done correctly, loyalty programs govern the value exchange between brands and consumers, and not just for a single interaction but for direct engagement over the customer lifetime. With contextually differentiated, personalised experiences, they can be the conduit for the one-to-one relationships that build customer lifetime value,” says Cheetah Digital’s VP for APAC, Billy Loizou.

Greater personalisation yields ROI and long-term consumer excitement

In the value exchange economy, Australian consumers are rewarding brands that prioritise personalisation, with more than half saying they will trade personal and preference data to feel part of a brand’s community. 

At the same time, there’s been nearly a 50% increase in Australian consumers who feel frustrated with a brand whose personalisation initiatives don’t recognise their unique desires and needs.

“Marketers need first to create a strategy that involves getting closer to their customers. Customers are saying, ‘We’re happy to provide our data and sign up to your marketing program in exchange for offers sent directly to me that are relevant,” says Loizou.


Trust in advertising is on the decline.

As Google and other browsers cement their plans to curtail third-party cookie tracking comprehensively, consumers get even more proactive about protecting their online privacy. As a result, marketers must shift to a first- and zero-party data strategy to power their advertising and marketing initiatives. 

More than half of Australian consumers (63%) don’t trust social media platforms with their data. And 69% share they believe cookie tracking is “creepy”.

“People just don’t know what these social media platforms are doing with their data,” Loizou points out. “When Cambridge Analytica happened, many people started losing trust in social platforms, so consumers want more control over their data and know-how their data is being used.”

The complete 2022 Digital Consumer Trends Index is free to download and can be accessed here

Six Trends Reshaping The Brand Experience Landscape

Six Trends Reshaping The Brand Experience Landscape

The global pandemic and accelerated brands’ shift to digital have changed the way marketers envision virtual, hybrid, and face-to-face engagements. The challenges caused by COVID-19 restrictions has reshaped the brand experience landscape with new and exciting opportunities to grab. 

A small network of Merged Media agencies, Red Havas, recently published a report, “A News Lens on Brand Experience.” It covers six key trends in brand experience. This blog elaborates on these six trends with different ways to leverage them in marketing for a business such as eCommerce and the digital space. 

Red Havas from

Brand Experience In The Last Two Years

The last couple of years has changed everything we think we know about marketing. Brand experience and customer engagement have been redefined, with marketers needing to create new experiences at home and out of the office. Here’s how the brand experience landscape shifted:

  • Major shifts in how customers were behaving online 
  • Newer ways of engaging with customers were found
  • Brands try to remain relevant by finding newer ways to connect with the COVID-19 audience
  • Social commerce evolved as a newer way to make sales
  • Customer Experience, CX, became the most important part of brand experience

Brands discovered newer opportunities to engage with their customers, paving the way for exciting developments in 2022—naturally, a lot of trends developed in brand marketing. 

The Six Top Trends in Brand Experience Marketing

Marketers can tap into any of the 6 trends in brand experience marketing to get the most out of a strategy with high ROI. The best way to leverage trends is to incorporate them into your brand strategy. Leave it to Cloud Sea Media Group professionals to ensure your business is relevant and trending through a wide range of customisable services

New E-commerce Experiments

In 2022, major brands will completely reimagine the in-store customer experience. It marks a shift towards more interactive buying experiences, as customers reengage with physical stores looking for brand storytelling and social shopping experiences.

We’ll see the continued merging of experiential and retail in 2022, with brands reimagining physical spaces as destinations for customers. The pandemic accelerated this shift and will further change how customers expect to shop in-store.

Wanderlust Experiences Triumph

The rising trend in the world of brand experience is escapist experiential. It means that brands find newer ways to grab fleeting human attention through entertainment.

It is the use of the elusive approach where brands provide people with a way to escape their everyday lives. Escapist experiential, therefore, becomes a powerful tool to captivate audiences and to engage and entertain. 

Immerging Into The Metaverse

Get ready to experience the metaverse, where virtual and physical worlds merge through virtual reality and augmented reality technologies. The immersive technology will have people interacting with a 3D computer-generated environment.

In recent years, virtual reality has been the talk of the town. But unless we discover a seamless way to jump between worlds with wearable devices, we won’t be able to take off with this. However, this year, we see brands explore components that make up the metaverse, such as gaming, 3D designs, AR, and VR systems. 

Co-create With The Audience

Allowing people to create a marketing campaign and a brand is an initiative that is booming in the industry. People generally love to be a part of creating something in exchange for recognition, such as brand shoutouts or reshares. 

Brands are no longer creating content for the audience but with them. Rather than anticipating cultural influences, letting people create it themselves has been the mindset. By giving audiences the tools, resources, and opportunities to play an active role in their brand story, they build relationships and develop brand loyalty in ways beyond the campaign. 

