How brands can navigate a world of mistrust, misinformation, and multiple mindsets.

This year has been one of contradiction and confrontation. We’ve seen increasing diversity and inclusion, but also greater control and nationalism. It’s been a contentious time and our latest Think Forward report examines the trends that have emerged during a year of mistrust, misinformation and multiple mindsets.

We’ve taken a slightly different approach to the report this year and looked at the trends from a new perspective, which focuses more on the human motivations behind these emerging movements. Each trend is categorised around a key social need: Certainty, Connection, Belonging, Status, Progression and Conscience, and by looking at the trends in this way we feel that we’ve gained a greater insight into how they’ll impact us in the year ahead.

Below is a brief summary of the trends we’ve uncovered and you can view the complete report here.

Hyper transparency
Mistrust is mainstream. Brands are in an arms race to win back consumer trust by providing certainty through absolute transparency - not just glossing over the uncomfortable bits.

Automated empathy
AI has EQ. Machines can determine your mood, and data is going deeper than demographics. In the past brands tried to stimulate emotion. Now they can feed off it to build connection.

The new cooperative
Consumers are contributors. It’s not just about about being a casual buyer, it’s about truly belonging in the brand’s community and playing an active role in shaping its future.

Networked status
Micro is macro. Status was once the preserve of the few. It’s now been democratised and it’s about networking at a more personal level.

4D thinking
Perspective is powerful. People are fed a blinkered view – from stereotyping to unconscious bias. Progression is combining different views to deliver a more rounded experience.

Un-Fight Club
Social is divisive. Brands are under pressure to draw a line in the sand. But instead of just choosing a side, you need to let the enemy in to give context to your conscience.