2018 – The Shift In Paradigm

As we progress into 2019, it is time to do a status check on 2018. It has been an epic year to say the least and we keep hearing about unprecedented change in the global consciousness. Don’t worry, we are not going all voodoo on you – but we have to admit that this shift in paradigm, this new approach to human relations, connection, empowerment has been felt everywhere… even in Marketing and brands! Still doubting? Let us explain.

01 – A STORY OF AUTHENTICITY

With social media leading the way as the preferred platform for news broadcast, and the controversial foray into differentiating between real vs fake news, it is safe to say that people have now become incredibly skeptical towards brand and marketing. They no longer trust what they see and what’s more, they are INFORMED, armed with information available in just one swipe. They are not only ready to research and be their own best advocates, but they will not hesitate in shaming brands that fake it – you can just take a look at the war that started against #greenwashing to see it !

What does it mean for brands?
It means that you need transparency! Be authentic, say things as they are – connect to your audience through honest emotional human stories. Keep it simple, and genuine and speak the truth. Do not fake it! They will see it, and you will end up in a worse position than you were in before.

Everlane
Everlane

Credits: Everlane

02 – FINALLY EMBRACING DIVERSITY

Accepting the diversity of bodies, cultures, beings, etc has long been part of the conversation – but in 2018, it was no longer a whisper! It was citizens, men, and women shouting off the top of their lungs for the right to exist, to be who they are without shame and to affirm what they stand for.  Gone are the days of the perfect “model” body and uniformity. Today, consumers are reclaiming the beauty of diversity.

Rihanna paved the way and broke stereotypes by dressing women of different sizes and varying skin tones in beautifully-designed lingerie to promote her latest venture – Savage x Fenty. It was not so much the fact that diversity was represented in a commercial that was revolutionary, but rather the fact that a commercial product had been designed FOR diversity, with more than 1 nude shade that was FINALLY not only of a pale beige colour!

What does it mean for brands?
It means that brands will now need to ACCOUNT for diversity and stop creating negative stereotypical characters. It will all be about creating positive stories of #selflove, #selfdevelopment and acceptance. Encouraging people to be the best version of themselves and NOT trying to force them into what they are not.

savage x fenty

Credits: Savage x Fenty

03 – ORGANISING THE CLUTTER

There is a #MarieKondo obsession spreading like wild fire. If you are skeptical, check out Netflix as she even has her own show to re-organise people’s home, and if you have not yet checked out her book, we encourage you to do so here! But what is it about? Minimalism? Not really. It is more about decluttering, letting go of what does not serve you, keeping what brings you value and joy – and most importantly, creating beauty around you.

This is a trend that has permeated into brands. People are TIRED of overly cluttered websites – messy, disorganised and drowning in useless information. They want simplicity, value, authenticity and aesthetically-pleasing experiences. SK-II understood that well and relaunched their website with an uncommon interface for the beauty skincare world. They broke the grid to give focus and clarity, liberating their users from never-ending promotional pop-ups and focusing on what really matters.

What does it mean for brands?
Sort through your information. What brings REAL value to your consumers, and what can you get rid of? What would excite you to read? Imagine if you had to explain your products and services to your grandmother, would she understand? And don’t be afraid to outsmart your competitors and try something disruptive to change the user experience.

sk-ii

Credits: SK-II

04 – GETTING REAL WITH SUSTAINABILITY

Sustainability you said? Oh it is more than that! People are ANGRY, remember? Now they have access to information. They KNOW what is happening and 2018 has been a year of realisation. They have started to really understand what is happening on this planet and the responsibility that brands have in making this world a better place both environmentally and socially. And, most importantly – they have now understood that they vote with their dollars, so they are becoming extremely aware of the brands they support.

It means that companies need to take this seriously and more and more businesses have started incorporating the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) into their strategy plans – focusing on a select few to make sure they follow through. Is it a hack or is it for real? Please believe that it is for real, and your commitment to those goals will affect the purchase decision of your consumers. As such, one of our newest project with Essilor shows how they hope to eradicate poor vision by 2050, and what they are doing to work towards that goal on a global scale.  –  Essilor See Change

What does it mean for brands?
Get real with your environmental and social goals. Decide what you stand for and be vocal about it. Show transparency, give numbers to prove that it is not just all for marketing and be ready to answer question. And, if you don’t know where to begin, start by switching to FSC-certified papers and soy ink for your printed collaterals.

Essilor See Change

Credits: Essilor

05 – NAVIGATING BIG DATA AND DIGITALISATION

Yes, with the fresh horrors of the Black Mirror series, we know all too well the upward trend of a soon-to-be fully digitalised world. Whether we want to or not, devices are becoming more and more concise, everything you need is not even at one’s fingertips anymore, but in one word. “Alexa…” With that, designs are becoming more and more personalised, your data is collected and solutions are now more or less tailor-made for you. Even the ads you see on websites and social media platforms, are refined to make sure you like them.

Brands need to move with this trend and Spotify has beaten the nail on the head with its continued ad series based on user-generated data. Innovative and relevant, they talk about the music streaming app without showing it, but rather focusing on how users use it.

What does it mean for brands?
It is going to be a balancing act between using big data to create advertising strategies that are relevant to your target group, and not just based on personal preferences or how cool it looks – while respecting the limits of private life and ethics. The question is how will YOU handle it?

Spotify 2018 Wrapped

Credits: Spotify

And for 2019?
What do you think the trends will be?


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