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2018 Rewind: 8 Things to Look Back On The Year in Business

2018 Rewind

By Julia Koh & Syira Junaidi
January 2019
Time sure flies. We’re welcoming 2019 already! We’re sure the new year would have many things in store for your business. While we get ready for another year of branding, it’s good to look back on what had happened last year. What milestones were achieved? What would that mean for the coming year?
Here we look at some of the biggest branding and marketing event that happened in 2018 that shaped how business was done in that year:

  1. Age of The Influencer
    2018 was a golden year for influencers. Sponsored contents are published everywhere, endorsed by influencers across multiple industries and categories, even in the B2B sector. Brands like Samsung, Adidas, Fashion Valet, and even General Electric utilised influencers to get some attention on their campaigns this year.

    67% of marketers believe that influencer marketing campaigns had helped them reach a more targeted audience. That’s a good thing. Every marketer knows that getting the right audience is a vital factor is generating brand awareness. And in 2018, influencers had helped brands connect with their audience faster and more efficiently.

  2. Brands Getting On Instagram & Whatsapp
    There are two things Instagram did right in 2018; Instagram Stories and Instagram for Business.

    Instagram’s Stories is so effectively designed that it surpassed Snapchat in terms of usage and popularity in mid-2018. At the same time, Instagram for Business became a powerful marketing tool. It’s a feature that grows fast because it works similarly to FB Ads, fast and convenient, and it can be used by a lot of businesses regardless of budget.

    Then, there’s Whatsapp Business. As one of the most used messaging platform in the world, Whatsapp taps into their wide customer base and monetise their B2B services. With this new service, customers can contact the official business directly instead of messaging individual representatives.


    Picture credit: whatsapp.com/business

    Especially in Malaysia, Whatsapp Business has become a common tool that connects local SMEs to their customers. Even home-based solopreneurs can now look professional with Whatsapp Business.

  3. Brand Storytelling Comeback Story
    Brand storytelling made a big comeback in 2018. With more people blocking ads online and offline, brands are finding new ways to get their attention. With a brand story, marketers found a better way to connect to the audience meaningfully. Some of 2018’s biggest brand stories were from Nike, Mailchimp, and John Lewis.

    65% of the conversation that happens on social media is about brand stories that people saw and watched. Brands have therefore realised the potential of a good brand story and how it can connect the values of the company to the brand’s audience.

  4. A Dwindling Brand Trust
    Several brands faced heavy blows in terms of trust and integrity in 2018.

    We started the year with Facebook’s shocking scandal with Cambridge Analytica. As the world’s top social media platform, the impact of this scandal resonated throughout the year and all over the world. CEOs of Google and Facebook were called to congressional hearings to discuss if their services have malicious intent against the public. And the European Union almost immediately enacted the GDPR, a law to prevent such things from happening again.

    Picture Credit: macouncil.org

    Brand trust continued to suffer as the year progressed. Some of 2018 worst breach of trust include Goldman Sachs (linked to 1MDB scandal), SingHealth (data hack), and Uber (US data breach). As a result of all these news, customers became warier of what information they shared, and became more sceptical to the content and adverts they saw.

  5. Content Is Still King
    Over 860 million blogs were posted on WordPress alone in 2018, not including Tumblr, Blogger and other blogging platforms. 8 billion videos were uploaded on YouTube and much more content posted on social media in forms of infographics, videos, GIFs, and memes.

    Content still rules in 2018, and is getting more traction especially in Malaysia. More and more brands realise that content marketing is no longer a fad, but a practical mechanism in an era of social sharing. Content is also a great combatant against traditional advertising where people trust less these days.

  6. A Boom in Online Shopping
    2018 saw a surge in ecommerce sales, especially during Single’s Day and end-of-year sales. Malaysians, in particular, are adapting fast to online shopping and cashless transactions. This is made easier with the support of a variety of cashless payment methods such as e-wallets like BigPay, GrabPay and Boost, online banking and other technological advances in the FinTech world.

    Adding to the fact that internet is pretty fast in the country, and more and more people are using better internet, online shopping will continue to be a part of Malaysians’ shopping culture.

  7. Rise of The Automatons
    Automation is entering the mass market, in forms of chatbots, voice search and AI. Chatbots are often used for customer service on social media and shopping sites. It saves resources and ensures that customers can be entertained 24/7. Despite the limitations, chatbots can be useful to a brand, done right.

    Aside from chatbots, smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant gained a lot of attention in 2018 for their innovative solutions and benefits. Voice search features like Siri and Cortana are also getting more common as people learn to use them in their daily life.

  8. Designs Going Retro
    In 2018, the design trend leaned towards a retrowave style, with bold neon colours and colour gradients. Bold fonts were also popular on websites and flyers. It’s like the ‘80s are back. GIFs are widely-used currently, as well as animated websites with lots of visuals.

    Brand360 had also hopped into the trend of using gradient colours for our Merdeka and Malaysia Day posts.

2018 was also the year a lot of Malaysians will remember. It was the year where election results actually matter, Asian people and Asian brands getting crazy rich, France won the World Cup, Chatime and Tealive went to court again, and Grab acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia operations.

At Brand360, 2018 had been another great year. We’ve published a brand strategy playbook, an ebook free for download and had helped many clients in a broad range of branding and marketing aspirations. What would 2019 have in store for your business? Be sure to have your branding all planned out!

Brand360 wishes everyone a Happy New Year 2019!

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