This is the predictions you need to know if you are a brand owner, who wants to stay relevant and connect with your customers in 2022!
A changed world means changed behaviour
A new year has started eventhough it is hard for us to understand that a year has already passed by! And that is excactly what characterized the time we are in the middle of: Everything seems to be turned upside down. We start doubting old systems, we are confused, overwhelmed and sometimes even scared. So what does all of this mean, when it comes to consumer behaviour and how we interact with our customers? That is what I answer today. To show you how our world change, how it affects our behaviour and how you can make sure to be relevant in this new world of tomorrow.
Top 5 changes in human behaviour
I have definer 5 clear changes in our society that will impact how we percieve the world, how we think and how we act. These 5 changes are also the ones we need to understand if we want to stay relevant and connect with our customers.
- Increased consciousness
- Human sensitivity
- Ego mindset
- Search for truth
Let´s go through these changes, because after all -they are quite interesting!
1. Increased consciousness
Every decade our collected consciousness expand and right now we are taking a step towards an increased consciousness. On an individual level it means we want to know more. We want new knowledge, more perspectives and deeper insight. Documentaries like “Fansastic Fungi” on Netflix is a great example of this. It shows us new perspectives on psychedelics and open up a new world around nature as medicin. But we don´t have to look at a Netflix documentary to see how our consciousness expand. We can just take a look at the world and see the how we change the way we percieve equality, race, gender and sex. All of these areas are being de-constructed right now in order to build a new and more inclusive and loving perception. This de-constructions happens through different movements as #metoo #blacklivesmatters and #lgbtq fromwhere they spread into the rest of society through media, social media, influencers, companies, fashion and brands.
When our perception change it is important that we, as brands, are able to tap into the new definition -even if they are still being discussed and questioned. If companies wants to attract new employees they have to know what the younger generation think of unequal pay and that it is simply not something that should take place any longer -at all!
And if fashion and lifestyle brands wants to be relevant for the next generations -you have to talk into this new reality. You have to know that gender is not black and white anymore. It is fluid and more dynamic than ever before. So maybe your new collection should´t be divided in gender….or maybe you should consider hiring store staff that is representing a more dynamic mix of gender, race and bodytype. This is of course just examples. There are tons of different initiatives you can implement if you want to communicate your values and point of view. The important thing is that you:
- See the changes
- Talk into this new reality
- Implement the new understanding in your brand all the way around
2. Human sensitivity
Next step is to understand Human Sensitivity and how it just get more and more… yes, sensitive! If we take a look at the younger generation -one thing is sure: They are becoming more sensitive. The numbers of anxiety, stress and depression are going one way and it isn´t down….We can of course blame the way we are living with a high pace of everyday life, high expectations and a crazy amount of impressions through social media each minut, but we can also see this increase of sensitivity as a sign of the planets rescue plan. If we want this planet to survive -we need sensitive people who are able to feel and understand what is necessary to do and to act upon it.
It is also important to understand that being sensitive doens´t mean that you have a diagnose or is mental ill. It just means that you experience the world on a more intense level and therefore easy become overwhelmed. Sensitivity is also a something that more and more influencers, celebrities and leaders begin to show to others. Just some years ago, you were supposed to hide your “weak side” and always stay strong. Today we want to see the human side of you in order to relate. “The Goop show” is a great example of showing more sensitivity. Here we not only meet the famous actor Gwyneth Palthrow talking about relationship problems and low self-esteem, we also meet “the couple next door” who open up and tell us about all of their intimate problems -Wow! That is never seen before in such an extend.
The movie “The visdom of Trauma” by Doctor Gabor Maté was also an eyeopener this year -showing us that we all have trauma and that trauma is not about how awfull the experience was that happened towards you, but instead about how YOU experienced it. That means that most of us have some degree of trauma in our body and mind, and that we can heel this trauma.
What does these movies, shows and influencers It tell us? They tell us that we not only want more sensitivity -we want more humanity! In a world where more and more are removing every sign of imperfection with botox or fillers, we want to feel human and we want to identify with these feeling humans. In other words -we mere being attracted towards people and brands who dare to show their imperfections, sensitivity and humanity.
Does that mean that the leader of the brand should do interviews crying? No! It simply means that we, as brand owners need to understand this need and that can be handled in many ways. Through campaigns, music, choice of influencers or even prints on a T-shirt.
3. Ego mindset
What do we do in the middle of a pandemic? How do we react? What do we think? In situations with a world-wide crisis we see two reactions: We focus on the basics -which is survival and we start realising what really matters. We want to spend more time with our familiy and friends. Some people wants to quit their job or spend less time working. We become more gratefull for nature and all the small things we have taken for granted. And in this new pyramid of needs -we prioritize different. Our values change and we make new choices. But one thing is a reality across all of these levels: We begin looking inside of ourself and ask ourself “what do I want”. We stop living the life of others and start defining the life that we want to live. It is all about ego, but not in an ego-centric way. Instead it is about the understanding that “I need to be happy if I want other people in my life to be happy as well”.
This ego-mindset means that we as leaders and company owners need to be aware of new demands when it comes to flexibility and values. It is no longer enough to work for others. We want to work for ourself and if it doesn´t work -we move on.
The ego-mindset is about living your own agenda and embracing your whole being, which connects beautyfully with the increased sensitive mentioned above.
4. Search for truth
In a time where political leaders are questioning climate change, a pandemic is being questioned by the people and science overall is questioned -we experience one thing: A search for truth. No matter if you are for or against -people are searching for the same: “The truth”. We find peace in truth. It calms us down because we get a direction. When someone says “A”, we know how to think, act and behave. The challenge appear the moment we don´t agree on what the truth is…. Then we become divided as people and nations!
So how do we deal with this “search for truth”? We have to recognize that people wants certainty, but that it isn´t always possible. We have to be carefull about being “black or white” in our communication, but at the same time we have to take a stand. It is all about saying to the world that “as we understand the world right now -this is how we act. This is our values and this is our way of doing things. But as we get wiser, we might change our procedures”.
Any fashionbrands is confronted with this today when it comes to greenwashing. And here it is important to work with transparency and honest communication. The danish brand Ganni is one of the brands who is using an honest communication when it comes to sustainability. Thew show that they are concerned, but are also open about the fact that fashion is not sustainable in its very nature, because of the fact that we produce new things -consume them and throw them away.
Division is the consequence of divided perspectives. We simply do not agree. Instead of respecting eachothers points of view, we now experience a tendency of seing the world as divided. You are either pro Trump or against. You are either pro vaccines or against and the list goes on.
This way of seing everything as “us or them” is creating divided societies. Not only when it comes to contries, but also at the workplace and among family and friends.
This year a danish beer brewery said that they wouldnt´sell their beer to a certain political party. They took a stand. That would not have happended 10 years ago. At that time is was all about respecting everyone -no matter which opinion they might have. Today more and more companies choose to use the model of “taking a clear stand”, which make sense because their core clients are longing for a simple black and white answer -especially in a time, where everything is being questioned daily! But maybe we shouldn´t always satisfy our customers in cases where it leads to division. Maybe we should instead tap into the reality of one truth and “one race” -which is the human race and the fact that we are all connected.
Yes, it might sound weird, off or a bit too religious and it is 100% up to you and your brand what to do. The only thing I can say is that the world is changing faster than ever seen before and if you want to keep up -you need to understand what is going on and adapt.
Manou Messmann, Expert in consumer behaviour and future trends.