2023 Marketing Trends: The Geile/Leon List

Terri Waters

2023 Marketing Trends: The Geile/Leon List

After a couple of years of tumult and chaos in the business world and the world at large, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to settle in and rely on some predictable outcomes in 2023?

For instance, knowing that a targeted digital ad campaign is going to draw the right prospects to you? That a PR story will give prospects a better sense of your organization’s values and goals?  That a motion-graphics video will inspire confidence in your products?

Tried-and-true marketing tools like these examples will continue to be an important piece of the marketing pie in 2023. Phew.

But what are some of the bigger picture trends that we can expect to see?

We certainly hope this year is going to be a bit more stable, offering a calmer environment in which to conduct business and grow your organization. While we don’t have a crystal ball, we do see that organizations have become more nimble as a result of navigating the pandemic, supply chain issues, worker shortages and inflation. People are using creativity and hard work to make things happen for their stakeholders, whether they’re customers, students, donors, government or the public. Bottom line: the resiliency many organizations have built over the past several years will serve them well no matter what comes their way.

But challenges still dominate because people are still unsettled. We’re all still figuring out if the world is in a “new normal” or back to “the way things used to be.” Or someplace in between.

What does this have to do with marketing? Well, successful brands have evolved with the times, and are tweaking or reimagining their messaging, tone, and visuals in order to meet customers where they are, letting them know, “We hear you and understand you.”

These marketers are keeping their brands relevant by refreshing their messaging, look and feel. They’re aware that we’re operating in a very different marketplace than the one from a few years ago.


This focus on rebranding and refreshing to stay relevant is our top pick for trends to expect in 2023.

What else is new for 2023 in marketing?  Here are our predictions, based on our experiences with clients and watching major brands evolve in a post-pandemic world.


More Brand Building

Along with the need to rebrand, many organizations are pivoting to marketing tactics that focus on the overall brand rather than a specific product or offering. This strategy helps communicate values like trust, reliability and customer focus, all of which are important in retaining clients during times of upheaval.

Brand-focused messaging also helps lure new prospects who want to know what you stand for and what they can expect if they buy from you or hire you.


Authentic Videos

Not surprisingly, using high-performing videos as conversion ads will continue to trend in 2023. Short-form videos, particularly when they have an authentic rather than a produced vibe, will engage social media followers at a much higher level than other content.

TikTok, as well as Reel ads on Facebook or Instagram, are the place to be, allowing marketers to demonstrate how their products meet customer needs – whether it’s about making life easier, providing better results, or delivering great value.

Social media algorithms love video content, so keep it going!


Conversational Marketing

If you’ve ever been to a comedy club or had the good fortune of sitting in the audience for a late-night show, you’ll know that someone comes out first to “warm up” the audience with jokes and questions. Producers know that it’s better to send out the headliner when the audience is already receptive to having a good time.

We also know that good salespeople always establish rapport before launching into a pitch.

In a similar way, conversational marketing softens “the sell” by engaging with people on a personal level. In a live chat or phone call, for example, reps are trained to be personable and warm. Even chatbots have good manners.

Conversational marketing also includes live events on social media. Responding to queries and comments in real time allows you to deepen relationships with people interested in your brand. Direct messaging in response to complaints offers a chance to mend and strengthen ties with customers.

Be sure to review transcripts of two-way conversations with customers, including conversations via your chatbots. You’ll get great insights to help you understand your audience better and can even use their phrasing in your marketing outreach.


Competition for Google Search

Google should be worried as we launch into 2023. TikTok, Amazon, SnapChat and other platforms are becoming increasingly popular search tools, particularly among young people. Gen Z is now using TikTok more than Google as a search engine, not only to look for restaurants, stores and products, but also to figure out how to fix things and research the meanings of words and phrases.

Snap Maps on SnapChat direct people to find local businesses, and Instagram keeps followers up-to-date on trends. Both are increasingly being used as a search tool.

For marketers, this means more opportunities to provide content. It’s important to keep the focus on creating engaging content that is helpful and educational for consumers, without overselling.

Now that you’ve made it through our list, what’s your priority for 2023?

If you’re curious about a brand refresh, how to leverage video in your social presence, or anything else in the marketing toolbox, then give us a call or shoot us an email. Or message us on our social media channels. We’re listening!

Are your sustainability claims sustainable?

Terri Waters

Are your sustainability claims sustainable?

As brands look to gain a competitive advantage, they may be tempted to jump on the sustainability bandwagon. It seems more and more organizations, from manufacturers to banks to sports teams and everything in-between, claim they are committed to sustainable practices or that their products are eco-friendly. 

While embracing sustainability is no doubt a good thing for the planet, it’s important to avoid overstating the activities your organization is undertaking or the resulting benefits. The last thing you want for your brand’s reputation is to be accused of “greenwashing.” 

Greenwashing is essentially painting a rosier picture than what is true regarding your sustainability initiatives. And customers aren’t having it. Especially Gen Z’ers. 

These post-millennials have high expectations for the brands they support. That includes wanting to see a commitment to and evidence of environmentally safe and eco-friendly practices. 

Adweek recently wrote that Gen Z consumers are “emboldened with the idea that they can and will make a difference, no matter the scale of the mountain in front of them, and they’ve been taught to believe that their voice and values deserve to be heard by the many, including the brands that serve them.”

TikTok calls out greenwashing

The hashtag “greenwashing” has almost 20 million views on TikTok, which caters heavily to a Gen Z audience. The highest trending #greenwashing posts include an influencer testing a supposedly compostable plastic spoon and finding it had not broken down at all after five months in a compost bin. “They claim these plastics are compostable and then this happens,” the young woman in the video says.

Another popular TikTok’er calls out two brands that sell reusable products wrapped in plastic and another one that dyes their product green to convey an eco-friendly message. 

A young man on TikTok criticizes McDonald’s for tearing down one of its restaurants, built in the 1980s, to make way for a brand new, “sustainable building” with rooftop solar panels. “This McDonald’s gets me so mad. This is a textbook example of corporate greenwashing… Completely gutting and destroying a building is not sustainable, unless you perfectly find a way to recycle all the building materials which none of these (media) articles mention they’re doing.”

He then tags the chain’s TikTok account: “@McDonald’s show me the data that this was the only way.”

Frustrated consumers

Concern for the environment isn’t limited to Gen Z, of course. In a recent Adweek-Morning Consult survey, consumers of various ages expressed frustration with greenwashing campaigns. Half said that brands and agencies should share legal responsibility for misleading claims related to the environment. 

Some European countries are proactively cracking down on greenwashing. For example, a French court found Adidas guilty of misleading consumers in ads about the recycled content of its athletic shoes. The copy didn’t state whether the materials used to make the shoe are recycled or if they can be recycled and if so, how. 

Adidas was also dinged for their “End plastic waste” logo which the court said is misleading. “Buying a product made partially with recycled plastic will not put an end to plastic waste,” the court said in its ruling.

It’s likely we’ll start to see these types of cases in U.S. courts at some point. 

Meanwhile, we recommend staying the course and double-checking any sustainability claims your organization is making. Unless you can back them up, it’s better to stay clear of phrases or statements that could raise eyebrows, or worse — get you tagged in a #greenwashing post. 

A proactive step a brand can take is to focus on one specific action the organization is taking to reduce its impact on climate change, and explain it in detail. If you’re working on further initiatives to become more sustainable – it’s fine to say that. Just don’t overstate it. Building and maintaining trust with your audience has never been more important.