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How will consumer engagement in 2025 challenge brands and agencies?

The Future Foundation, in consultation with IPA thought leaders and clients, and supported by Advertising Week Europe, has undertaken another 10-year trend study to prepare the market for the future. The first phase of findings identifies four scenarios for consumer marketing and engagement to 2025 and a challenging future for brands and agencies unless they adapt to the changing landscape.


The findings will be launched and their implications debated at an Ad Week Europe panel session featuring representatives from Google, Microsoft, Unilever and the IPA at 9.30am on Tuesday 24th March.

Developed through a process of consultation and participation with agency heads and chief marketing officers, the scenarios and debate will highlight how brands and their agency partners must think more strategically about their longer term future and the consumer of 2025 in order to identify the radical innovation that will be needed to compete in a fast-changing world.

Drawing on Future Foundation trend data and forecasts, the study and scenarios are underpinned by four predicted drivers of change: the brand focuses on emotional engagement; the brand focuses on functional engagement; the consumer as enabler/ creator; the brand as enabler/provider.

The most radical future scenario, called iControl, paints a potentially alarming picture for today’s established brands and agencies. It anticipates a future world of tech-empowered, self-sufficient consumers who create tools, services and even products independent of branded influence.

The other three scenarios anticipated in the study include:

Best Buy Brands: brands play a wholly functional role and consumers rely on them to deliver best-in-class products and services. Innovation and performance are prioritised by brands and emotional marketing takes a back seat.

Brand Me-Q: brands have become genuine partners for consumers. Deep emotional engagement and lifestyle management are delivered via advice and entertainment, unlocking creativity and delivering surprise and delight.

Me and the Brand Next Door: self-sufficient consumers see their relationship with brands as friendships. Brands take a back seat, but provide consumers with platforms and opportunities to achieve and fulfil individual potential. Emotional engagement with brands can be high, if less overt than with Brand Me-Q.

Says Melanie Howard, Chair of the Future Foundation: “Whilst many of today’s big brands appear to have the upper hand, consumers are constantly evolving. The aim of this study is to therefore question what the role of marketing communications should be in the always-on, constantly moving and seamless world on interaction and content creation and crucially how brands and agencies can keep pace with consumers.”

Says Janet Hull OBE, Director of Marketing Strategy, IPA: “This new study builds on the success of the first in the series: providing alternative scenarios and a future vision against which agencies and clients can debate their strategic path.”

Following the debate, additional closed-door sessions will take place with clients and agencies to further debate the implications of the scenarios. The full report will be launched at an event in Cannes in June 2015.

The latest findings follow the publication of the Future Foundation and IPA’s seminal report ‘The future of advertising and agencies: A 10-year perspective’. Published in 2006, it provoked significant changes in strategy and focus for leading brands and agencies at the time. Further details:

Watch the full session.

Last updated 26/03/2015

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