A few members from the H+K Consumer practice recently attended Trend Hunter’s annual Future Festival World Summit, here in Toronto. During the three-day summit, which attracts attendees from all over the world, we talked, workshopped and “safaried” our way through 2020’s biggest trends and insights and what they mean for the future.

Below, we’ve identified the key takeaways and trends that impact our business, what they mean for our clients and how we can navigate these changes together to be set up for success:

BOOMERLENNIALS: Despite what many think, Boomers and Millennials actually have a lot in common. Both generations having a large representation in North America, making them marketing favourites, as well as a tendency toward activism and a focus on interpersonal relationships.

Why this matters: With time and resources in retirement, Boomers are reconnecting with their youth, mirroring current Millennial behaviours. Consider the next time you put a plan into action that is targeted toward Millennials, how could it pivot to suit boomers as well?

BRANDED PODCASTING: As podcasts become increasingly popular, brands are creating their own branded podcasts to further connect with consumers. As they typically have a niche focus or theme, they offer targeted platforms that speak directly to smaller groups of potential or loyal customers. These podcasts can be observed in a range of industries that include everything from alcohol to interior design. Podcast live events are also surging in popularity.

Why this matters: Podcasts help to diversify reach by leveraging platforms that are already aligned with consumer’s daily entertainment-based habits. The shift towards creating company-specific podcasts comes as Millennials and Gen Z consumers seek out more authentic interactions with the brands they align with. With this in mind, what is one alternative content platform that you could consider, to connect your brand to loyal consumers?

GAMIFIED STAYS: Hotel brands are incorporating elements of gamification in many forms, whether that’s through themed rooms, loyalty programs or touchpoints throughout the customer journey. By “gamifying” the standard hotel experience, brands are prioritizing playful interactions with guests, creating positive experiences that build better engagement, loyalty and ultimately higher sales.

Why this matters: This shift comes as the hotel industry is required to compete with the ever-expanding homestay industry. As more consumers are now globally influenced, seeking out authentic experiences, gamified hotel packages that focus on “play” are revamping standard practices on how to engage with consumers. How can you incorporate gamification into your product/service to increase engagement?

DEEPFAKE PRODUCTION: Deepfake technology is a machine-learning technology that superimposes smart technology to people’s images to create highly realistic, but fake, videos. This technology is being used to produce content by brands as well as those aiming to bring awareness to its potential, realities and dangers. There is a growing concern over how this technology will impact social and political issues, making consumers critical of what they see online.

Why this matters: As the lines blur over what’s news and what’s fake online, consumers grow increasingly wary of who and what to trust. In an era where digital exploitation, fake news and misinformation are rampant, deepfake technology can make matters much worse. However, brands willing to use the technology for educational, constructive campaigns can lead and educate consumers on how to become discerning content consumers. How can you ensure your brand is leaving a positive and accurate imprint online?

JOMO, the rise of convenience and comfort as a way of life: People have long been familiar with FOMO (fear of missing out) and the recent rise of FOMO’s antithesis, JOMO (joy of missing out) – with 70 per cent of people between the ages 18-24 opting to spend more time at home vs. previous generations. JOMO has manifested itself to things like an extreme love of plants among young people, as they look to create comfy home atmospheres, to a love of athleisure and at-home activities like crafting and knitting.

Why this matters: Younger generations preferring to stay at home more often has created an entire ‘stay-at-home’ economy where convenience is truly king. Traditional consumer product brands are now selling homeware items and typical nine to five in-the-office norms are being challenged. How can you find ways to meet the needs of a consumer who spends more time at home than ever?

Authored by: Jen Koster, Lisa Rossellet and Kristy Dilbey