It might come as a surprise that the ad marketplace in Europe is looking more buoyant considering on-going austerity arguments between Germany and Greece, socio political unrest with Ukraine and Russia locked in a violent struggle, and with a referendum on UK membership of the EU seeming a strong possibility; but with Advertising Week Europe now in full swing, the following six trends highlight why the ad industry is actually in a good place:
1) Ad budgets seen as an investment
With the economies of Europe improving so does competition, particularly for share of attention. To cut through the clutter and communicate brand differentiation, creativity and innovation in communications are key - which is where the ad industry excels. Advertisers are demanding more sustainable and ownable brand strategies underpinned by more accountable marketing solutions which is driving increased activity.
2) Technology and big data drive an 'always-on' approach
Using the latest technology to capture, analyse and communicate learnings from data is driving an 'always on' approach to advertising. Turning 'big' data 'smart , businesses are increasingly able to move from pure 'messaging' to being able to create timely 'desire' building conversations with consumers to convert 'demand'. As a result, brands can change direction and move fast across different European markets taking advantage of opportunities in real-time. This is driving real cross-country and channel fluidity, powered by a thirst for greater profit and optimised business performance.
3) The 'feel good' factor is returning
The European Central Bank is delivering a quantitative easing initiative that will pump over a trillion euros into European bonds over the next 18 months. Add onto this record-low inflation, oil prices remaining significantly lower year on year, sky high share prices and positive GDP growth, and you see more confident consumers with more money to spend.
This is great news for a number of advertisers, especially those rooted in discretionary spending verticals like eating out, fashion and consumer electronics. Those who leverage this consumer sentiment now will deliver positive long-term relationships with their desired audiences.
4) Homogenisation of the European marketplace
The world is shrinking as globalisation continues at pace. Europe's 500 million-strong population is therefore beginning to have much more in common, displaying similar sets of behaviours. Despite the rise of political nationalism in many countries, we increasingly have the same lifestyles and want the same products and services. This is being driven by more frequent air travel and improved mobile technology, and is creating a landscape that's much easier for businesses and advertisers to navigate.
5) Brands can be tomorrow's leaders
The mobile revolution has provided the opportunity for brands to occupy a more meaningful role in the lives of young people. They have the opportunity to fill the void left by governments and institutions across Europe to energise and inspire the trust of young people.
OMD is seeing a trend towards clients wanting to be more authentic, socially responsible, and valuable in order to serve a new breed of millennial consumers who have grown very cynical with a 'profit without purpose' brand agenda. Moving forward, brands must place sustainability and transparency at the heart of business and communication strategies to stay relevant.
6) The UK is helping to drive EU growth - particularly via the service industries, such as advertising
The UK has emerged as a dynamic member of the EU club and benefits significantly from its £12 billion investment into EU coffers. After all, Europe is the UK's largest trading partner, with over 50 per cent of all exported goods and services being consumed by the bloc, supporting more than three million domestic jobs.
Into this bloc the UK has a great opportunity to export their successful 'service' economy, particularly in advertising and marketing, where it has a unrivalled reputation for quality and innovation.