Personalised Experiences is Still King

Data has grown to play a prominent role in marketing in recent years. Without data, a personalised brand experience can be challenging to achieve. 

As we enter the experience age, consumers demand more from their brands, such as understanding their individual needs and responding with hyper individualisation and micro experiences to create enriching online/offline experiences. 

Individualisation, micro experiences, and hyper-personalisation offer the perfect opportunity to engage audiences in a way that’s enriching for them and your brand.

Inclusive And Diverse Experiences

New opportunities are developing to provide experiences that include everyone. The growing focus on online and offline experiences allows for creative ways to expand as a brand and tap into newer markets by forging meaningful relationships. 

For instance, live-captioning of events can provide an inclusive experience to hard of hearing viewers. Different ways to be diverse and inclusive are now an essential part of the planning process and play a prominent role in determining the marketing strategy. The key is to include accommodations in your plans should there be a need. 

Key Takeaways 

The brand experience landscape is shifting towards finding newer ways to engage with customers in meaningful ways. Companies are looking to build deep relationships with their customers. While these are the top 6 trends, there are several other important ones. 

A critical trend in brand experiences is sustainable stories. Brands that will lead the sustainable drive as more consumers look for ways to reduce their carbon footprint will always have an edge in the market. Others include rising demand for real-life brand experiences opening new opportunities in the leisure and entertainment market. 

Staying on top of marketing trends can be quite a headache. You have nothing to worry about when you have Cloud Sea Media Group providing all kinds of marketing services dedicated to ensuring that you make relevant and meaningful connections with your customers. 

Nail Your Brand Strategy In 2022

Trends are always short-lived and keep changing very fast. It can be challenging to stay on top of the trends while running a business. Still, here are some ways to stay ahead of the competition at all times:

  • Create a detailed brand strategy with information about your colour palette, content for SEO, and fonts. 

  • Make sure to do in-depth market research when creating your brand strategy. 

  • Upgrade your technologies to predict consumer behaviours to predict trends accurately. 

  • Use data collection and analysis for insights into problems and optimise experiences. 

  • ROI should be your decision-maker. 

Running a business, keeping up with changing marketing trends and creating brand experiences that engage with your audience can be exhaustive. That is why you need to get in touch with Cloud Sea Media Group to handle all your digital and social marketing needs while focusing on growing your business. 

Influencer Trends in 2022 – What does the Landscape Look Like

Influencer Trends in 2022 - What does the Landscape Look Like?

The influencer marketing industry is set for explosive growth, building on impressive gains made in recent years. Here we take a look at the 2022 trends in influencer marketing.

Recent studies forecast that 72.5 per cent of US marketers from companies with 100 or more employees will use influencer marketing in 2022. These numbers were up from 70 per cent in 2021.

At the same time, eMarketer has forecast that US spending on influencer marketing will climb to $4.14 billion this year. On a global scale, Influencer Marketing Hub has estimated that the industry will grow to a collective $16.4 billion in 2022.

Influencers across a broad range of social media platforms – from TikTok and Instagram to Twitch and YouTube – are driving an evolution of the eCommerce space.



But it won’t be just B2C brands that champion this segment growth. B2B players are eager to demonstrate social proof while tapping into new content and audiences. This is driving a new focus on influencer discovery, recruitment, and engagement.

A more significant share of influencer marketing budgets will go to nano- and micro-influencers as brands prioritise content creation over audience reach. While TikTok may have paved the way for such possibilities, other social platforms have quickly followed suit and have expanded their creator tools for smaller influencers.

Influencer marketing predictions

Here are some of the trends that will define influencer marketing in the year ahead.

More sophisticated tools an incredible 50 million people considered themselves to be part of the creator economy in 2020, according to eMarketer. That number is only set to soar in the wake of the pandemic, work-from-home orders, and the Great Resignation.

As more people brand themselves creators and seek to monetise their audiences, the race will be on to define the value proposition to prospective brand partners clearly. 



Social media platforms will need to provide creators with better monetisation and monitoring tools. TikTok has already demonstrated how quickly a new entrant can establish a dominant position in the market.

Closing the cookie jar

Third-party cookies have defined the modern marketing landscape. There’s been plenty written on the death of the cookie, and there’s little to be gained in rehashing it. Instead, it’s worth considering how influencers represent a safe harbour for digital marketing professionals.

Influencers don’t have audiences; followers aspire to the lifestyles of those who subscribe to social media. Most influencers are in a niche segment – health and wellbeing. As the industry talks about “cohorts” as a replacement for cookies, influencers have already achieved this.

An auditory and visual feast

Podcasts and short-form videos emerged as a panacea to the concept of being time-poor. Time poverty doesn’t just exist in relation to work or household responsibilities; it also reflects the overabundance of media consumption options.

