Predictions for the year ahead want to pull us in new directions. But what if the best way to start the year is to double down and stay the course?

In marketing-land, the new year always starts with predictions. Lots and lots of them. We think of it as “trend deck season”.

Of course, most of these predications are just hot air.

But this annual ritual is not all bad. Getting excited about possibilities for the year ahead is not a bad thing.

Even though most predictions will never materialize, engaging with them can still be worthwhile. As Prof G puts it: “Contemplating what may happen encourages us to take responsibility for decisions we make in the present.”

On the downside, though, the sheer volume of predications can be overwhelming at a time when we’re all feeling a little uncertain about even the smallest decisions.

This new year, we prefer this piece from Gareth Turner as a tone-setter for the year ahead. The essence: strive for consistency, persistence and simplicity.

As Turner readily admits, consistency isn’t terribly exciting. If you tell your brand team you prefer consistency to creativity, don’t expect any cheering. We marketers get bored quickly.

And yet, this is how brands are built. Consistency. Repetition. Reliability. These are the forces to transform a brand idea from a thing that exists in a brand book to a thing that exists in a customer’s head.

This isn’t just theory. Research has proven that, in advertising at least, the sweet spot for effectiveness comes from being different from other brands (naturally) but also consistent with your own brand’s past efforts.

The power of consistency actually transcends marketing. It’s an acknowledged hallmark of good leadership.

Be careful though. Too much consistency can morph into rigidity. And at this point in human history (change is the only constant etc.), too much rigidity is a dangerous thing.

Which leads us to our second bit of suggested reading to set the tone for 2020. John Coleman believes that leaders must balance consistency with agility. We like this idea a lot.

Coleman’s advice is to start by understanding your own tendencies. Then surround yourself with people—and processes—that temper your own nature and create balance.

The same concept can be applied to the way marketing gets done. Keep the core consistent, but execute against it with agility. If you need inspiration for a successful 2022, our suggestion is to ignore the trend decks and start here.

Issue #134
Jan 16, 2022

Further Reading