Nine Trends to Drive Innovation Strategy in 2019
If you are tasked with plotting your business’ long-term strategy or innovating the portfolio beyond 2020, you need to have your finger on the pulse of emerging and evolving consumer trends.
Every year we analyse dozens of trend forecasts to identify those that we feel will be the most inspiring when it comes to planning strategy or generating innovation ideas.
The nine trends we’ve curated for 2019 have implications for business strategy, claims optimisation, brand renovation, new product development and service innovation.
We’re sure you’ll find them enlightening and inspiring … but don’t just read ’em and move on.
Give us a call to see how we can help you turn them into fuel for your strategy and innovation processes!
Conspicuously Frugal Living
Not so long ago, conspicuous consumption was perceived to be good – but not any more
The growth of discount supermarket chains like Aldi and Lidl – and their rapid rise in popularity amongst the middle classes is just one demonstration of the new status symbol – Conspicuous Frugality.
It’s not the pressure of poverty, but a conscious choice to own fewer, better, longer-lasting ‘things’.
It’s hard to tell if it’s a response to the economic cycle or anticipation of Brexit, but we’re seeing a rapid increase in conscious consumerism. Consumers looking for lifetime-value rather than the latest, flashiest, cheapest or even most fashionable thing!
If you want a great example; look no further than Patagonia’s Worn Wear programme
Implication: How can you design propositions, products and storytelling to reinforce your brand’s lifetime value?
GenZ Comes of Age
Generation Z, the cohort born after 1997, are increasingly taking the place of Millennials as marketers’ most promising target.
Unsurprisingly, these digital natives are leading the charge towards new forms of brand-consumer relationships that are based on Instagram-ability, YouTube-driven fun and social-ethical consciousness
A host of Gen Z influencers, rejecting the conventions of the beauty industry, are taking to Instagram with makeup-free selfies and exhortations to ‘celebrate your pimples’ – but at the same time are happy to embrace long-established food brands like Doritos, Oreos, Hershey and M&Ms
They key seems to be the willingness and ability of brands to use social media to embrace the reality of being young!
Implications: How can you harness innovation, digital storytelling and celebrity to maximise relevance?
Over 33% of the UK population now identify as being vegan, vegetarian or flexitarian. So, after years on the fringes, meat-free foods are moving mainstream
But where to next? With 55% of consumers motivated by animal welfare, 45% by a desire to be healthier and 38% by environmental factors the next challenge will be to reconcile some complex needs.
Some meat avoiders will be happy with lab-grown protein, but others will be looking for clean labels and kitchen-style ingredients – so where next for the Vegolution?
Implications: How fast can you segment the market and optimise offerings – before dissonance sets in?
Thanks to Attenborough’s Blue Planet, consumers are being forced to confront their environmental impact
Over the last year, the social-media backlash against straws, coffee cups and one-use plastic bottles has been huge
However, when it comes to personal responsibility for recycling, consumers are a lot less committed. Many admit to doing little more than the basic minimum – whilst others have become frustrated when they discover that drinks cartons, babyfood pouches, Christmas wrapping paper and crisp bags all end up in landfill!
60% of Millennials say they’d pay extra for genuinely eco-friendly products – so there’s little doubt that businesses like Coke and Evian are right to pursue more sustainable solutions – and take the challenge out of consumers’ hands
Implications: What are you going to do to demonstrate your genuine commitment to saving the planet?
Wellbeing has been one of our key themes for the last few years, but we’ve observed some important changes recently.
Wellbeing used to mean a vague sense of making better and more body-positive choices, but the spectacular failure of some significant wellbeing initiatives like Goodness Knows, has left some commentators questioning whether we’ve reached ‘peak wellbeing’. We don’t think so!
Investments by Nestlé in DNA-nutrition based diets, the emergence of tracking apps like Pinto and wearables suggest a subtle change of emphasis towards more structured, target-driven wellness solutions.
By starting with what consumers need to achieve, leveraging EFSA claims, then tracking measurable improvements – wellness becomes credible!
Implication: How can you align consumer needs, product benefits and tracking technology to create wellness solutions
Ascendancy of Voice Search
Move over Google keypad-search, voice is taking over! We flagged the importance of voice last year, but even we didn’t anticipate the speed and size of the impact
Smart speakers like Alexa have become part of daily life in many homes, bringing dramatic changes to consumer behaviour. Surprisingly, one of the greatest over-indexes for voice search is amongst the over 65s!
CES 2019 gives us an enticing insight into the future of voice commands and search which is increasingly being built into smart TVs, cars and even toilets and taps/faucets!
But one of the most intriguing challenges is what’s going to happen when consumers go beyond digital search and voice commands, to the point where they expect to interact ‘live’ with your brand. What does it sound like? How does it speak? Can it distinguish between a chat in the living room and a request whilst driving?
Implication: How will your brand’s web-presence adapt when it needs to develop a unique and memorable ‘voice’?
UK Office of National Statistics data suggests that Teetotalism is on the rise with 21% claiming not to drink at all and 50% of the population claiming to drink less than they previously did
Millennials have begun to introduce a new cultural view of Teetotalism, as they are increasingly consuming non-inebriating beverages and differently-inebriating substances.
Trendy Teetotalism is prompting the rapid development of some sophisticated alcohol-free alternatives.
The challenge is that lots of these solutions are also ‘buzz-free’, lacking the satisfying uplift that moderate alcohol consumption delivers. This maybe why brands like AB Inbev and Coca-Cola are rumoured to be looking at beverages including infusions of legal cannabis extracts.
Implication: How can non-alcoholic beverages deliver feelgood for teetotallers?
Go On Retailer, Engage Me!
In the old retail model the power was with the retailer.
Retailers decided what to offer and consumers just had to come fetch it. In the new retail world, bricks & mortar looks inefficient relative to the infinite choice offered by the internet
The last year has seen bricks & mortar retail start to fight back.
Brands like Sephora have rethought their stores to blend traditional elements, with mobile apps and experiential activities, that bring theatre to the retail brand experience – and build desire before purchase
The other huge future-retailing experiment has been the launch of the Nike House of Innovation in NYC. The store aims to be as personal and responsive as digital. It features a customisation area, personalisation area and speed shopping facilities
Implication: How do you enhance the tactile experience of shopping
Personalised Banking, Just for Me
Banks are increasingly targeting demographic-based clusters like GenZ, Millennials and Boomers, but this mass-segmentation strategy is failing. 71% of millennials would rather visit a dentist than their bank!
Given the rich data on lifestyle and purchasing that banks already hold, plus the data that could be gathered on their customers’ values, aspirations and mindsets, this failure to build relevance and strong relationship bonds is missing a massive product innovation and communication opportunity
Consumer expectations of personalisation are increasingly being driven by non-financial services suppliers. If Amazon, Google, Facebook, Netflix and Apple can serve up an individually personalised experience – why can’t my bank?
Because of consumer inertia, it may be that mainstream banks feel they have no need to raise their game. But we suspect that 2019 is going to see a race, driven by new-generation fintechs, towards greater individualisation of product-offering and communication – to create truly personalised banking experiences
Implications: How can banks deliver a more personalised experience?
Turning trends into the fuel of innovation …
If you are mapping out your strategic challenges, planning your innovation platforms, or even ready to start ideation – we can help you turn trends into the essential creative fuel you need to stimulate disruption and inspiration
So, if your objectives for 2019 include innovation or brand renovation … we should talk!