Among the trends on the brand consultant’s Top 10 trends list for 2014 are the broadening of wearable technology beyond “gadget heads” and early adopters, creating “second-life packaging” that can be used in a different context (such as selling lightbulbs in packaging that can become a lampshade) and creating branded opportunities for serving the public, such as Citi’s high-profile Citibike program in New York City.
“Everything that happens here is about stuff you couldn't do before or that gives you more control,” Hayes Roth, Landor's chief marketing officer, tells Marketing Daily about the firm's list. “Most of these things are in response to or driving individual empowerment.”
In addition to the increased use of wearable technology (much of which is used to monitor health and fitness statistics, à la Fitbit), consumers will also take greater control of their health and health choices as they are given greater control of their financial commitment to insurance, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Roth says. Elsewhere in the home, the blurring of gender roles (more women earning primary incomes and more men taking care of children) will also become more prevalent.
Brands will also be showcasing their commitment to social issues, whether through creating sustainable packaging, enabling public service or by simply demonstrating what they stand for (a trend the firm calls “Brand is as brand does”) more regularly. Brands that do good and show goodwill have an advantage in reaching the younger generation of consumers, as will so-called “clean slate brands,” newer brands that can showcase their priorities and values from the outset.
“[Gen Y] is a generation that is entering their 30s, and entering into the prime time of life,” Roth says. “They are going to be more selective than ever because of their ability to buy anywhere. It's going to be a faster, more transparent, customer-connected world than we've ever seen. You've got to be nimble and yet very clear as to what your brand values are.”
In addition to those linked trends, some of the other trends the consultancy identified are colleges and universities developing brand identities (“What happens at Yale, stays at Yale”), a resurgence in luxury brands as economic recovery takes hold and a maturation of social media and engagement.