Trends to watch in 2015

JWTIntelligence recently published its annual report, The Future 100: Trends and Change to Watch in 2015. What I love about the report is that JWTIntelligence looks beyond domestic trends to provide a snapshot of global influence for culture, beauty, brands, food and drink, innovation, lifestyle, luxury, retail, sustainability, travel and technology.

According to the report, cellphones have become “our life remote control, our pocket portal to the world.” Ericsson forecasts that by 2020 90 percent of the world’s population over the age of 6 will have a mobile phone.

Consumer expectations are shifting. Brands are expected to deliver experiences, be hyper-transparent and achieve sustainability. They are also expected to be societal leaders, benefactors, innovators and philanthropists. These are important trends for marketers.

I have highlighted a few additional trends related to marketing; although there are many more I didn’t have room to include.

Connected kids

According to Common Sense Media, three-quarters of U.S. children younger than age 8 have access to a smartphone or tablet. A Vodafone poll found 93 percent of United Kingdom parents allow their children to use smart devices.

As a result, JWTIntelligence reports “children under 10 are more technically advanced even than their teenage siblings. Their familiarity with technology, and their expectations of it, go far beyond that of previous generations.”

Universal intelligent design

Likening it to a “Pinterest phenomenon,” the report concludes that consumers expect good design as a matter of course. Such expectations are driven by easy access to blogs, online publications and social media that provide snapshots into celebrity and sophisticated lifestyles.

Today’s savvy millennials are greatly influenced by upscale design; so much so that retailers to budget hotels and everything in between are being updated with new looks.

Save our subcultures

You see the influence with entertainment stars adopting niche urban styles and fashion brands that have latched on to subcultures. Sophisticated millennials view the quick adoption of these subcultures as inauthentic and opportunistic. Authenticity of connecting with subcultures will be the key.

Celebrity business partners

The evolving relationship of celebrity and brands is pushing beyond the “spokesperson” of the past. Celebrities are becoming more like business partners by influencing creative strategy, associating their celebrity status beyond traditional campaigns and into social media. As a result they are securing a greater share of the profits. More celebrities than ever are launching their own brands to leverage influence.

1-for-1: Third way commerce

A new business model popular with millennials combines social good with business sales and marketing, referred to in the report as the “third way.” TOMS Shoes introduced the concept of 1-for-1 (or buy one, give one). This has ignited others to follow suit, as TOMS proved that leading with philanthropy drives sales.

More than millennials are looking to associate brands with ethical behavior and clear values.

24/7: Unlimited hours

Driven by global brands like Zappos.com and easy access to ordering online, the way businesses view traditional working and retail hours are changing. Consumers today expect to be able to shop 24/7.

Take a peek at the report to see what is trending in 2015. It will spur great ideas for your business or provide insight on how to evolve your products or services.