Matthew Keegan
Sep 11, 2023

Dentsu's latest report reveals 78% of CMOs worry about the inextricable link between climate change and economic volatility

TOP OF THE CHARTS: The 'Creativity at a Crossroads' report shines a light on what CMOs around the world are thinking about when it comes to brands, business, and creativity.

Dentsu's latest report reveals 78% of CMOs worry about the inextricable link between climate change and economic volatility

Source: Dentsu Creative CMO Report 2023

Each year Dentsu Creative surveys hundreds of CMOs around the world in order to understand what they are thinking about brands, businesses, and creativity in communications.

Winning the audience
  • 30% of respondents chose ‘owning the customer relationship’ as their main concern for both 2023 and as they look forward to 2030.
  • 28% said understanding and responding to changing consumer behaviour’ is a primary concern. With ‘representing more diverse audiences’ scoring (28%), and ‘understanding and keeping up with new technology’ also at (28%).
  • 23% of respondents worried about how to market to Gen Z.
  • 77% of marketers agree that while consumer behaviour has undergone rapid changes in the last five years, the agency model is yet to respond.
Augmented humanity
  • 87% of CMOs agree that brands today are built through experiences. This number rises to 93% in Australia.
  • 84% of marketers believe that every aspect of the customer journey can and should tell the brand story, from Comms to Commerce, while 88% agree it is essential that the customer experience matches up to the brand promise.
  • The key ingredients in creating truly brand-building experiences were identified as “technology that enhances the creative idea” (48%) and “innovative new interfaces such as gaming, virtual worlds, gesture, and touch” (48%). Closely following were “Delightful interactions enhanced by technology such as AR and Image Recognition” (45%) and “A powerful organising idea that shapes the Experience Vision” (43%).
  • The most commonly used technologies CMOs claim to be leveraging today include social commerce (35%), chatbots for CX (28%), virtual brand properties like avatars and idols (28%), and virtual reality (27%).
Cultural capital
  • 79% of CMOs agree that ‘in a world where advertising is easier to ignore, it’s more important than ever to entertain and engage.’
  • 86% agree brands should aspire to create culture and build their own audiences, creating content and entertainment properties consumers actively choose to spend time with.
  • 58% agree that advertising doesn’t entertain enough; marketers in China (75%) are most likely to agree on the need to entertain.
  • 38% Of CMOs say they have already invested in ‘branded content’ as an entertainment marketing tactic. 37% have invested in TV Programming, 34% in Influencer partnerships, 33% in Publishing, and 32% in Entertainment Platforms, and IP.
  • 54% of respondents agreed that YouTube has very high potential for creative expression, closely followed by Instagram at 51%.
Purpose gets real
  • 69% of CMOs agree that we are so focused on purpose, we have forgotten how to sell.
  • 78% of marketers believe that in a world where economic volatility is accelerated and exacerbated by climate volatility, there is no longer any disconnect between what is good for society and what is good for business.
  • 81% of CMOs agree that their business will undergo a fundamental pivot in response to climate change while 78% state that every brand should possess an ethical purpose or a socially conscious mission.
Funding fears
  • While 86% of CMOs express excitement about the industry's future, with 83% feeling positive about its impact for years to come (rising to 94% in China), there is a strong desire to balance business objectives with more ethical considerations.
  • 62% are worried about the potential adverse consequences of their campaigns and investments on the environment and on society.
  • 64% express concerns that their media spending may inadvertently contribute to political polarization, raising questions about advertising’s role in shaping public discourse.
AI: frenemy at the gate
  • 83% say that AI will enable human teams to take on more creative tasks, while 86% agree that it will improve efficiency.
  • 87% of marketers affirm that Generative AI represents the future of advertising and marketing, while 26% express their intention to adopt Generative AI soon. However, it is telling that over half of respondents (57%) agree that Generative AI might take their jobs.
  • 61% of respondents agreed that Generative AI will impact society for the worse. While 75% said Generative AI can never fully replace the essence of human creativity.
Connected people
  • 83% believe brands benefit from consolidating their efforts with one agency holding company, acknowledging the power of the network in a data and technology driven-world.
  • Yet 85% of marketers also value the diversity of thought that comes from partnering with multiple agencies, calling out the flexibility and agility of local partners.
  • 77% of CMOs agree that we need to recommit to brand, 35% agreeing “strongly."
  • 75% agree that we need to double down on performance, with 33% agreeing “strongly." Of course, there are significant local nuances—China, Brazil, and Italy are significantly more likely to agree that now is time to focus more on brand.
Campaign Asia

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