Few of us have much time left over to consume media between sleep, work, friends, and family. In the previous century, technology was a limiter on the scope of our media consumption. 

The internet has fundamentally changed that dynamic, bringing a wealth of options that has created the paradox of choice.

Audio and visual mediums are simply more engaging than text for most and will continue to grab market share in the coming years.

Influencers as partners

Brands will seek to work more closely with their influencers. These relationships see influencers being treated as partners rather than contractors.



Influencers know their followers better than a brand does. This means there are valuable insights for marketing executives to gain that can then be applied across broader demographics.

Influencer and affiliate marketing in the consumer journey

The consumer journey has become incredibly complex in the wake of the digital marketing revolution. Consumers will see and interact with hundreds of touchpoints before making a purchase.

Influencers offer a wave of introducing the consumer to a brand, product, and service, but empowering them to convert the consumer helps brands streamline the sales funnel.

Every little bit helps. As such, expect to see a greater convergence between influencer and affiliate marketing activities, which will generate an uplift in conversion rates and allow brands to more fully assess the value of their marketing spend.

Nano and micro-influencers: good things, small packages

This focus on assessing value in the consumer journey has already led to the rise of the nano and micro-influencer.

These influencers offer an attractive value proposition not because they are a cheaper alternative to macro-influencers but because they frequently boost much higher engagement levels.

Small-scale influencers interact more significantly with their followers, who do not see themselves as part of a homogenised audience. This allows them to drive brand loyalty and customer retention.

Influencer marketing in the affiliate space

Here are our key recommendations on what to evaluate when considering influencer marketing within the affiliate space.

Understand influencers’ channels

Influencers rarely rely on a sole social media platform, frequently leaning on secondary channels to augment their communications.

Brands should carefully audit an influencer’s reach and their own marketing materials to decide how best to promote products and services. Certain products, services and even creative formats will work better on some channels than others.

Forge closer ties

Influencers are not sales staff. Their followers are accustomed to their personas and understand when they are promoting or shilling a brand. Engagement levels will reflect this. Partner with your chosen influencer to know how best to reach their audience. The aim is trust.

Invest, don’t hire

Think of your influencers as an investment. Don’t see payment as the only means of motivation, but rather ensure that you have open lines of communication and offer opportunities to collaborate when suitable.

Consider investing in them – either with money or training – to make them a better advocate for your brand.

Make a stand, carefully.

While millennials may be the most open to social influences, they are also the most socially minded. Most millennials believe that the companies they buy from should align with their own beliefs and values.

Against this backdrop, brands need to have a clear mission statement and be careful in selecting the influencers they partner with.

Thanks to Emily Do, the APAC region events and marketing manager at Commission Factory. This article first appeared in

What are the trends and changes to watch for in 2022 – Part 2

What are the trends and changes to watch for in 2022 - Part 2

Following on from our recent look at Brands & Marketing courtesy of the 100 Trends and change to watch in 2022′ outlook presentation developed by Emma Chiu, Global director at Wunderman Thompson Intelligence. We’re now going to consider what 2022 might have to offer those who live in the retail & commerce space.

What are the long term challenges?

Long-term challenges are forcing retailers to rethink their core offers, with some diversifying into unexplored areas. 

Few sectors have had a more turbulent couple of years than retail. The story of 2020 was one of the deserted high streets, shuttered shops and plummeting sales. Fast-forward to today, and disrupted supply chains and labour shortages burden retailers. These crises are hastening a realignment. 

In times of uncertainty, adaptability is critical. Enterprising retailers are shifting gears, finding creative ways to diversify beyond their business’s borders. 

In July 2021, John Lewis Partnership—the British parent company of retail brands John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners—revealed plans to become a private landlord. 

With the company posting the first full-year loss since it was founded in 1864, for the period to January 2021, diversification is a crucial plank in its turnaround strategy. By 2030, John Lewis Partnership aims to have 40% of its profits coming from non-retail lines, principally financial services, housing and outdoor living. 

Consumers are looking for brands to serve more than one core purpose.

Consumers no longer see brands serving one core purpose in the new retail era. People want more profound experiences with the brands they trust, so there are opportunities to capture new revenue streams. Diversification could be critical to the bricks-and-mortar retail recovery. 

Other areas where we see retail brands move away from their traditional bricks-and-mortar outlets are with the rise of virtual flagships. Digital stores are taking over eCommerce storefronts.  

The rise of the virtual flagship

Today, 81% of global consumers believe that a brand’s digital presence is as essential as its in-store presence. This is prompting brands to enhance their eCommerce storefront prominence and create virtual flagship stores. 

Earlier this year, Samsung opened a virtual replica of its flagship New York City store in Decentraland. In July 2021, luxury brand Fendi opened a 360-degree digital flagship based on its 57th Street store in New York City, offering visitors virtual tours and access to its latest collections. 

