Pop Culture 2020

With consumers demanding transparency, personalization, and authenticity, it is more important than ever for brands to develop their campaigns around shifts in consumer behavior, beliefs, and key cultural moments. Below are the key trends in the realm of culture that will be most impactful for brands in 2020.

  • Micro-Learning
  • Milk-Made
  • Hologram Assistant
  • Car Share Collab
  • P2P Advice
  • Referential Luxury

Brands offer micro-learning options for consumers looking to expand their skill

Trend: Brands are creating micro-learning solutions for consumers who are looking to add value to their personal and professional development in a way that seamlessly fits into their lifestyles. Whether for training purposes or to offer general educational content, these micro-learning platforms allow for quick and engaging forms of education in the digital space.

Insight: With shortened attention spans and busy personal and work lives, consumers are now accustomed to news and information coming to them in the form of short soundbites and articles. Micro-learning platforms are a reaction to this shift. The adoption of these shortened educational solutions comes as time-strapped consumers who are regularly balancing several responsibilities seek out low-commitment forms of professional development.


Clothing made from milk aims to mitigate global textile waste

Trend: Small emerging fashion brands are aiming to counter some of the damage done by fast fashion with textiles made from the various properties of milk. These more sustainable clothing options are touted as being friendlier to the environment due to their reuse of milk waste or their biodegradable nature, while simultaneously being higher in quality.

Insight: With consumers becoming more aware and active in their concerns for the environment, they’re slowly changing their purchase decisions in order to lessen their ecological impact. Milk-made fashion is one way that brands in the fashion industry are responding to eco-conscious consumers. By up-cycling milk waste in this way, small brands are setting a precedent for what the future of the fashion industry should look like as climate change becomes a growing concern.

Holographic Assistant

AI-based holographic assistants enhance engagement and customization

Trend: Smart assistive technology is now being developed with holographic functions that enhance interactivity between the customer and the product. These holographic assistants can be found in everything from cars to home assistant devices, and offer an element of novelty that most standard smart assistants don’t yet have.

Insight: The creation of holographic assistive technology enables consumer engagement due to its novel and future-focused design, while still catering to the consumer preference for personalization that often drives purchase decisions in the digital age. The security concerns that consumers often associate with the ubiquity of smart technology is mitigated with the added element of “humanization” that holographic interfaces add-allowing consumers to better trust this emerging form technology

Car-Share Collab

Brands partner with ride-sharing services to enhance customer experiences

Trend: The growth of partnerships between popular ride-share services and seemingly unrelated brands is increasing. These partnerships cross typical categories of business in favor of pairing services by specific consumer habits. Coupling the enhancement of customer experience with much-desired convenience, such partnerships reflect how brands are able to alter business models in order to cement their place in the life of the modern consumer.

Insight: This is one of many examples of what happens when brands successfully implement consumer-centricity. Thinking of customers as people with unique interests and motivations—as opposed to consumer profiles with predictable desires and behaviors—is more important than ever in the social media age. Regular use of social media has consumers more in touch with a sense of identity and uniqueness, creating a desire for more customized, nuanced products and services.

P2P Advice

Consumers turn to peer-to-peer networks for advice on various consumer categories

Trend: Looking beyond brand influence, consumers are seeking out input and advice from peer-to-peer networks for more approachable levels of engagement. Popping up not only in fashion but in the cooking and automobile spaces too, P2P networks help create online communities that allow people of various backgrounds and interests to connect and collaborate with others in real-time.

Insight: P2P examples not only speak to the growing power of the consumer, but the increased consumer desire to connect with others in a more authentic way. With consumer trust in brands lessening, having platforms that facilitate conversation and advice among peers offers more certainty for the increasingly skeptical consumer.

Referential Luxury

Fashion goes beyond retro-kitsch, appealing to nostalgic Gen X insiders

Trend: With endless Instagram feeds and Tumblr accounts dedicated to retro fashion, throwback aesthetics are assumed to target Millennials. However, a more nuanced approach to old-school revival is rising in popularity: archival re-releases, the popularity of which hinges on the audience’s ability to recognize references from the 90s and early 2000s.

Insight: The time period referenced by this approach to nostalgia indicates an attempt to appeal to young Gen Xers who have insider knowledge of fads from this bygone era. This is because the notoriously difficult-to-target generation is more inclined to react to familiarity. References to their own lived experiences take this to the extreme, while also acknowledging that “cool” does not belong to the youth consumer, but to the generation who initiated the trends that are only now being revived through social media.

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