Using our AI-powered intelligence platform we have quantified the most relevant cultural trends affecting Connect brands Now and predicted which will lead the zeitgeist Next (within five years). By quantifying the signals related to each trend, we can predict with 85% accuracy.
The democratizing power of Connect means that people traditionally being thought of as Outsiders or Other are being brought into, and becoming part of, the norm. This presents an opportunity for brands that can create new ideologies, give voice to subcultures, and change what is considered valuable.
• While many consider it controversial to think of 50.8% of the US population as “other”, until now only 1% of health care research and innovation has gone to women’s health conditions (outside cancer). The FemTech industry is set to grow to $65.3B by 2027.
• The Federal Reserve is exploring a digital currency, among the benefits: helping the 5%+ of American households that are unbanked with no way of using digital payments. Experts estimate it’ll take 5-10 years to launch.
Because of transformation and innovation in virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality media, it is now easier to experience reality from different perspectives, resulting in experiences that allow audiences to see the world through other people’s eyes. Can Connect become an enabler of deep empathy?
• TV Documentary Uses Virtual Reality to Reunite People With Loved-Ones Who Have Passed Away (News)
• OVR Technology is bringing smell to virtual reality with new climate change experience
As systems become more interconnected, consumers are hyperaware of how changes to one aspect of life can cascade throughout the ecosystem of the lives, which is providing opportunities for brands that take an ecosystem approach to market – intentionally leveraging efficiencies in one category to exploit inefficiencies in another market. How do you make your brand a sought-after ingredient?
• In this report: Five Questions with Matter, Time Magazine’s Innovation of 2021.
As technology continues to expand its role within people’s personal and professional lives its negative impacts including decreased focus, disrupted sleep and depressive symptoms are also growing. This is leading to an emerging industry of products and services designed to counteract tech’s effects (e.g., blue light glasses) as well as increased scrutiny on the responsibility technology companies have to the people impacted by their products.
• The Dark Patterns website helps gamers choose games that are not designed to be addictive.
• Wordle exploded in popularity between November 2021 and April 2022 – from 90 to over 2 million players. In contrast to most other games, Wordle is not designed to be addictive, and is an enriching and mildly competitive way to stay connected to your community. So far, at least, the game has declined to monetize its place in the attention economy.
Because of the proliferation of network-based communications, from forums to social media and more, likeminded people can self-identify and form groups around common mindsets, resulting in the amplification of tribal and fandom behaviors as well as in the more sophisticated coordination of time, messaging and activities.
• BookTok, a TikTok community often involving members discussing books in physical bookstores, has led to a spike in sales at Barnes & Noble. B&N says 2022 sales are on pace to beat 2021 and 2019. The BookTok hashtag has been viewed 43B times.
• Adidas launched a paid affiliate program that will allow the 50k+ student athletes at Adidas-sponsored D1 universities to be paid brand ambassadors.
As technology becomes more integrated with our lives and AI bots and assistants become more ubiquitous, consumers are seeking design that bridges the gap between the technical and the natural worlds. Whether that means technology that adds warmth through natural materials or voice assistants that share a sense of humour, consumers are looking for technology that reflects back their humanity.
• Soft robotics: Meta said it’s spending ~$10B this year on VR, AR, and hardware related to the metaverse, including a warm tech glove that reproduces sensations and replaces bulky haptic tech.
The scale of leading Connect brands, and the radical increase in the novelty and complexity of global issues like climate change, pandemics, civil rights, biodata rights, and others, means consumers increasingly look to Connect to be leaders of change. Citizens expect both private and public sectors to demonstrate leadership and actively create solutions.
Some of the rising brands in Interbrand’s 2021 study are Acts of Leadership – actively expanding possibilities, by driving decisive innovation, developing kinder, more viable business models, making hard choices and taking uncompromising stances. These brands lead from a better future. They engage people and foster their participation, making them part of a movement. Ultimately, they become more than simply relevant – they are seen as part of the solution, not the problem. Their growth becomes a matter of common interest. Read Brands as acts of leadership article.
Brand as Civil Servant
Connect’s impact on the media landscape makes marketing to consumers difficult at best. Brands and corporations are extending corporate responsibility tactics to more visible areas like infrastructure, education, and healthcare, aiming to win the goodwill and attention of consumers – resulting in fast food joints serving up electricity, and tech giants solving disease.
• Google researchers are exploring whether photos of the exterior of a person’s eye, taken with existing tabletop cameras in clinics, could be used to detect diabetes-related diseases. Greg Corrado, Head of Health AI, said the research has had early, promising results. Now, Google will work on clinical research with partners, like EyePACS and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (CGMH), to investigate if photos from smartphone cameras can help detect diabetes and non-diabetes diseases from external eye photos as well.
Powered through Connect brands, whether through remote working, robotics, or AR/VR, distance will become a defining experience of the workplace. What will create cultural unity, fruitful collaboration and emotional alignment in the absence of physical proximity? Can a brand become the permanent connective tissue of an organization?
• Remote work: Data scientists predict that 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022 and demand will continue to grow. At this rate, within a generation or two, the 40-hour workweek and workplace practices of the 20th century will be relics of the past.
Because of increased advancement in AI and the expanding sphere of data collection and personalized experiences, entrepreneurs and technologists are investing in technologies that are able to read human emotion and use that data for a variety of uses across product selection and sales, mood management and optimization, and interactions with bots or assistants.
• “Affective computing” or “emotion AI”—is redefining the way we experience technology. Retailers are integrating AI-powered bots with customer segmentation and CRM systems to personalize customer interactions while at the same time capturing valuable lead-nurturing data. Apps are designing custom drinks and fragrances for fashion-show attendees based on emotional quotient (EQ) inputs. A global restaurant chain is tailoring its drive-through experiences based on changes in the weather.
Culture evolves, customer expectation shifts.
Someone is already rethinking your category.