Hermès has rolled out digital flagships in Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Thailand. At the same time, Beauty brands are also upping their digital storefront impact. Lancôme debuted its first temporary virtual flagship in Singapore in summer 2020. 

The Lancôme Advanced Génifique #LiveYourStrength virtual flagship offered 3D shopping experiences, consultations and educational events. It included a “discover zone” where visitors could take a personality test designed by psychologist Perpetua Neo to find their strengths. The L’Oréal-owned skincare brand has since introduced virtual pop-ups for Australia, Korea and the United States. In April 2021, Nars opened a digital flagship store, immersing visitors in a 3D shopping experience. 


Source: Lancôme


Such is the growth expected in this sector that, according to predictions from eMarketer, the global eCommerce market will grow from $4.89 trillion in 2021 to $5.42 trillion in 2022. Virtual flagships are becoming the new storefront to entice shoppers and enhance a brand’s overall digital experience. 

Department stores are reformatting.

But while there is a more significant shift to online retailing than ever before, all is not lost. Some department stores are reformatting and rethinking the traditional department store model.

The latest department stores are more town squares than retailers, reflecting a shift in the retail landscape from big-box luxury to community microcosm. 

Beales, which closed all of its UK stores in 2020, has reopened three locations under new ownership—and is looking beyond retail. The top floors of the Poole branch will be turned into a “health village” run by the National Health Service. It will offer dermatology, orthopedics, ophthalmology, breast cancer screening departments and counselling rooms for those suffering from long COVID. 

A new concept department store is reinventing a location formerly occupied by legacy British retailer Debenhams. Called Bobby’s, the new store opened in the UK town of Bournemouth in September 2021 and houses a beauty hall, an art gallery and ice-cream and coffee parlour, alongside shopping and local artisans, in place of floors filled with clothing, accessories and homeware. The future plans include a hairdressing salon, dental services, microbrewery, and even a smokery. 

“I don’t ever see a big department store chain emerging again,” Beales’ CEO Tony Brown told the Guardian. “We will see small local chains popping up with eight or ten stores. The model will change dramatically over the next couple of years. People want something more localised.” 

It’s clear that the traditional department store format is no longer working. Following a string of closures, a long-established generation of department stores must rethink and adapt if they are to survive the future. 

The birth of retail retro. 

While the rest of the world is busy concentrating on all things digital in the retail space, there is a movement to bring back retro retail as the latest high-design stores are turning back the hands of time with nostalgic interiors. 

Examples of this new movement include Superette’s newest cannabis dispensary in Toronto, designed to resemble a retro grocery store. Its vibrant colours, punchy graphics, and what Dezeen called “pop art aesthetic” are evocative of mid-century retail branding and design. In August 2021, the company opened Sip’ n’ Smoke, an express kiosk with a similar look inspired by old-school cafeterias. 




The interior of Los Angeles grocery Wine & Eggs, which opened in 2021, was partially inspired by public schools. Saturated hues of blue and yellow feature throughout the space and branding, complemented by bright green. Rounded wood shelving and displays call to mind building blocks, and the blue-and-green checkered floor is made from commercial-grade vinyl composition tile (VCT). “I love VCT because it actually feels both playful and reminiscent of our childhood in public schools,” Adi Goodrich, who created the interior, told Dezeen. 

Creative agency Saint of Athens designed a jewellery store in August 2021 in Mykonos, Greece, that nods to the splendour of luxury swimming pools in a bygone era. The interior is decked in light-blue tiles with red-and-white striped accents. “Soft blue, a colour reminiscent of urban pool luxury of the ’60s, furniture made from metal, vintage elements and custom blue terrazzo displays constitute a retro yet modern, Wes Anderson kind of universe,” agency founder Nikos Paleologos told Dezeen. 



But why it’s interesting? 

Because for the past two years, people have been turning to nature-inspired design to create a sense of comfort and stability. Now, the latest store designs are opting for kitschy, playful interiors that offer a nostalgic escape. 

To learn more about what trends we can expect to see in 2022, keep watching this space and learn more about how CSMG digital can help your brand; please feel free to contact us.

What are the trends and changes to watch for in 2022?

What are the trends and changes to watch for in 2022?

With the world entering its third year of the global pandemic, what are the perceived trends and changes we should be on the lookout for in 2022? Well, thanks to Emma Chiu, Global director at Wunderman Thompson Intelligence, we think we might have some of the answers.  

Over the course of the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a snapshot of some of the aspects that Emma and her team have laid out in their recent presentation – ‘100 Trends and change to watch in 2022’ and put our own spin on a variety of subjects and points they have outlined. 

Brands & Marketing

We’re going to start with Brands & Marketing, and the ever-increasing role technology has to play in shaping the creativity agencies will use when developing work for their clients.

