Our planet has been pushed past its limits, supply chain and labor issues continue to depress economic growth and the compounding humanitarian crises around the world cannot be ignored. Given these grim realities, who still believes in the future? We do.
From risk to return: 2022 business outlook
To help our clients meet the moment, earlier this year, we acquired LiveArea to create connected commerce experiences that transform customer journeys. Merging LiveArea’s commerce capabilities with Merkle’s customer experience expertise allowed for our clients to better harness the power of digital transformation strategies to unlock new streams of productivity, growth and sustainability.While global disruption is creating turbulence in the short-term, the future trend is toward more connected and immersive experiences. This is unlocking opportunities for brands that are willing to embrace a test-and-learn approach and lead by example.
Code red to humanity
The IPCC report released earlier this year declared “a code red” warning to humanity. The data outlined in this report was bleaker in comparison to past, far more cautious reports. While the effects of past climate change are irreversible, the report also shows that the future is unwritten. People, businesses and world leaders still have the potential to determine the future course and impact of climate change.
It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Sixth Assessment Report
- Respondents put governments (51%), businesses and brands (43%) and the advertising industry (41%) ahead of themselves (36%) for accountability on decarbonizing the way they experience advertising.
- 91% of people want brands to demonstrate they are making positive choices about the planet and environment more explicitly in everything they do.
- 81% of respondents in North America say they would stop using or buying products if they found out they hurt the environment.
- Almost half (48%) of those surveyed said reducing the reliance on carbon from the supply chain would make brands or companies greener in their eyes.
The report further confirms that brands’ onus to be ‘responsible’ now encompasses a wide spectrum of business and societal issues, including social and environmental impact, diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), privacy and protection.
“The Great Resignation”
While the great resignation poses a challenge, it is also the golden era of the empowered employee and the employer to reimagine the future of work. When asked about influence on purchase, 43% of consumers refer to how a brand treats its employees (dentsu Recovery Navigator), suggesting that: “A brand that is modern learns from mistakes of the past. This means that the company treats its employees fairly, equally, and properly…”As an industry, we’ve been steadfast in prioritizing CX and in doing so, we’ve unfortunately lost sight of the importance of prioritizing EX – employee experience. In 2022, we expect to see greater partnership between Chief Marketing Officers and Chief People Officers with the understanding that brand reputation and business growth are predicated on prioritizing talent attraction, retention and engagement.The interplay of flexibility, inclusivity and purposeful work will take center stage, helping employees shape their work around shared values. Looking at our own employee data, 6% of our recent hires are boomerang employees, which validates that the technological and cultural investments that we’ve made when it comes to the future of work are proving fruitful.
The best way to predict the future is to create it.– Peter Drucker
Rather than see ourselves as producers and consumers, we have the unique opportunity to see ourselves as stewards— of innovative business solutions, swift climate action and inclusive culture. We all have a role to play in stewarding progressive change to build a future that truly belongs to everyone.I’d like to close by thanking our people, clients and partners who have been relentless champions for meaningful progress. Together, we’re changing the industry in ways that we’ve known to be improbable, but not impossible. I wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year.