Eileen Mannion is VP of U.K. marketing and EMEA events and experiences at Google. Here, she shares her favourite Think with Google articles from 2022 and explores why businesses that create value for consumers will be set up for success in 2023.
There’s no doubt that 2022 has been another period of profound change and uncertainty. Consumers are changing habits, and to keep pace, it’s important to meet them wherever they are and help them navigate uncertainty. Businesses that invest wisely during a downturn and continue to create value for consumers are best positioned to flourish in the long term.
Put your customers first and focus on creating great experiences that reflect their world, include everyone, and respect their privacy.
I’m happy to share a few of my favourite Think with Google articles from 2022, which all tie back to the theme of creating value for consumers. Whether it’s producing content that uplifts them and reflects their world, making services more accessible, or delivering privacy standards that exceed customer expectations, it’s clear that leading with your brand values really matters. It’s good for consumers, it’s good for society, and it’s good for business.
Mirroring our world: Open platforms are supporting diverse talent
It’s hugely powerful when people can see themselves in ads or the content they watch or when that content provides new insights into the lives, challenges, and successes of other people. I’m proud that platforms such as YouTube are helping lower the barriers to entry for diverse creative talent in the U.K.
Our Mirrors & Windows report back in October surveyed more than 10,000 people in the U.K. about how their identity informs what they watch. It’s a great read for better understanding the vital role brands and advertisers can play in empowering diverse talent and the valuable connections this can create with audiences.
Next year, I think we will see consumers engaging even more deeply on platforms where they can find the content they love, created by people they trust — allowing businesses to connect with audiences in an authentic way.
Open to all: The promise of accessibility
There are 14.6 million disabled people in the U.K., and 21% of working-age adults are disabled. Creating accessible content is not just the right thing to do for the disabled community; it creates better experiences and opportunities for all consumers and businesses.
Accessibility can be the missing key to connecting with customers. Simple changes to your website and other assets can help millions of people to engage with your brand and feel valued and empowered. In June, we spoke to Procter & Gamble, Just Eat Takeaway, L’Oréal and Booking.com about their work with disabled employees and customers and designing and building truly accessible websites.
We are all on a journey to create more accessible work. That’s why at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2022, we released All In, our inclusive marketing toolkit and a guide to internally scale best practices and learnings. We have shared it publicly with the hope it will improve the representation of disabled people in the media and help create work that is fully accessible.
Providing accessible digital experiences and products doesn’t just help the billions of people living with a disability — it removes barriers to communication and interaction that can benefit us all.
Exceeding expectations: Why a privacy-first world is good for marketers
Finally, as more of our lives continue to shift online, people have become more focused on how their personal information is collected, stored, and used. Digital privacy has never been more important.
Earlier this year, we asked 20,000 people across Europe for their views on online privacy and discovered the extent to which a negative experience with their data can impact brand trust. The benefits of getting it “right” were clear: when people feel in control of their data, they are three times more likely to react positively to advertising.
People want rewarding online experiences, delivered with the privacy they deserve by brands they can trust.
Brands must increase their focus on creating great privacy experiences, which will become imperative as we begin to phase out third-party cookies. From harnessing first-party insights to establishing the right team, it’s a theme captured in detail in Think with Google’s excellent privacy primer.
People want rewarding online experiences, delivered with the privacy they deserve by brands they can trust. And in 2023, brands that can meet or even exceed people’s expectations on these key points will be best placed to thrive.
Looking forward to 2023
Ongoing uncertainty is top of mind for both consumers and businesses as we head into the new year, but one thing is clear: if you put the user at the centre of everything you do, the rest will follow.
Focus on creating great experiences that reflect their world, include everyone, and respect their privacy. During these times, we have an opportunity to show up for our customers and create content that can surprise and delight, be strong enough to shift even long-held beliefs, and win their hearts and minds.