Today 72% of gen Z and millennials in the United States, the United Kingdom and China believe that creativity is dependent on technology, and 92% believe that technology opens up a whole new world of creation. 

So much so that according to highly respected creative technologist and digital designer Helena Dong thinks that creativity is increasingly informed and powered by technology, setting the stage for the next era of digital platforms and creative influence. Digital tools have activated an entirely new world of creativity, where creations can transcend physical limitations. 

Whereas at Snapchat, they see things a little differently and believe that creativity is the driving force propelling the future of digital engagement. For them, they feel that as a user, “you’re not creating content that people consume, you’re creating content that people then create with, you’re putting out a piece of content that everyone personalises and has a personal experience with.” 



But what does that mean? Well, as far as Keith Stuart, games editor at the Guardian newspaper, it means, “For generation alpha and generation Z, customisation and creation are intricate parts of their gaming experience. For them, customisation and the play element are part of the same thing, self-expression and exploration.”  

So with all of this in mind, is the suggestion that the future of advertising and marketing lies in gaming a reality?

Well, with the in-game advertising market set to grow by $3.54 billion between 2021 and 2025, according to a 2021 report by Technavio, is it any wonder that brands are diving headfirst into gaming with branded virtual worlds? 

What role will gaming have to play?

We have already seen many brands turn to established gaming platforms such as Roblox and creating novel in-game branded experiences in the hope of engaging the platform’s 46 million daily active users. 

In December 2021, Ralph Lauren announced the launch of its Winter Escape on Roblox. The holiday-themed virtual destination includes ice skating, toasting marshmallows, scavenger hunts, and shopping the Ralph Lauren Digital Collection, which is available for purchase exclusively on Roblox. 

Before this, in November 2021, Nike unveiled Nikeland on Roblox here; the virtual world lets users dress their avatars in virtual Nike gear and explore Nikeland’s arenas, fields and buildings that are host to various mini-games. Vans World, launched in September 2021, is a virtual skatepark. 

Other brands that have set about creating their own virtual world range anywhere from German luxury carmaker BMW to Procter and Gamble across to Japanese beauty brand SK-II, which launched their version of a virtual city in May 2021. 

But why is this interesting? If we go back to Keith Stuart, he believes that gaming is replacing advertising channels such as print and television for younger generations. 

“A lot of the traditional ways of marketing to young people are gone forever. Gaming is where they are; expect to see more branded virtual worlds as companies and marketers tap into this growing space”. 

Is virtual content the future of marketing and advertising?

If gaming and virtual content are the future of marketing and advertising, what should we expect the content and engagement to look like?

Well, in an attempt to move us out from under the pandemic cloud, we can see already that moments of joy are helping to raise spirits in brand advertising and engagement. Many brands are filling their ads with uplifting and heartwarming moments, inviting audiences to join them in fun and jubilation. 

Associating positive emotions with a brand continues to be a top strategy among many marketers as they look to hone their marketing into positive spaces and platforms. 

Emotional intelligence was at the forefront of a Lexus campaign in October 2021. The ad, promoting the Lexus ES Self-Charging Hybrid, uses facial recognition technology to read and adapt the ad to consumers’ emotions. The “Feel Your Best” campaign aims to leave viewers feeling more optimistic after their personalised experience. 

Gap’s “All Together Now” 2021 holiday campaign focused on love, kindness, and “modern American optimism”—one of the brand’s core philosophies. The campaign starred Katy Perry and ran to the tune of “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles. Themes of unity, love and joy are consistent with the brand’s optimistic marketing motif. 

Source: Gap Inc


So what does this tell us? Well, it tells us that now more than ever, consumers are seeking authentic, uplifting content and that brands are meeting them on positive platforms, aiming to generate joy in their marketing strategies. 

Themes of optimism and unity are essential to consumers, and brands that focus on those communal aspects generate positive reactions from customers and increase engagement within their branded communities. 

What can we expect 2022 to look like?

So, in short, when it comes to the trends, what can we expect to see from brands and marketing in 2022? Without a shadow of a doubt, technology will play an ever-increasing role as brands look to engage with their audiences. Uplifting content will continue to grow as brands look to deliver positive messages. We can also expect to see more branded virtual worlds as companies and marketers tap into this growing space. 



To learn more about what trends we can expect to see in 2022, keep watching this space and learn more about how CSMG digital can help your brand; please feel free to contact us.

Top Content Marketing Trends To Keep You Ahead Of The Game

live streaming

Top Content Marketing Trends To Keep You Ahead Of The Game


The creation of quality content is crucial for a successful content marketing strategy. What constitutes high-quality content is constantly changing as new technologies and new trends come into play. 

