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Trend Forecasting: How to Predict the Future


Imogen Ogden, creative at FAMILIA, explores the biggest trends of 2021 to see how 2022 is going to look within the 'Great Acceleration' era

Trend Forecasting: How to Predict the Future

Creativity begins by looking outside your own window. As the Creative at FAMILIA, I have always been conscious of what's happening outside of the film production sphere. Recently, this has developed into FAMILIA using trend forecasting as a means to acknowledge how we can integrate more strategic thinking and creative direction into our narratives. 

Understanding the past is the first step towards mastering the future. That’s the essential logic behind trends forecasting, and being part of a creative world which is so constantly changing makes it a necessity. In theory, by looking at the past we can essentially ‘predict’ what’s going to happen next. Being forward-thinking and ahead of the game is something we lend great importance to here at FAMILIA, and we use it as a core to our ‘next generation’ approach as a company. 

To begin, let’s look back at the biggest trends across 2021 in order for us to see how 2022 is going to look within the ‘Great Acceleration’ era we are quickly approaching. 

1. The Metaverse 

The Metaverse. It sounds confusing, - and it kind of is - but it starts to make sense once broken down. Meaning “beyond universe”, it’s the art of immersive, digital connections between our reality and the one beyond. Essentially, a gaming-inspired landscape which allows us to escape and experience something beyond the limits of what we currently consider part of our reality. 

The power of this trend is that it’s expandable amongst so many sectors. That’s because it focuses around one simple and clear concept: experience. A great example of how the metaverse trend has been turned into a forceful movement is the Balenciaga X Fortnite collaboration. Two different creative houses, coming together as one to build a new world for their audiences to explore. 

Whilst the conversation around the Metaverse can feel overwhelming, there’s little doubt among industry experts that it will come to define the near-future. For all the jargon and expertise flying around at the moment, your best entry point to learning more about this trend is likely to be a conversation with a game-loving younger sibling or relative.

2. Purpose-Driven Campaigns 

As for most of the trends in 2021, the social trend that grew bigger than ever due to the ‘lockdown’ era was the need for purpose. Specifically, purpose-driven content and campaigns. 

This trend is pretty self explanatory: We all want a reason. 

Whether that’s a reason to buy, a reason to view, or a reason to consume, consumer behaviour across 2021 showed an increase by 86% of the public wanting brands to show them support and 74% of social media users wanting brands to show kindness as a purpose to their visuals. This makes total sense right? Why would we want to communicate over something that didn't give us a reason to be included and feel connected? 

Recently, Engine Creative won against the biggest creatives in the latest Jaguar Land Rover campaign ‘The Out’. The concept of making the brand more purpose-driven for their audience was one of the winning factors for the brand’s social media unit. 

3. Live Streaming

Yes, we're still talking about it. 

Thankfully, we’re not talking about Zoom or Google Hangouts (both of which we’ve all had too much of recently). The real trend of live streaming focused around the power of delivering in real-time.

Not only did it become a billion dollar industry during the last year, it has also created an avenue for brands to explore how they can appeal to younger audiences on a much larger scale. It boosts social presence and creates a personable quality to a brand by reacting in real-time to their audiences, answering questions, and giving more insight into their product. 

Beauty brands such as MAC and Charlotte Tilbury are great examples of this trend with their live streaming of product releases and tutorials for their consumers seeing a boost of 42% increase in sales across the pandemic. 

Even more so, the introduction of the NFT trend (non-fundable tokens) has also put rocket boosters underneath live streaming as well to sell digital art, with Christie's auctioning of Beeple’s NFT of his Everydays: The First 5,000 Days artwork for an eye-watering 69 million US dollars.

So, having looked back across the last year and realising that the demands for immersive, purpose-driven, accessible consumption are the highlights, what can we expect next? It's likely that these themes will head in a similar direction. But we must take into account the influence of the ‘New Renaissance’ period that we now see coming into force following the pandemic. 

The 2022 Predictions

1. Sonic Strategy

Sonic Strategy is essentially the audio version of the Metaverse. Sound that helps transport you to another place. Pandora found streaming audio along with their ads had a higher resonance to their audience, allowing them to be immersive on a new dimension amongst their campaigns compared to visual only curation. Be sure to keep an eye out for even more brands using music and audio to enhance the essence of the emotion and immersion in their campaigns, and question yourself; does this make me feel more

2. AI Elements

When we look further into the creative trends that are emerging, it’s impossible to ignore the uptick in AI usage. 

Through a report done by IBM’s ‘Call To Creative 2021’, it was shown that AI can now help bring trust between clients and creatives. That’s in large part down to AI being confidently used to predict combinations of creative elements based on signals for reactions, time, emotion responses and so on. On top of this, IBM have also created their own ‘Watson Advertising Accelerator’ which does all the predicting and pairing around AI and creative formats for you so it’s much easier to both understand and apply. Thank you, IBM.

3. Mapping

Finally, we have our need for purpose, something that will always be a constant macro trend. But how can we take it further than just understanding what we want? One answer is clear: Mapping. 

A term used in the advertising and marketing industry widely, mapping essentially plans out your insight into sectors that make the subject easier to formulate and direct. Essentially, it allows us to break down exactly what the purposes are, to avoid putting everyone into a generic demographic. 

Some of the key mapping journeys that have been used and shown to work are; Defining & Reaching (who the targets are and how to approach them), Measurement of Success (how well did the brand allow their consumers to feel connected?) and Future Opportunity (what has this given back to the brand as a marketing strategy?). 

Luckily, this is one of the easier trends to start to put into practice because it’s what we all can relate to: Being heard by others. Nothing feels better than that, right? 

At the end of the day, you must always remember to not take trends too literally, otherwise you won't be able to expand on the trend to be able to tailor it to your needs. But it's also important to remember that trend forecasting takes practice and understanding of how everything and anything can influence your mindset towards curating ideas. 

In order to predict the future, always look back to the past.

Imogen Ogden is a creative at FAMILIA

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FAMILIA, Thu, 16 Dec 2021 12:06:27 GMT