Legislative Brands

In 2019, frustrated consumers will welcome Legislative Brands: corporate interests using their significant power to call for, promote, and even impose laws that drive constructive change and make the world a better place.

This is an undeniably huge shift. A generation ago, brand lobbying was synonymous with bad outcomes (think big tobacco and big oil). Now, thanks to countless positive examples of brand activism, 86% of consumers want brands to take a stand on social issues

But legislative brands is more than ‘just’ brand activism. Yes if you get brand activism right, it’s still a powerful marketing strategy.  The most progressive brands are looking to do more than just raise awareness. They are looking to influence – and even change – the rules of the game for the better. And where they lead, customer expectations will follow. Take a look at one example below:

Open Source Solutions- A Bold New Frontier for Sustainability

That’s why in 2019, the boldest and most inspiring organizations will embrace Open Source Solutions: sharing and even giving away their innovative solutions to our toughest shared problems.

What’s bringing this trend to the top of the sustainable and ethical business agenda?

While mega-brands keep getting bigger, they are often still tiny players in the epic arena that is modern consumerism. One telling example: McDonald’s and Starbucks with their global footprints still only distribute 4% of the estimated 600 billion cups the world uses each year. The takeaway here? Even global mega-brands can’t solve our toughest shared problems alone. But one way they can make a transformative difference? Leverage their resources to create powerful new solutions – and then share those solutions with the world. Take a look at the example below:

Lab Rats

In 2019, Lab rats will see human wellness and lifestyle as an engineering problem to be solved. This outlook, with its origins in the Valley, will see rising numbers enthusiastically apply a test and fix approach to optimizing their health and lifestyle outcomes.

This trend has been building for a while. A host of apps and devices such as Fitbit, Strava, MyFitnessPal, Apple Health and more – have made millions increasingly aware of their health metrics and stoked the desire to be in control. But here are two reasons why 2019 will be the tipping point for Lab Rats.

First, the explosion in direct-to-consumer startups that leverage ‘evidence-meets-marketing’ social content means that in 2019 curious consumers can find – and easily purchase! – even the most niche and experimental solutions for any micro-health need.

Second, continual and dramatic falls in the cost of ‘hard’ science (DNA sequencing today; Crispr tomorrow) means that science fiction-level technologies are now within reach of boundary-pushing consumers. Yes, most consumers won’t personally have regular DNA-based wellness experiences in 2019. But as with the Quantified Self movement a decade ago, awareness of – and demand for – convenient and affordable hyper-personalized wellness is growing, fast.

Super Human Resources

The tech-lash of 2018 has many parts. Some have been outraged at where their data ends up. Others resent the negative social impacts that the tech giants have fueled. Others still are frustrated at the mismatch between what tech promises and what it delivers.

Here we’ll look at one key pain point which, like most pain points, also contains an epic opportunity for those organizations that are able to resolve it.

In 2019, rising numbers of consumers will demand Superhuman Resource: ethical AI and algorithms that deliver fair and unbiased decisions.

Recent years have seen rising awareness of both how much of our lives are shaped by decisions made by AI and algorithms, but also just how fallible and biased decisions made by those algorithms can be. The news keeps coming, and it isn’t pretty: take evidence of facial recognition systems being significantly more reliable on white male faces, or worse disproportionately flagging black politicians as criminals. Or Amazon discontinuing its algorithmically-fueled hiring tool, which turned out to be biased against women.

The result? A deep shift in attitudes toward technology. In a survey of 27,000 consumers in eight markets, 97% of consumers now expect brands to use technology ethically. Hardly surprising. More interestingly, 94% now say if not then governments should step in. That’s a profound change from the era when tech companies could do no wrong…

Fantasy IRL

Humans have always sought out escapism. From telling stories around the campfire to cheering on a sports team, to booking last minute getaways. Increasingly societal polarization, inequality, and political turbulence are prompting many to seek out a break from the ‘real world’ with greater urgency. See the near-tripling of Google searches related to ‘anxiety’ in the last ten years.

Alongside a growing desire to get away from it all, consumers have more channels with which to escape than ever before. Media consumption continues to grow to almost insane levels: American adults spend more than 11 hours per day interacting with media. At the same time, the media itself is becoming ever-richer and more immersive: 80 million Americans use augmented reality every day.

Connectivity and digital experiences that blur the boundaries of the real and virtual are not ‘new’ trends, but in 2019 their convergence will reach deeper than ever before into culture. Customers are now veritable escape artists, able to plug into a universe of their choosing – from the battle royales of Fortnite, to their fantasy sports league – at any moment. At home, stuck in traffic, bored in a meeting…the scope to imagine, escape, explore, create and connect is unlimited.

In 2019, fanciful worlds will permeate the real world as never before. As consumers seek out FANTASY IRL and play on the blurring boundaries between real and imagined, smart brands will join in the fun!

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