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Digital Industry Snapshot: Cicero & Bernay’s Tariq Al Sharabi

Tariq Al Sharabi, Managing director, Cicero & Bernay Communication Consultancy

How did the digital ecosystem change last year?

Brands sought to diversify their strategies to enter the metaverse with the latest, enhanced augmentation technologies, and the introduction of web 3.0, which drove the change for digital ecosystems last year, helping marketers deliver more targeted ads to consumers. 

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Which of these trends will spill into 2023 and what changes do you expect?

Automation and AI are still growing and could reach new heights empowered by tools such as ChatGPT. Additionally, in terms of ecological sustainability, digital technology may take the lead, particularly with regard to the application of analytics and the traceability of renewable energy sources. This constantly changing world demands adaptability, and 2023 will be all about streamlining such technologies and tailoring them to brand communication strategies.

What can brands do differently to accelerate their digital strategy?

For brands to build effective marketing strategies, they need to focus on the long term and continue building to remain agile by learning, testing and moving. To achieve long-term effects, businesses must shift away from short-termism and concentrate on enhancing their value and brand credibility. They must embrace new offerings such as TikTok’s products, for example, to engage customers more effectively at all stages of the buying cycle.

What are some of the biggest challenges you foresee?

The primary challenge that every brand faces is the need to stand out among the clutter of online messages and strategies. Every year brings new tactics, marketing trends and initiatives that your brand will inevitably need to adopt to ensure relevance. As such, finding the right mix and means of customising continues to be a pillar for each brand in the current digital zeitgeist. Of course, this is all predicated on the importance of keeping your finger on the pulse of all updates and trends, which is a challenge in itself, to pre-emptively amend your strategies.

What are the biggest opportunities brands can gear up for this year?

Communicators are more experienced and versed with digital speak than ever before, employing tools and tactics effectively to harness the power of advanced technologies and machine learning. These are processes that brands need to use and take advantage of by planning ahead, effectively budgeting their strategies, and formulating robust partnerships to help them navigate this constantly changing world. In essence, they no longer need big teams; all their tactics and strategies can be conceived and executed within weeks by working with agencies with the right mindset and resources to make it happen.