By Cary Hatch, CEO/Brand Advocate, MDB Communications 

Strap yourself in for more industry change and plenty of opportunity. Three areas of note: CSR as the backbone of brand campaigns, re-constituting the Agency eco-system, and the continued in-housing by brands.

Brands that Stand for Something

While data-driven campaigns will continue to be the foundational platform by which to construct and evaluate performance, campaigns will also be driven by creativity that aligns brands with “the peoples’” issues.  Many campaigns, starting in 2017 with Fearless Girl and, in 2018 demonstrated that doing “good” for the greater good is a viable strategy to capture the hearts, minds and wallets of consumers. Weiden + Kennedy’ s lauded Nike campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick undoubtedly proved that standing for something matters. Look for more to come.

Industry Trends: Converge, Merge and Repeat

It appears that the holding-company landscape continues to evolve and, for some, implode. From each contraction and merger there are always a number of nimble independent agencies and consultancies which emerge – many of which return to their foundational roots of creativity and ideation as a competitive mainstay. Good news for brands seeking nimble, inspired creative leadership.

On another front, it appears that re-bundling media with creative prowess under one agency roof is now back in vogue; thereby re-gaining the benefits of synergetic creative and media firepower and outcomes.

Client/Agency Relationships Redefined:

The growth of in-housing will continue. For the last several years, brands have pulled both creative and/or media disciplines in-house in an effort to be more nimble, responsive to consumers and cost effective. This is a trend that is likely to continue into 2019 and beyond. For agencies to be part of the client consideration set: third party objectivity, “playing well with others” and delivery of uniquely inspired creative solutions will be a key criteria to win assignments.

Despite the speed of a changing industry landscape, the resourcefulness and innovation that agencies provide are highly desirable in an ever increasing competitive marketplace. There’s plenty of opportunity ahead, but you just may need a helmet.

MDB Communications, a Capitol Communicator sponsor, is a D.C.-based agency.  

Capitol Communicator is running a series of posts about predictions regarding what’s ahead in 2019. If you have thoughts on what’s ahead in 2019, email Phil Rabin, editor of Capitol Communicator, at

You can check out other predictions in Insights.

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