The Soda Academy

Note from the Editor-in-Chief

Chris Buettner, Editor-in-Chief and Executive Director, SoDA

Welcome to the latest edition of The SoDA Report. In this volume of our biannual trend publication, we explore the theme of Evolution. Agencies, consultancies, brands and other industry thought leaders largely agree that 2016 is shaping up to be an evolve-or-die year. Or, to put a positive spin on it, we might say it’s a year to thrive through intelligent adaptation. While some agencies are going the way of the dinosaur, a forward-thinking cross-section of shops are reporting increased revenues and profits by partnering with clients in new and innovative ways, by bringing their own IP to market and more. Other industry players need to evolve as major shifts in the way consumers use technology, consume media and engage with the world around them are forcing massive changes.

Throughout the 2016 editions of The SoDA Report, we’ll explore top trends and behaviors that leading practitioners in our industry won’t be able to ignore as the year unfolds, and we’ll cast a spotlight on brands, agencies and individuals who are flourishing in this environment.

Within Modern Marketer, Industry Insider and via our Digital Outlook Study (conducted in partnership with Forrester Research for the first time), we’ll also explore how the landscape of creativity and the modus operandi for agency-client relationships are shifting in radical ways. Spurred by rapidly changing consumer expectations and behaviors, agency-client partnerships are expanding in incredibly exciting ways beyond the marketing realm to include business strategy, R&D, product development and customer service.

We are so proud of the growth and development of The SoDA Report over the past year. Our 2015 editions have received over 400,000 views and downloads. In 2016, we’ll also be expanding the special report series we initiated last year under “The SoDA Report on…” moniker, with editions either in development or already published around top-of-mind topics such as the state of agency workflows, future-forward project management methods, experience design trends and the future of media.

I want to thank our Section Editors, our Partners at Forrester Research and all of our contributing authors from around the world. The production of this report is truly a global effort. In fact, in this edition, you’ll discover original artwork that we commissioned from illustrators in Taiwan, Uruguay, South Africa and the UK via Behance to help bring the feature articles to life.

I want to thank Barcelona-based SoDA member, Vasava, for translating our editorial theme of Evolution into a stunning visual metaphor for the cover of this edition. The allusion to mysticism is an apt one, as the changes taking place in our industry also involve a constellation of distinctive practices, discourses, institutions, traditions and experiences aimed at human transformation.

To become a subscriber of The SoDA Reportplease email SoDA and we’ll make sure you have priority access to the release of upcoming editions. We hope you enjoy this issue and, as always, we welcome your feedback, ideas and contributions for future editions.

Chris Buettner
Editor-in-Chief and Executive Director, SoDA