Trends we can’t ignore

 

In marketing, we’re always being asked to look into the future and foresee what’s coming down the road. We get plenty of help as the New Year rolls in, as the predictions freely flow.

One of the most comprehensive looks at the coming year is JWT’s Trend Report. Their report is the culmination quantitative, qualitative and desk research throughout the year. They identify the top ten trends that they believe will significantly impact the coming year and explore how these trends will show up and impact our day to day lives. It won’t surprise you that technology finds itself in the center of most of the trends – interestingly, in some cases as we embrace it and in others, as we try to escape it.

Let’s take a look at the ten trends and how we’re already seeing signs of them in our world.

Immersive Experiences: This trend has significant marketing impact. It’s all about how consumers don’t want to passively watch – they want to actually be immersed in their entertainment, narratives and brand experiences.

Early signs: In 2013, visitors to the Museum of Modern Art could control the rain in a special exhibit and Nike launched their “The Art of Science of Feeling” in New York City, using sensory technology to simulate barefoot running on various surfaces to promote the Nike Free Hyperfeel shoe.

Do You Speak Visual: We’re shifting to a visual vocabulary that relies on photos, video snippets and other imagery, chipping away at the need for text. Apps like Snapchat and Pinterest are making photos the medium of choice.

Early signs: Taco Bell has been sending disappearing, 10-second coupons and new product teasers to consumers using Snapchat and Sony created a program called “Pin it To Give It” that donated a dollar to the Michael Phelps Foundation every time a Pinterest user re-pinned from the board.

Proudly Imperfect: Imperfection in its messy, ugly and flawed glory—is taking center stage in a world that’s become neatly polished and curated. Imperfections provide an unfiltered, very human version of reality that reflects all the diversity that’s seen in everyday life.

Early signs: For a while, everyone was focused on putting their best photo shopped foot forward in their profile photos and status updates. Recently ugly selfies have become a counter to the glamorous self-portraits that proliferate on social media. Trending today are selfies that get tagged with #badhairmondays or #nomakeup moments.

The End of Anonymity: Thanks to the barrage of new technologies and ever increasing efforts to collect personal data, it’s practically impossible to remain unobserved and untracked. As anonymity becomes more elusive, consumers will pushback and there may be a growing paranoia around technologies and services that affect privacy.

Early signs: NEC IT solutions developed a facial recognition system and are selling it to retailers to help salespeople recognize VIP customers and on the flip side, counter-surveillance fashion and accessories are on the upswing for those who don’t want their data collected; OFF Pocket designed by technologist Adam Harvey blocks GPS, wi-fi or cellular signals from reaching a mobile phone.

Raging Against the Machine: As we move further into the digital age, we’re starting to both fear and resent technology, worrying about what we’ve lost as we chase this unprecedented speed of change. 65% of American adults believe that technology is taking over our lives.

Early signs: In Amsterdam, Kit Kat launched wi-fi free zones for people to “have a break.” Simple “analog” toys like wooden puzzles, simple costumes and blocks are flying off the shelf as adults hunger to give their kids a taste of a non-tablet, non-tech life.

Remixing Tradition: No one can say that the world isn’t changing. Our social norms have been dramatically altered and it’s not about to stop now. With this shift comes a new blending of cherished traditions with some very interesting twists that reflect this new world.

Early signs: Pope Francis, who is proving to be far more progressive than his predecessors is shaking up some Catholic traditions and is the first Pope to embrace Twitter. Another sacred icon, funerals, is now being live-streamed so that those far away can join in the event.

Mobile Opens Doors: Especially in emerging markets and poverty stricken areas, mobile devices are becoming a gateway to new business tools, education, and new markets.

Early signs: iCow is a mobile application that helps cattle farmers in Kenya optimize milk production and provides tips to keep the animals healthy. The app also keeps track of milk production, breeding and gestation.

Telepathic Technology: As brain-computer interfaces become more sophisticated and accurate, we are getting closer and closer to actually being able to read someone’s mind and mood. This technology can then instantly create custom responses, based on the data input.

Early signs: In Australia, as part of an effort to raise awareness about driving a car was designed that uses neuron-technology to make it go when drivers are paying attention and slow when they’re not. In a joint project, the Japanese and US Armies are attempting to develop a helmet that would read brainwaves and eventually could allow soldiers to transmit code words to each other just through the power of their minds.

Mindful Living: It should come as no surprise to us that the bombardment of technology upon our daily lives is causing both a huge surge in usage and an almost counter culture shunning of it. People are hungry to live in a more conscious way, shutting out distractions and focusing on the moment.

Early signs: Google holds bimonthly silent “mindful lunches” that allow their employees to commune with themselves and just be. Along the same lines, there’s a big backlash against the FOMO (fear of missing out) movement, which drives people to multitask and feel stressed because they can never keep up. The JOMO (joy of missing out) crowd encourages people to be grateful that they can and do shut down their technology and the noise that comes with it.

The Age of Impatience: Ironically, the last of the ten trends is all about how the constant on-demand economy and information flow has accelerated consumers’ expectation for speed and ever-availability. This combination of impatience and impulsiveness just keeps intensifying.

Early signs: This is one of the more mature trends, so it feels pretty mainstream. Services like Netflix have turned us into binge watchers – often consuming an entire season’s worth of shows in a single weekend. In the same vein, Amazon’s same or next day delivery has made the more typical 3-5 days delivery seem out of touch and unrealistic.

These are trends we can’t ignore.  They’re already influencing our world and it’s just begun.

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