As marketers, it’s crucial to keep up-to-date with the latest marketing trends. In this post, we’ll discuss the most recent trends including video marketing, live streaming, interactive content 3D and AR marketing for products, and reinventing the company manifesto. Read on to learn more!

Marketing via video

The appeal of videos is growing and for a good reason- it’s entertaining and can deliver lots of information in a relatively short time. Videos are a great way to explain complex concepts, and they’re extremely popular forms of content and are increasing in popularity.

Cisco estimates that video will make up 82% of the internet’s traffic in 2022. That’s an impressive rise, and that’s because the video format is among the most effective methods to transmit messages.


Video content is not only well-known and effective, but it’s also highly efficient. According to Hubspot, including videos on a landing site can boost conversions by up to 80 percent. Social media videos are seven times more likely to be shared than pictures when it comes to social media videos.



Interactive content

Interactive content is growing as it helps keep customers interested in your company. Interactive content is anything that encourages the participation of viewers. It could take the form of calculators, quizzes, games, contests, or even a question or survey. The idea is to draw users to interact with your material and, ultimately, to learn more about them.

According to research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, interactive content is twice as effective as static content when driving engagement. It also helps in increasing the brand’s visibility and lead generation. By 2022, interactive media will be among the biggest developments in the field of marketing through content.

The rising popularity of 3D imaging as well as AR in E-commerce

3D imaging and augmented reality are two of the fastest rapid-growing technologies worldwide. Together, they are expected to become 300 billion dollars in 2024. It is a great chance for companies to join the first step of this rapidly growing sector and use these technologies to increase their revenue and market share.

3-D images and AR have been utilized to great effect in e-commerce. Customers can browse the products online from various angles and can even experience them with AR. It offers shoppers an interactive experience with products, which improves sales and loyalty.

Regenerative Marketing

In 2022, regenerative or green marketing concepts are becoming more popular than ever before.

As the world gets more environmentally conscious, companies are beginning to recognize the necessity of adopting sustainable methods of operation. Green marketing refers to promoting services or products that are green. It includes a range of strategies, like recycling packaging materials and reducing energy usage, and using less harmful chemicals.

Regenerative marketing goes one step further by helping restore and protect the natural environment through initiatives such as planting trees, using renewable energy sources and encouraging eco-friendly projects.

The global green technology and sustainability market size was valued at $10.32 billion in 2020, and is projected to reach $74.64 billion by 2030. The public is increasingly concerned about sustainability and tends to buy products from companies concerned about the environment. Businesses must adopt sustainable marketing strategies and place sustainability as their top priority to stay in the game.

Live stream video interaction

Live video streaming in marketing is predicted to increase dramatically over the next couple of years. There are many reasons behind this increase. Based on Livestream’s statistics, 80% would view the brand’s live videos rather than reading content. Live video streaming is a great method to establish an emotional connection with your customers and establish trust. It’s also an excellent way to produce engaging content that draws attention to your website.

live streaming

Additionally, live video streaming is great for advertising your company’s products and events and giving behind-the-scenes videos of your business. Live streaming is an effective method of building credibility and trust with potential customers.

Re-inventing company manifestos

At a time when social media is taking over, businesses are finding new and innovative ways to market their services to consumers. The manifesto can be described as a statement of values, purpose, and principles that guide the actions and decisions of a business. It can be used to attract new customers, employees, and investors.

As technology and the world evolve, consumers seek authenticity from the brands they choose to support. Customers want to know a company’s core values, and a manifesto could convey all that clearly and succinctly.

Amazon hopes to be the best workplace for its 1.3 million employees worldwide. One of their principles is to “strive to be the best employers” by “creating an environment that is safer, more efficient, better-performing, more diverse, and fair work environments.”



A company manifesto is an excellent way for connecting emotionally and building trust between customers and companies. In addition, it is  an opportunity to let customers know that the business is dedicated to its beliefs and constantly striving for improvement.

Content marketing is ever-changing, and it is crucial to be ahead of the trends. Integrating these strategies into your marketing plan will allow you to reach your audience innovatively.

Australians are social, and there’s no stopping —

Australians are social, and there's no stopping —

A Digital 2022 report shows the amount of Australians who are using social media is increasing by 4.6 per cent, and there are 21 million users of social media across the nation (almost 1 million brand new members) from the beginning of the year before, which is equivalent to 83 % of the total population.

Says Letrecia Tippett, head of Australia and New Zealand, Hootsuite: “As social media usage in Australia steadily increases, it is more important than ever before for companies to embrace social media to strengthen their connection with their customers. As Australians navigate through yet another challenging year of the pandemic, we encourage businesses to make use of the data from our Digital 2022 report to help them navigate which social media platforms will be most efficient in connecting them with their audiences.”

