Let me begin with what we are not: we are not a social media agency and we are also not a public relations agency. Frances Roy has and always will be a creative marketing agency deeply rooted in relationship building and backed by strategy. I say this because we get siloed into one or the other on a regular basis and neither are true. We provide social media and public relations services to our clients, but always with the bigger picture in mind. We are curious, mindful and deliberate, and we care deeply about our clients’ partnerships.

If 2018 taught me anything, it was that change would challenge our team and the challenge would be brisk. When I first launched this agency, I was drinking the authenticity Kool-Aid on the regular. I repeated it over and over again until we were up to our ears in the stuff — destination authenticity, influencer authenticity, genuine, authentic, authentic authenticity — you get it. Major overkill. Every single person with a Facebook or Instagram account was scrambling to be unique, and in the process, genuine authenticity was lost. Everything looked the same — photos, words, graphics — carbon copies of authenticity.

Now maybe I’m a skeptic, but I don’t buy into the idea that the future is digital. Sure, maybe digital is the vehicle, but I’m still driving, and as long as a human is involved, then sooner or later, intimacy is the demand. Who gives a shit about authenticity? What people really want is TRUST. My grandmother (Frances) says, “if you have to tell everyone you’re a lady, then you’re not.” In my mind, the same goes for authenticity.

Trust isn’t easy because trust is earned. It can be lost and broken and rebuilt. Trust begins with a conversation and relies on real-life human engagement to forge its bonds. Trust is old school, tested, and true. Trust takes us back to the basics and makes us remember who we were before we tried to be so damn unique.

Last year, I made a laundry list of social media and marketing predications. This year is different, and I’m only going to make one prediction: by the end of 2019, the brands who kick the most ass will be the ones who treat their customers like individuals, not demographics. They will care more about the context of their content and less about the quantity. They will listen and engage in human conversations. They will abandon the idea of the celebrity influencer and embrace the sphere of influence that each consumer brings to the table. They will EARN YOUR TRUST.

Only time will tell if this prediction is on target. Remember my Twitter prediction from last year? Yeah, that was wrong. Now I love Twitter — I can’t explain it.

Here’s to 2019!