THINK FORWARD >> 2019: Reclaiming our sense of self

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As brands are increasingly expected to have a voice that both engages customers and wields their power to drive positive cultural change, how can they find their place in society without fear of igniting outrage or alienating their audiences? Join us 21st November from 8.30am at our London HQ for an exclusive breakfast, when we’ll be launching our fourth annual Think Forward trends report and aiming to help brands answer just that.

Our Strategy Director, Caroline Lucas-Garner will take attendees through the key behavioural trends around consumer identity which are set to shape social media in 2019, before discussing their wider impact on culture and society with our panel of expert speakers including Lululemon’s Manager, Brand & Digital, Europe, Bronwen Foster-Butler, and Cameron-James Wilson, the creator of the world’s first digital supermodel, Shudu.

Social media is the ultimate representation of globalisation and its gradual blending of cultures. Apart from a handful of authoritarian states, the world is now ostensibly borderless. The ability to engage in conversations with people thousands of miles away, and share similar experiences with different cultures, has been a driving force behind the proliferation of platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Things have been moving at 100mph.

Identities under threat
But in 2018, the brakes were slammed hard. And some brands – including ones as big as Facebook – were left with their noses bloodied. Huge numbers of people have felt their identities to be under threat – politically, from surveillance and data capture; culturally, from appropriation and homogenisation. Now they want it back. As a result, some have rallied against social entirely. Others have used it as a forum for change. Many have engaged in a backlash against big data.

Finding the balance
Amidst the crisis, brands are expected to have a voice that speaks directly with consumers, as well as a role in driving cultural change. Online marketing is more fraught than ever. Many brands are struggling to find their place for fear of igniting outrage or alienating their audience. People expect honesty. Proper representation. Innovation that’s balanced with responsibility.

The role of brands
That’s why our 2019 Think Forward report unpicks the complex and ever shifting web of consumer identity and looks at the role brands play in reflecting and shaping it. We’ll arm you with everything you need, from insights into raging culture and gender debates to the new rules of data. There’s even AI marketing and a robot influencer or two. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned about the 2019 identity crisis, it’s that the solutions lie in digital innovation. We’ll see you in the near future.

Join our panel of experts on the 21st November to find out more. Sign up now to secure your place. Each attendee will be given a copy of the Think Forward >> 2019 report.