What new Digital Skills will we Need in the Future?

Future of audience engagement
“The question for brands, agencies and media owners alike is what do you need to be able to do to continue to flourish in the world described by these future scenarios. Are some more relevant to you than others? Which areas present real opportunities for your business and how can you best futureproof your current offer to make sure that you adapt fast enough to lead rather than play catch up over the coming decade?”

[Melanie Howard, Chair, Future Foundation]

In my view, we will need many of the same skills we need today, including a stronger focus on understanding the business and its results, creativity, ideas and executions, and the ability to work collaboratively. This means the agency learns more about business, the brand opens the kimono more. Both are challenges today.

Attendees of the Future Foundation / IPA event sponsored by Adweek agreed. Specifically, Microsoft said ‘intuition,’ Google said ‘smart creative,’ and the IPA rep said ‘curiosity.’ In other words, we will need people able to interpret, simplify, and apply, who can provide insights from data and connect the dots.

Trends predict scenarios

The images above depicts four possible scenarios for the relationship or interaction between audiences and brands. Looking at the examples as an extension of current challenges for brands and the agencies that serve them:

  • establishing a coherent presence and brand voice
  • maintaining a consistent product and service experience
  • drawing and keeping attention through emotional appeal
  • collaborating with customers and connecting with audiences
  • keeping an eye on business results without sacrificing innovation

As explained in the deck you can download here for examples and detail:

Brand Me-Q

Brands have finally ascended beyond a lifestyle accessory to become a true partner: where brand consumer relationships are built on a necessity for emotional engagement and lifestyle management – providing advice and entertainment, unlocking creativity, delivering surprise & delight. Many brands are playing in this space today, but few are reaching its full potential.

Me & The Brand Next Door

For the self-sufficient consumer, those who see brands as props for their ego. Brands playing in this scenario will be willing to take a backseat, but will provide consumers with the platforms and opportunities to achieve and fulfill their potential. Emotional engagement with the brand can be high, if less overt.


A future world of empowered, coding and tech savvy consumers who eschew the edited choice provided by brands and prefer to build not only their own interfaces and networks but also products hacked together from different sources. Brands must constantly justify their worth.

Best Buy Brands

Back to basics. Strength is in function and consumers rely on brands to deliver best in class product and service. This is for brands focused on innovation and performance, leaving emotional marketing out of the
picture, for now.

IPA strategy group created a new business model within each scenario (depicted below).

Role of the agency


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