The Future

A new year typically arrives with fresh predictions about what lies ahead. But, in these tumultuous and unpredictable times, do the trend decks have anything to teach us? Let’s take a moment to pause and reflect.

  • But obviously things don’t automatically change when the calendar flips over. The past week was proof of that.
  • We wrote a while back about the perils of prediction. We’re bad it at the best of times and right now it’a close to impossible.
  • And yet, a whole raft of trend reports and predictions for the year ahead have just been published.
  • There are 40 of them collected here if you’re curious. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
  • We usually ignore these things. At best, they’re vague, self-serving and probably wrong. At worst, they’re a distraction from things that really matter.
  • But this year, we decided to read them a little more closely, with two specific questions in mind: what changes that already happened in 2020 are likely to stick around this year? And what are the implications for marketers?
  • With this in mind, we started with Scott Galloway, aka Prof G. Unlike most, he’s got a solid track record with past predictions.
  • According to Scott, the things that match our criteria (already happening and will continue to) include: folks not being in the office all the time, sprucing up their homesteads, working out at home and shopping more online.
  • Nothing too surprising. And Galloway doesn’t say much about the implications for marketing leaders.
  • So here’s our take: do everything you can to make a hybrid virtual and in-person model work as well as possible for your team. On every level (hiring, onboarding, culture, perks, collaboration, processes etc.). If you’re looking for inspiration, start here.
  • Deloitte echo this advice in their trend report. They see effective hiring and deployment of marketing talent as a key source of competitive advantage.
  • Frog Design take a step further, imagining a future in which “companies will be forced to compete for employees by providing powerful WFH technology packages rather than merely flexible WFH policies”.
  • Deloitte’s report also highlights another 2020 that will likely to continue: the messy but necessary battle against systemic inequity in all forms.
  • Their corresponding advice for marketers is to balance the pursuit of efficiency with a more humanistic agenda. It’s all about getting clear on your values and then, crucially, putting them into practice. We couldn’t agree more.
  • We all need to remember how much power we have. And the responsibility that comes with it. As Jerry Daykin reminds us: “Our media investments shape the world around us”. Looking at the world right now tells us that we need to do better.
  • This, of course, is the essence of the future. It’s less about prediction and more about intention. What ever the trend decks tell us, tomorrow is in our hands.
Issue #109
Jan 10, 2021

Further Reading