In addition to the growth in the number of social media users, Australians aged 16-64 are using social networks more every day, averaging one hour and 56 mins (10 percent more). Facebook remains the most widely used social network, followed by Facebook Messenger and Instagram in Australia.

We Are Social and Hootsuite Digital 2022 report finds 83% of Australians now on social media

The report highlights the importance of investing in social media. This report shows you can reach 15 million (58 percent of the number of) Australians through advertisements on Facebook, and TikTok can have an ad impact of 7.38 million people who are 18 and above.

Australian businesses are expanding their digital advertising efforts to appeal to a global audience. They are investing an additional $392 million (AUD$551 million) (18 percent growth) in programmatic and social media advertising, compared to the previous year. Social media accounts for 27 percent (US$2.6 billion or AUD$3.6 billion) of the total advertising on the internet, and programming makes up 78 % (US$7.5 billion/AUD$10.5 billion).

With a worldwide audience accessible via the web, Australian businesses are increasingly 

According to Tippett: “The significant uplift in advertising spending on digital platforms in the last twelve months is evidence that Australian companies are fighting for a share of voice and are looking to increase the reach of their customers through all channels online. As we progress, organizations must continue to focus on a digital-focused approach, to ensure that they don’t miss crucial opportunities to grow and attract potential customers.”

Despite Facebook being the most used application, Australians spend more time on TikTok. Users spend on average 23.4 hours per person every month (40 percent growth) using the app, as compared with 17.6 hours (3 percent decrease) using Facebook in addition to 8.3 hours per month (2 percent growth) for Instagram.

Ads on the TikTok platform are growing at a rapid rate. Digital 2022 Australia reports that the platform has reached 37 percent (audience of 18 and over) and is the 3rd most popular mobile application in the last year, putting it behind Service Victoria and Service NSW.

The report also discusses that gaming has become an integral part of life for Australians, and 3 out of four internet users between 16 and 64 play video games on gaming consoles on average for 1 hour and seven minutes per day (24.3 percent growth). It means that Australian online media spending on video games has risen by 25 percent and is currently in the range of US$716.9 Million (AUD$1 billion). Mobile is still the most popular game console, and more than 50% of gamers play games on phones (49.5 per cent).).

According to Suzie Shaw, the CEO of We Are Social Australia: “Online gaming has truly become a popular pastime in Australia, and many people are spending all week long playing. Through the entire pandemic, people have connected via gaming, and it’s transformed from an outlet for entertainment in a single room to an activity that involves connecting with families and friends and making significant connections. The game world isn’t easy and time-consuming. Still, considering the number of people playing and the amount of time spent on it, the thrill of gaming environments, and the creativity it offers, businesses should think about gaming as a part of their strategies in 2022.”

A report by We are social and Hootsuite – The Digital 2022 report provides an overview of internet, mobile, and social media usage and behaviours around the world.

Top 9 social media trends for e-commerce in 2022 and beyond

Top 9 social media trends for e-commerce in 2022 and beyond

Social media moves fast. It is no longer a trend. It has become an integral part of popular culture and a vital marketing tool for brands looking to expand their reach. Since social media is an ever-changing landscape and the most effective channel for marketers to reach their target audience, it’s essential to research the latest trends so you can fulfil your brand’s potential.

How are brands and businesses standing out in 2022? What trends should you watch to stay ahead of the curve?


Tiktok for marketing

TikTok is a popular video app that has gained an impressive amount of users in just a few years. In September 2021, it passed the 1 billion user mark, making it the 7th most popular social network. The app grew so quickly because of its simplicity and ease of use.



tiktok app on smartphonePhoto by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

But despite this rapid growth, businesses are unsure whether they should invest in TikTok.

To put this into perspective, Instagram’s monthly active users grew at a rate of 6% in 2020. 

Over the last year, search demand for TikTok has grown by 173%. 

There is no doubt about its popularity and potential to become a cornerstone for future social media marketing campaigns. 


Big companies and ad agencies will spend big ad dollars on smaller networks.

This social media may be the most surprising in 2022.

New research shows that consumers may be more receptive to advertising on smaller channels like TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest than the more extensive social networks. 

A study by Kantar, commissioned by TikTok, found that consumers ranked TikTok ads as more inspiring and enjoyable than ads on other platforms. 

A Pinterest Business study showed that ads on Pinterest had higher ROI and cheaper conversion rates than ads on other social networks.

A Nielson study commissioned by Snapchat found that ads on Snapchat had more reach than TV leading to broader reach and increase in purchase intent.

In early 2021, social media pros had to diversify their ads strategy in response to Apple iOS 14 update. When Apple announced an “opt-in to ads tracking” option for all Apple users, it blocked Facebook’s ability to target a vast chunk of its audience.

