2019 Business Predictions: Katrina Starkie, Marketing Director at Purpose Media

It’s that time of year, when Business Link Magazine invites readers to offer up their forecasts for the year ahead. It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been doing this for almost 35 years.

And, while none of us possess a crystal ball, it is uncanny how accurate some of these forecasts have been over the years.

Here we catch up with Katrina Starkie, Marketing Director at Purpose Media.

2019 is set to be emotional… from a marketing perspective at least.

Pulling on your customers’ heartstrings is a long-standing but often underused marketing method that has been put to good effect by some top brands over the past 12 months.

John Lewis & Partners always gets it right. Its annual Christmas advert has become a firm festive fixture and the emotive stories the adverts tell are designed to get people sobbing into their mince pies, rather than thinking about a particular product.

Tesco, Domino’s Pizza, Boots and even Marks & Spencer got in on the act as the trend gained traction throughout 2018, a year which saw many brands switch their marketing focus from features and benefits to the emotional core of what they do, in a bid to appeal to the hearts, rather than the logical minds, of their customers.

The trend is set to continue into 2019 as more and more businesses wake up to the fact that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

The concept – known as The Golden Circle – was pioneered by American marketing and leadership guru Simon Sinek.

In his global bestseller, Start With Why?, he identified the common trait among great leaders, pioneers and innovators – that people follow them not because of what they do, but why they do it.

The approach explains why brands like Apple, Nike, Dyson, Virgin, McDonald’s and even Reggae Reggae Sauce are able to connect with customers on an emotional level. It’s because they give them something to believe in, then use emotive storytelling to develop that connection.

As 2019 unfolds, we predict that more and more businesses will get in on the act, because good stories give big voices to small ventures.

So, emotion will be the thread that runs throughout marketing in 2019, as organisations continue to discover their ‘why?’ and tap into the power – and the commercial returns – that communicating it brings.