What I Learned This year: 2018 by Manifold

By thesanfranciscoegotist / /

Our second “What I learned this year” comes from the folks at Manifold. Give a read to their observations – they talk about what they learned and how to use it in their 2019 planning. Good stuff.


Cultural issues are in the front seat.

The focus on cultural content, and brands’ integration of sensitive topics affecting our country into their  narratives, has never been greater. For us, pop-up activations, like Bumble Hive LA, became platforms for people to dive into real cultural issues like mental health and the #metoo movement. The trend has gone far and wide, most recently seen in midterm election polling stations that included moments designed for Instagram (I voted!) and even Parkland school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez headlining 2018’s Teen Vogue Summit, in lieu of political luminaries or fashion industry influencers. Brands are leveraging their own platforms to tackle real topics in real, authentic ways and inspiring insightful dialogue. 

2019 Plan: Help clients find creative solutions for cultivating genuine, two-way conversations with their consumers to create culturally-relevant moments that transcend marketing.


The MacGyver designer has emerged.

As the creative landscape and design needs shift in the ever changing world of marketing, a new type of creative is emerging. In our world of experiential marketing, we’re seeing the need for a new breed of designer, who lives in the space between 2D graphic designers, architects, interior and UX designers. They have to have a deep understanding of materials, speed of fabrication, how things fit together, how things ship, creating without attaching to walls, working in unconventional spaces – the list goes on. They sometimes need to know how to MacGyver a design solution, have it be temporary and yet still feel permanent, make it beautiful and effective.

2019 Plan: Look for less traditional marketing creatives – architects, engineers, UX designers, interior designers, etc.


Digital mindsets skew expectations.

We live in a digital world – with the ability to make changes, push pixels, publish and disseminate instantaneously. This mindset is causing brands to lose sight of how long it takes to create physical objects to exist in the real world. While this has an immediate impact on our production of experiences (we literally need to wait for paint to dry sometimes), it also affects our process for thorough strategy and thoughtful design, for which we refuse to compromise.

2019 Plan: Deal with the pain. Pain is temporary and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon. That being said, it doesn’t mean we aren’t going to continue to try educating our clients on lead-time needed to get great work done well.


Cross channel collaboration is increasingly important, but harder than ever.

It’s more important than ever for marketing, social, digital and media teams to align and collaborate with one another more closely. These disciplines rely on each other in so many ways, and when the marketing mix is done right, results are tremendous and speak for themselves. Yet we still often see a chasm between these disciplines.

2019 Plan: Be the change you want to see. Think proactively and holistically about what multi-channel approach is needed to amplify the message, and bring it to the client, as opposed to waiting for the client to align their marketing, PR, social and comms teams. Agencies can be more nimble in order to see the whole picture at once, where brand side can sometimes be tough for aligning teams that aren’t aligned and in some cases might not even know each other.


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