First and foremost, TikTok, Pinterest, and Snapchat all encourage advertisers to make their ads fit in with organic content already being posted by regular users. The result is more entertaining and less disruptive ads, increasing conversions and overall good vibes for businesses.


Shoppers today expect to buy brand products on social media.

Before the pandemic, social commerce was a flashy opportunity for the most innovative businesses. But increased social media consumption combined with stay-at-home mandates created the perfect conditions for a social shopping explosion, which is not going away.

Social commerce is predicted to be an $80 billion industry by 2025, riding the coattails of equally massive e-commerce growth (an increase of 18% in 2020 alone).


Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash


In the past year, most shoppers have been using social media to learn about new brands and research products before purchasing. Many businesses have figured out that allowing users to checkout within their social media accounts just makes sense.

81% of shoppers already used social media to discover new brands and research products before the pandemic.

In today’s digital world, consumers are more likely to turn to a social network than they are to search engine results when shopping.

Many social networks have in-app shopping solutions now with live video and new features that help shoppers complete purchases. Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are the most popular social networks for shopping.

Content marketing has become a significant part of the social media landscape. It will only continue to grow as more businesses realise they don’t need to spend thousands on ads to reach their customers.


Fewer people want to talk to your brand on the phone.

Between lockdowns, halting global supply chains, and labour shortages, consumers, have had more urgent questions for businesses than ever before. But their expectations for service are higher than ever. And they’ve discovered that they can get answers to those questions more conveniently using social media.

In a Nielsen survey commissioned by Facebook, 64% said they would prefer to message rather than call a business. 

Gartner’s research predicts that by 2023, 60% of customer service will be done through digital channels. People are more likely to use social media for day-to-day interactions. According to Gartner, “Despite the rise in demand for customer service via social media, many organisations aren’t prepared to deliver effective customer service via social media.


Long-form video is a bust, except on YouTube.

According to video hosting software company Vidyard, 60% of all videos published on the internet in 2020 were under 2 minutes long. Two years ago, with the advent of IGTV and Facebook Watch (not to mention the supposed demise of Snapchat), there was a moment when we all thought the long-form video was the future.

YouTube was known for its long-form educational videos. But it changed its algorithm in late 2018 to reward videos 10 minutes long or more. By 2021 Facebook wanted to compete in the same arena and launched shorts for Youtube.

In late 2019, Instagram launched Reels, a video-making feature that competed with TikTok and Snapchat’s Stories, and it caught on. Will Smith even narrated an IGTV show for National Geographic.


More outsourcing to Creators- at least some of your engagement tactics 

The creator economy has been around for about a decade. But it boomed during the pandemic as people looked for ways to diversify their income (due to unemployment, or a sudden influx of spare time, or both), But we’re not just talking about millionaire YouTube stars. It’s now considered typical for regular folks to monetise their hobbies, create several income streams, or freelance on social media.

The term “creator” encompasses both professional influencer marketers and amateur content creators — basically anyone who writes, edits, designs, and films content to publish on social media with an entrepreneurial motivation.

As of 2021, 50 million people are projected to consider themselves Creators. 

A niche audience is vital if you want to build a brand online. You’ll need to make a shortlist of creators with already established fan bases that match the niche you’re trying to reach. And it’s important to know when and how to pay them fair rates, even if they are micro-influencers.


Learn Paid Advertising 

The Covid-19 pandemic caused a few ups and downs for business marketing on social media. Businesses reduced their spending on ads and complained about low returns on over-saturated networks.

Plus, Apple allowed users to opt out of Facebook tracking. It caused Facebook advertisers to reinvent how they did their ad targeting.

That said, Facebook and Instagram are still the most prominent players in the game in ad revenue yearly.

Social media marketers have plenty of options for reaching their followers. For example, you can get your posts in front of your followers on Facebook by boosting them to target audiences, or you can post directly to Instagram and get it in front of the platform’s 1 billion monthly active users.

No matter your budget, someone on your social marketing team will have to learn how to boost and learn the basics of audience targeting.


Don’t post anything without a social listening strategy.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, companies that had previously been resistant to social listening were forced to engage in it during a crisis. They liked responding in real-time and showing their concern for the public.

But as the pandemic progressed, more businesses learned that social listening could help them understand and predict customer preferences and eliminate potential disasters.


Develop a social audio strategy

It is not just a social media strategy; it is a cross-platform strategy. It will grow your business by increasing your reach and engagement. It’s the perfect tool for storytelling.

The future of online audio content is bright and promising. Audio consumption has doubled in the last two years, with 65 million people listening to podcasts globally. According to 

Clubhouse launched in March 2020 but multiplied in popularity in early 2021. Twitter launched its social audio platform, Spaces, soon after. Facebook is also reportedly trying to enter the temporary live audio format.

These events had many social marketing teams scrambling to decide whether it was worth investing in a social audio strategy.