The one thing everyone wants to hear is that 2017 will be better than 2016. Celebrities dying, political upheaval, and the general spectre of financial difficulties on the horizon have made 2016 an infamous year before it’s even ended. So what can we expect moving forward?
Well, firstly, Gen Z will enter the mainstream. After years, decades, of articles decrying the Millennials, we’ll see the online comment sphere turn its attention to those born after 1995. Firstly, these younger people will start having a bigger impact on the world around them. Sick of being held hostage by instability and a lack of control, we’ll see Gen Z come into their own as they organize resistance to a world they see as increasingly unreflective of their shared values. Meanwhile, the elements that define this generation will also find mainstream appeal – ideas such as a fluid identity and non-stop efficiency will have far-reaching audiences and advocates that extend beyond that specific generational cohort.
As Gen Z get their moment in the spotlight, two other generational cohorts will start evolving. Firstly, Millennials, who have already seen significant amounts of change and upheaval, will evolve again, falling into the roles of parents and considering more long-term goals. This will force their behavior to adapt, giving brands new challenges as they seek to ensure generational loyalty moving into future years.
Secondly, a new generational cohort will enter the scene – Generation Alpha. Heard of them yet? You will. These are the children born after 2011, the youngest of whom are just reaching the age where they can begin to be marketed to. This ties into the deepening maturity of Millennials – Generation Alpha will be their children, and so this underscores the importance of adapting brand strategy to suit the needs and demands of the aging generational cohort.
Finally, we will see an extension and intensification of the trends that have emerged this year. Authenticity will continue to swing in and out of fashion, with the usual tensions between brutal honesty and contrived narratives. After the ‘tell it like it is’ preference of the last year, as well as the seismic shifts in the status quo, people may well find themselves preferring to live in a story rather than lose the magic around their favourite brands. Meanwhile, a renewed call for social and ethical responsibility and sustainability will emerge, especially with regards to multiculturalism and environmentalism as these two features become challenged by political groups in 2017.
Whatever comes out of the coming year, it certainly can’t be any more shocking than what we’ve already seen… can it?
Jack Lennard, Strategy Intern,