In the second part of a four-part series, we've teamed up with Trendwatching to share 16 social media mega-trends. The first in our series explored the relationship between Status Seekers and Betterment. Part Two unpacks two more mega-trends - YouNiverse and Local Love - to uncover how these big, slow-moving consumer currents translate to the social sphere.

This post was originally published on Trendwatching, and they've been kind enough to let us reproduce it here.

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YOUNIVERSE: What, why and what next
In the consumer YOUNIVERSE, each individual's preferences and tastes reign supreme - so customised products, services and experiences have evolved from being revolutionary to near-ubiquitous. In today's consumption arena, every consumer wants to feel unique, and be served as such.

From the basic - serving a fundamental human need to feel individual, or in control - to the sophisticated (think biometric sensing and facial recognition), brands that can predict consumer preferences or offer post-production customisation are the ones that will succeed in this field.

The We Are Social perspective
We’re now at the dawn of a new level of personalisation. Digital user experience is moving away from apps and websites, and towards more intuitive interactions like chat bots or voice based interfaces like Siri and Cortana. The beauty of these experiences is that all the information that the user is served is bespoke to the user, based on their profile, their previous interactions and real word information such as the time of day and location.

Google’s new Allo messaging service comes complete with AI capabilities which can help users find anything from local restaurants to film reviews - and Amazon's Alexa, launched recently in the UK, can play music literally on request by accessing the user's music streaming services.


The next step to find a truly integrated and genuinely helpful digital personal assistant. Amazon’s Echo is a speaker, search engine and personal assistant rolled into one. Installed in the home, Echo can learn a dizzying array of skills to suit its owners - from tailored news reports, to diary management, thermostat control or music selection. Hot on its heels is Google Home, which claims to go several steps further in terms of personalisation.Screen-Shot-2016-10-06-at-11.17.37LOCAL LOVE: What, why & what next
LOCAL LOVE refers to exactly that - why ‘local’ is, and will remain, loved.

Despite globalisation, despite online; place still matters. Whether driven by a sense of pride, authenticity, convenience and / or eco-concerns, 'local' products, services and knowledge will forever find favor with consumers.

Digital connectivity continues to make the world smaller but, for the much of the world's population, daily life still revolves around a fixed location, such as a city, province or country. Understanding – or at least acknowledging – evolving definitions of local and in a borderless world might not be easy, but brands prepared to take the risk will gain respect and admiration. Don’t deny place, embrace it.

The We Are Social perspective
Tech and, in particular, smartphones, are often blamed for distracting people from their immediate surroundings, but a number of services are springing up to help people better connect with their local communities. Borrowmydoggie is exactly what it sounds like - an app that puts dog owners in touch with dog lovers in the same area. The dog owner gets a low cost dog-sitting service, and the volunteer gets some much needed time with an adorable pooch.

borrowmydoggy2Meanwhile, FixMyStreet connects residents with their local authorities to fix neighbourhood problems ranging from litter to potholes. Rather than having to look up the right local authority contact, people can either fill in an online form or just tweet the details to @fixmystreet and the service forwards it to the right person for them.