Look Ahead, But Look Around, Too

March 1, 2008
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Look Ahead, But Look Around, Too

JENNIFER ACEVEDO/EDITOR IN CHIEF

Despite the fact that I live in the frozen tundra, otherwise known as Chicago, this is actually my favorite time of year. Laid out in front of me are the year’s plans, and still fresh in my mind are the memories of the year past. As an editor, it’s a time to think proudly about what has already been accomplished and to brainstorm about how to make the most of the year ahead.
It seems I am not alone in my musings. I recently came across an interesting study looking back on marketers’ top strategies in 2007 and sharing their top resolutions for 2008. “Unlike most surveys, this one was concerned with marketers’ regrets as well as their accomplishments and goals,” explains Peter Rogovin, managing director of Next Level SMG (www.nextlevelsmg.com), the brand strategy firm behind the research.
It seems that, to no surprise, innovation was a top priority for marketers in 2007, with 70 percent developing or launching an innovation or line extension. I was pleased to note that recognition of packaging as a critical touchpoint continues to grow, with a full 55 percent of those surveyed reporting a package redesign in 2007. Looking ahead, 64 percent of respondents plan to develop or launch additional innovations/line extensions in 2008, and 28 percent said they anticipate a packaging redesign.
But what struck me was that more than one-fifth said they wished they had been less dependent on “tried and true” marketing tactics and had found more creative ways to reach their audience. Hmm, that got me thinking again.
Two years ago, we introduced a special “brandinnovators” issue designed to identify and profile brand marketers at CPG who were dedicated to pushing packaging forward in the brand marketing mix. This month, we are proud to introduce what will become another annual special issue: Brands to Watch.
We’d like you to think of this issue as a peek into the “brandinnovators” of the future—these are the brands just beginning to show up on our radar screens. They are still hungry enough to be willing to take risks and lean and nimble enough to execute with limited budgets and a wealth of creativity.
We believe they have much to teach the one-fifth of marketers in the Next Level study who wished they had been more creative in reaching their customers—and all of us as we look ahead and think about more original ways to stand out from the crowd.

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