3 weak signals you should be paying attention to
Trends are not static – they flex and evolve according to context and consumer demand. That’s why it’s important to keep on top of emerging indicators of change that could impact trend trajectories – AKA weak signals.
1. Will humans be the next big thing in AI?
TikTok and YouTube influencers including Natuecoco, Cherry Crush and PinkyDoll have recently gone viral and received monetary gifts from fans for their portrayal of NPCs (non-playable characters). NPC streaming is becoming a sensation as creators coin nonsensical taglines and react robotically to viewer engagement. For example, PinkyDoll responds “Mmm, ice cream so good” and pretends to lick a frozen treat when a follower gifts her a virtual ice cream token.
What does this overlap between gaming worlds and real life say about our evolving relationship with tech? Should brands signal support and even sponsor such content, legitimizing the genre? What could you do to help consumers express themselves in new and different ways?
2. Will #deinfluencing kill consumer culture?
#deinfluencing has over 550 million views on TikTok, with posts showing consumers criticising influencers who make products go viral. Instead, they’re encouraging followers to only buy what’s necessary, which is particularly relevant in a tough economic climate.
Could the shift from trendy hauls towards conscious, sustainable and selective buying mean that consumption culture is nearing its end? What will that mean for brands launching new products? How might it change brand-influencer relationships?
3. Are we moving backwards toward gender inequality?
The Gender in Advertising Report 2023 analyses over 10,000 ads launched between 2021 and 2022. It has revealed a 26% increase in the proportion showing women in domestic settings. At the same time, there’s been a 56% decrease in those showing women in professional settings.
Does this change reflect a post-COVID reality? What will it really take to close the gender gap fully? What role will brands play in helping societies reach gender parity?
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