And the Winner Is...

Blog Awards

OK, so there’s no official award, but darn it, there should be!

If you’re part of the Akron-Canton ad community, there’s a good chance you’re still basking in the afterglow of the 2018 AAF-Akron ADDY® Awards. If you’re a movie buff, you’re probably planning your Oscar party and wondering if Vanity Fair’s predictions are right for the 90th Academy Awards Show this Sunday (personally, we’re pulling for Frances McDormand.) Or, if you’re just a red-blooded American, you’re humming the Winter Olympics closing ceremony music and maybe still searching for clips of Red Gerard dropping that golden F-bomb (you can take the kid out of the Rust Belt…) The point is – people are handing out major awards left and right this week!

This got me thinking about our industry, and how the creative problem-solving we do for our clients every day is possible in part because of the cool innovations and sharp thought leadership happening all throughout the marketing world. If only, I thought to myself, if only there were some way to recognize the trends themselves. You know, the shifts and breakthroughs that make our working lives genuinely exciting. Then I thought: hold my champagne. With no further adieu, I present WhiteSpace’s top 5 award-winning trends:

Smartest social media tactic

Winner: User-generated content
Why: Ever see an ad or social post that asks you to post a pic using a branded hashtag? That’s user-generated content (UGC), and it’s bloody brilliant. Why? Because people love hashtags. And selfies. Marry the two, and you get content authentically created by your audience that you didn’t pay a dime for. Not to mention the fact that your audience will actually listen to these content-generating users… seriously, 84 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations above all other sources of advertising.

Most “moving” design trend

Winner: Animated logos
Why: Good design doesn’t just look pretty. It serves a strategic purpose. Animated logos, which have been gaining popularity in the last year, are fresh and eye-catching, but they also take a brand’s mark beyond the traditional static logo and allow it to become an active part of the storytelling. With different techniques at play – hide and reveal, hand-drawing, rotating, expanding, etc. – animated logos have the power to embody a brand’s personality in a big way. Here are some of our faves.

Favorite (and not creepy) digital marketing tool

Winner: Geofencing
Why: Geofencing allows you to collect information about your target audience, as well as serve them messages and offers, based on their (smartphone’s) location. Sure, it feels a bit Big Brothery when you drive past Olive Garden and get prompted to review the restaurant. But, brands are using this tool in really personalized and relevant ways (think trade show booth traffic, for example.) And, listen, we know there are some sci-fi level virtual reality and artificial intelligence tactics out there right now. However, geofencing won us over because it’s smart, efficient and affordable (might be a while before VR and AI can check that last box.)

Most talked about target audience

Winner: Millennials
Why: This one was a no-brainer. Basic math tells us that Millennials currently make up the largest age base in the U.S., which makes them the core consumers and career seekers. So, whether selling or recruiting, brands have been bending over backwards to hone in on the right way to connect with this seemingly entitled and unattached demographic. We had a lot of fun unpacking the rich Millennial psyche this past year and developing campaigns that spoke their language. You can read some of our insights here. (Hint: they’re not so bad!)

Wokest messaging shift

Winner: Purpose-driven branding
Why: Really, this shift goes hand-in-hand with the strong Millennial focus that 2017 witnessed. As a whole, Millennials are highly educated, socially aware and genuinely passionate. They are forcing brands to think about not just what they deliver but also what they stand for and what they care about beyond the bottom line. In addition to aspirational brand statements popping up, this trend has seen a widespread shift toward more emotionally driven, B2C-style storytelling… which we simply adore.

Of course, at WhiteSpace, we have our own fairly unique take on awards shows. Follow us on Facebook for live coverage of our March 9 Golden Flush Awards! The “Flushies" is our internal celebration of all the great concepts we’ve created this past year that got, well, dumped.

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