What might make a difference in 2018?

Brand Strategy, Latest News

December 22, 2017

As we end yet another year, much of our time with our clients is focusing on 2018 and beyond – looking not only at their business challenges and marketing plans, but also the wider environment – the ‘big things’ that will most likely shape and drive behaviour change.

Based upon our reviews, published insight and commentaries, the following trends seem top of the list to watch:

Trust – the crisis rumbles on. Across the globe, trust seems to be in short supply! The latest Edelman Trust Barometer suggest that other trust in some of the key pillars of society – government, media, business and NGOs – has fallen to its lowest level ever! Edelman suggests that is the drive behind populiarism, increasingly polarised societies, increasing anger and general disillusionment. With that bright picture, what does 2018 seek to bring? Probably more of the same.

Resistance and Persistence. The year ahead will probably continue with people agitating loudly for greater representation, equality, and empowerment. As old barriers remain, new issues arise. How will AI and automation impact low-skilled workers and income inequality? Is the gig economy a truly viable solution or is it just more exploitation? Challenging questions for everyone.

Technology – will it save us? Will 2018 provide a tipping point for the tech industry? Shiny gadgets and indulgent services might seem ever-more trivial with the efficacy of facial recognition and the scale of AI-powered automation.

Transparency – the revolution is here. With the growth of peer influence, blockchain, and the sharing of information, transparency is ever closer. But the journey ahead isn’t totally clear – Google, Facebook, and Twitter face tough questions about ‘fake news’ and their responsibilities will be in sharp focus in 2018.

Globalisation vs Localisation – the battle continues. Despite the rise in national sentiment, especially in the US and Europe, trade and migration still power the global economy. When Western economies step back, China steps up. Brands can’t just ignore and sit on the sidelines – they will be scrutinised on everything, from locations of political allegiances.

Sustainability. Much of what has happened in 2017 has been blamed on changing global weather patterns. The US withdrew from the Paris Agreement. But there is some hope – solar power is the fastest growing power source and China saw an 80% growth in electric vehicle sales. Being sustainable isn’t an easy option, but is it becoming ever clearer that it is the only option?

So, what do you think? Are there any other trends that we should be looking at for next year – any other ‘big things’ ?