10 Trends That Will Shape Our World in 2012

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Report spotlights Generation Go, Food as the New Eco-Issue, Marriage Optional, among other trends

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With our annual trends forecast, we aim to bring the outside in—to help inspire ideas beyond brand, category and consumer conventions—and to identify emerging opportunities so they can be leveraged for business gain

JWT, the world’s best-known marketing communications brand, has released its seventh annual year-end forecast of key trends that will drive or significantly impact consumer mind-set and behavior in the year ahead.

Continued economic uncertainty, new technologies and the idea of shared responsibility are driving or at the center of several trends. According to the forecast, the economy will push brands into opening up more entry points for cost-sensitive consumers as the “new normal” becomes a prolonged normal in the developed world. At the same time, tough times will generate an unprecedented entrepreneurialism, with the so-called Lost Generation of youth becoming a uniquely resourceful group that creates their own opportunity.

Other key trends cited in the report include:

  •     Food as the New Eco-Issue: The environmental impact of our food choices will become a more prominent concern as stakeholders—brands, governments and activist organizations—drive awareness around the issue and rethink what food is sold and how it’s made. As more regions battle with food shortages and/or spiking costs, smarter practices around food will join the stable of green “best practices.”
  •     Reengineering Randomness: As our individual worlds become more personalized and niche—and the types of content, experiences and people we are exposed to become narrower—greater emphasis will be placed on reintroducing randomness, discovery, inspiration and different points of view into our worlds.
  •     Marriage Optional: A growing cohort of women is taking an alternate life route, one that doesn’t include marriage as an essential checkpoint. Both in the West, where this trend is building, and in the East, where it’s gaining momentum, “happily ever after” is being redefined as a household of one, cohabiting or single motherhood.

“With our annual trends forecast, we aim to bring the outside in—to help inspire ideas beyond brand, category and consumer conventions—and to identify emerging opportunities so they can be leveraged for business gain,” says Ann Mack, director of trendspotting for JWT. “Trends, like any complex and dynamic human phenomenon, are not preordained—once they are spotted, they can be shaped.”

JWT’s “10 Trends for 2012” is the result of quantitative, qualitative and desk research conducted throughout the year and for this report. It includes input from nearly 70 JWT planners across more than two dozen markets and interviews with experts and influencers across sectors including technology, luxury, social responsibility and academia.

Among the trends JWT has forecast in past years: “De-Teching” in 2011 (more people logging off, at least temporarily, to get a break from technology); “Location-Based Everything” in 2010 (the explosion of location-based or -aware services that leverage data from mobile phones); The Small Movement” in 2009 (the shift away from “bigger is better” in everything from homes to cars to mobile technology); and “Radical Transparency” in 2008 (the “nothing to hide” ethos seen in some online behaviors).

The “10 Trends for 2012” report is available at JWTIntelligence.com.

About JWT
JWT is the world’s best-known marketing communications brand. Headquartered in New York, JWT is a true global network with more than 200 offices in over 90 countries employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals.

JWT consistently ranks among the top agency networks in the world and continues its dominant presence in the industry by staying on the leading edge—from producing the first-ever TV commercial in 1939 to developing award-winning branded content for brands such as Smirnoff, Macy’s, Ford and HSBC.

JWT’s pioneering spirit enables the agency to forge deep relationships with clients including Bayer, Bloomberg, Cadbury, Diageo, DTC, Ford, HSBC, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogg’s, Kimberly-Clark, Kraft, Nestlé, Nokia, Rolex, Royal Caribbean, Schick, Shell, Unilever, Vodafone and many others. JWT’s parent company is WPP (NASDAQ: WPPGY).


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