Plastic waste is a mainstream concern for consumers across the world. As we try and become more ethical consumers, plastic waste is now in the firing line. Inspired in part by the latest series of Blue Planet and high-profile initiatives such as Sky News’ Ocean Rescue, the fightback against plastic waste is very much on.
All brands should consider what they can do in 2019 to reduce plastic waste. Even small changes at the consumer level can make a huge positive impact on the environment on aggregate. Meanwhile, brands and industries that don’t appear to be doing anything are often called out on social media and in the press (The Independent recently looked at the beauty industry). At a time when consumers want to support brands that align with their values, make sure you’re on the right side of history.
It used to be that setting yourself challenges was something reserved for the New Year. Now consumers are setting themselves new challenges all year round. From Veganuary to Movember, consumers are always looking for a new challenge that they can engage with. Not only does it give people a great opportunity to connect with their friends both near and around the world, but it also lets them show off what they care about most.
Brands can and should be encouraging consumers to set goals and be a part of their success when they smash them. Just look at all the promotion for alcohol-free brands of beer during January. Brands need to act as cheerleaders, making consumers feel better, stronger and happier.
Tackling social isolation
The way that brands have used social media and online marketing has evolved over the last 12 months. This is because social media is no longer viewed as something overwhelmingly positive. Consumers have a more complex relationship with online services. For example, research shows that people feel more isolated when they use social media more.
Brands in 2019 need to think about how to make connections, both online and offline, feel more meaningful and real. Building a community of passionate fans online is meaningful. Seeing an influencer that only makes you feel worse about yourself holding a product is not. Brands that can bring people together and help them disconnect from their digital lives will find a willing audience of happier and healthier consumers.
We’re redefining adulthood?
What it means to be an adult has changed massively over the last few decades. Young adults might be running a Tough Mudder race with their friends, while their parents would have been looking after their new baby. Young families today are more likely to be renting, spending money on experiences, and living in cities. Their needs as consumers are therefore different (think subscription boxes instead of out-of-town mega supermarkets).
Consumers are also happier to jettison the ‘traditional’ parts of adulthood that they don’t want. As social pressures fall, more people live lives that don’t fit the mould. No wonder that more adult couples without kids are visiting Disneyland, while the growth in so-called ‘kidult’ toys shows no sign of stopping. Brands shouldn’t be afraid to embrace this change and adapt to consumers trying to live their best lives.
It used to be that brands that fell behind on consumer trends used to look a little old-fashioned. No longer. Now brands are being called out online when they don’t keep up with what consumers want. Make sure that in 2019 your brand is delivering campaigns that make you look relevant and fresh, and not last year’s news.