Trends – they evolve our thinking, engage curiosity, and ultimately shape our cultures. So what’s on the horizon for 2017?
While electronics have made distance between loved ones & colleagues less of an impediment, the desire for face-to-face interaction persists. Business travel is not in decline, despite the wide array of technological tools that make telecommuting a strong alternative. Inside the home, family is important like never before, as the reinstallation of the “family great room” has taken center stage once again. Walls are (literally) coming down in order to create larger spaces and to connect smaller rooms as one, leading to more time being spent inside the home and in the company of others – even as individuals take to their own activities.
Tactile & Tangible
Over and above interpersonal connection, consumers are looking for experiences that gratify both the physical and the emotional. Pinterest and Instagram continue to be inspirational and aspirational – allowing individuals to curate collections of beauty. Retailers are taking cues from these interactive platforms and looking for ways to innovate the in-store experience. Whether it’s planning a new kitchen in real-time 3D at Lowes, or using VR in a North Face retailer to try on an outfit in the middle of Yosemite Park, the desire to “feel it” is driving new types of brick & mortar. Starbucks has leaned in and created the “Willy Wonka of coffee,” as Howard Schultz termed it. With a working roastery & tasting room, the café brings to life a crafted coffee bean experience that embraces all the human senses.
As we look to color and design trends for 2017, Pantone releases a green that exudes vibrancy of life. This year’s "Color of the Year" also points to a cultural and behavioral longing for the year ahead. Despite the gloomy and controversial nature of 2016’s news, from Brexit to numerous celebrity deaths, Pantone’s focus on balance and re-birth brings optimism for the New Year. And while green may have specific semiotics within the world of branding, it is nevertheless important to ask how a brand can capitalize on being green and tap into the relevant symbolism.
2017 provides ample runway for brands to evolve the way they express themselves and show up at shelf. These emerging trends challenge brands to connect with consumers at a deeper and more personal level, and to consider how they offer optimism and balance to their consumers. How will you think about your brand?