16 Jan Top trends of 2012
Having read this week’s edition of Marketing magazine, I was pleased to see at RONIN, we are ahead of the game in terms of latest trends. Not only do we largely concur with their predicted ‘Twelve trends of 2012’ we have already started implementing these things for our clients. So in homage to Marketing’s feature here’s my predicted top trends of 2012:
Apple is undoubtedly the brand of the moment. Everyone is going mad for the iPhone and iPad, not just here, but across the globe – just look at what happened in China last week, with scuffles breaking out with police in the mad rush to get hold of an iPhone 4S. Even the death of co-founder and visionary, Steve Jobs, widely accredited with being the driving force behind Apple’s rise to the world’s most valuable technology company, could not falter ‘i’ pandemonium. And I see no end to it in 2012. Apple technology will continue to define status as consumers aspire to have i-Everything. We’ve already started referring to one of our client’s target audience as the ‘iPod generation’ and have seen the Apple look extending everywhere, from websites, such as YouTube and BBC (including several we’ve designed), to interior design, even cars. Yes you did read that right: The latest trend in car wrapping is gloss white – seduced by the Apple effect people are matching their cars to their iPhone and iPad to complete the look!
Passively sharing everything with everyone became the norm in 2011 as brands increasingly integrated with social networks and consumers could tell their friends where they were and what they were doing at the click of a button. In 2012 I can only see this intensifying. In the words of Dan Hagen, head of planning at Carat, “Now the essence of who you are isn’t about going to an event and having an experience, but defining yourself through telling and showing others you were there.”
An obvious choice for a 2012 trend is ‘being British’. As Olympics fever takes hold, you can expect to see Union Jack’s appearing left, right and centre. We’ve already seen our clients and client’s clients jumping on the bandwagon. The key will be using it to their advantage – how they define themselves in relation to Britain, and moreover, how they convert that in to sales.
Handmade and all things crafty is a growing trend, and I think it will continue to progress in 2012 as economic uncertainty persists. In Marketing, however, they refer to this movement as ‘the emergence of post-digital behaviour’, but I don’t think that’s quite on the money. If you see Milly’s previous blog post ‘Crafting Value in Technology’ she argues it is modern technology which is powering the craft movement and letting it spread in such a rapid way. And when you look at the vast number of blogs, online stores, online craft magazines, and crafty social networking sites, it doesn’t take long to realise she’s right. One of our newer clients is certainly part of the ‘craft movement’, and is setting up a new website for crafters and people with an appreciation for craft to buy and sell individual, handmade products – for which there seems to be a great demand. Whilst there is undoubtedly a growing appreciation for traditional behaviour, like in many previous recessions, this movement is unique. It’s not just ‘post-digital behaviour’, but a multifaceted and exciting development, and as Milly rightly suggests “craft’s relationship with technology is far more complex than a simple rise against the machine.”
Social media has fundamentally changed the way marketing works. Nowadays anyone and everyone can publish their views which means companies can no longer tightly control the publicity they receive, leaving ‘nowhere for brands to hide.’ Consequently, company values are more important than ever. In an uncertain world, as Marketingsays, consumers want organisations to ‘show their values’. When I look at the work we’ve already been doing for many of our clients in 2012, this is exactly what we’ve been helping them do. Take Creative FX, they’ve started sponsoring a new local charity, Friends of Griffins, which provides funds and support for children with hearing and visual impairments. And we’ve produced a whole brochure for Kitchen and Bedroom Transformations (KABT) on ‘the man behind the kitchens’, Mike Whitmore. His clients want to know more about the values that provide the foundation of the company before they invest in a kitchen or bedroom makeover from him.
The importance of creating value in an increasingly digital world is something we’ve been talking about for a while at RONIN. Milly actually wrote a blog post on company values at the end of last year: ‘Finding Stillness in the Flux’
Intertwined with the previous two trends is an increasing demand for sustainable business practice. Consumers’ interest in traditional thinking (handmade) and authentic values are reflected in their expectations of brands to act in a responsible, sustainable way – and they want to know about it. Management consultants, Oliver Wight, have recognised this and we recently put together a piece on carbon footprint in the supply chain for them. As supply chain’s become more transparent to the consumer, organisations will have to make sure they are operating in the most environmentally friendly and socially responsible way. I think Marketing is on to something when it speaks of redefining capitalism. As the recent protests against capitalism outside St Paul’s and on Wall Street suggest, people want a fairer world. The challenge for businesses is to present themselves as part of this redefinition.
Less money = greater creativity
In a year which threatens to be toughest since the economic downturn began back in 2007, the purse strings on marketing budgets may continue to get tighter. However, I believe it will provide massive opportunity for those of us that are most creative. With less money to spend, we will have to be more innovative to get the same results. And in a point only touched on by Marketing, consumers and businesses alike are getting fed up of the recession. Put the excitement back in to your brand and marketing, and differentiate yourself from the competition through creativity. 2012 is the year to ‘think differently’ as Steve Jobs so aptly put it.