When will *then* be *now*?
A newsletter about branding, startups, and mission-driven companies aiming to make the world a better place.
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Today we’ll be discussing:
Trend predictions from people that would know
Just one new release this week, and it’s the one we’ve all been waiting for
If you liked the BlockCatcher, you’ll love the BlockCatcher Pro
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💣 For The Love of Startups
Throughout history, people have looked for the answers to what the future holds.
In 1400 BC, people traveled across mountains and sea to reach the Oracle of Delphi to receive predictions ranging from when to plant crops to how a war would end.
Nostradamus was a noted “seer” in the 1500’s who famously prophesied (albeit vaguely) events that some say included the French Revolution and the moon landing.
Today, the future is a big business. Even astrology is now a $2.2 billion industry rapidly moving online.
Everyone wants to know what’s next.
Charlie and I are no different.
The pandemic wreaked havoc with any predictions people made about 2020, which means that coming up with our own prediction research is unlikely to be any more wrong than whatever people came up with last year.
We asked the smartest people we know in the consumer space to suggest trends for 2021 and then we had our newsletter communities vote to choose which ones they bought into most.
And the winner is...
I bet you can guess.
Health and Wellness
A number of healthcare-related trends were submitted, and they were voted as the most likely to come true.
The highest ranking went to Lerer Hippeau Principal Caitlin Strandberg’s prediction that the way we receive healthcare will expand beyond in-person and virtual appointments.
“We'll see more companies starting to develop ‘in-home care’ models across different patient segments. Someone will come to your home and use smart health devices to intake your vitals then via telemedicine, a doctor will receive data in real time and make assessments. Ultimately, these companies will lay the foundation for all consumers to receive healthcare at home and reduce the need for visits to the doctor’s office.”
Second in our poll was Ghia founder Melanie Masarin’s prediction that the current focus on health will continue across product categories.
“2021 we will see further democratization of health + wellness — with at-home workouts, healthier diets (people cooking more and drinking less alcohol) here to partially stay permanently.”
Jennifer Bett Meyer, founder of JBC PR agency, agreed that “we can definitely expect to see exciting plant-based swaps to appear in more categories across food & beverage next year.”
Emmett Shine, co-founder of Pattern Brands, believes that this focus on wellness will tie into another trend frontrunner.
“The pressure cooker of 2020 needs to be released, and in a country with a still fractured government, we look to our communities and to the market for guidance and direction.
Our communities will continue to have to play a large role, but without physical connection, companies and brands will (whether altruistically or opportunistically) look to fill this gap.
Much of 2021’s marketing is going to be framed around confidently helping people regain what was lost, rehabilitate what was damaged. It’s not physical though, it’s mental.
Think more healing and gentler HR-based work policies. Think of TV spots and brand differentiation that seek to speak from places of shared pain, loss, fear, & anxiety by offering extended hands to rebuild and rehabilitate, stronger, deeper. Together.”
In addition to showing up in marketing, brands will also tap into this sentiment by building communities. Kristen LaFrance who heads up Shopify’s podcast Resilient Retail believes that “brands will have to differentiate themselves by creating enjoyable and unique customer experiences across their digital channels. There will be a major focus on creating virtual experiences that build community, make life easier for your customers, and bring your brand to life in new, unexpected ways.”
Michelle Lora, CMO of OffLimits, agrees. “Social media will move away from the monopolized FB and expand into more niche communities. Like Discord, these platforms are going to grow and the communities within them will become more exclusive.”
This community mindset will also extend to like-minded companies and creators, according to a few of our experts.
Emily Singer, author of Chips + Dips believes “smaller companies (bootstrapped or those with minimal venture backing) will found collaboratives — joining forces to gain leverage over shipping partners, advertisers, etc. and more strategically nurture audiences.”
Sari Azout, Startupy founder, thinks that “2020 saw the proliferation of the Creator Economy and many people going solo to pursue their passions...But despite the promise of the passion economy, the difficulty of audience development, the lack of support infrastructure, and creator burnout means many creators will seek alternatives to working alone..a more collaborative creator community will emerge...creators will band together. This time, though, creatives have the leverage and ownership.”
Also, brands and creators will become even more intertwined.
Studs co-founder Lisa Bubbers predicts that "influencer Marketing becomes the new MLM model...We're steps away from utilizing our influencers and consumers as true Multi-Level Marketers...Integrations like Instagram shopping, the TikTok + Shopify partnership, and drop ship integrations will allow influencers and top consumers to graduate from brand influencers to brand mini-stores."
In conjunction with the rise in creators’ influence, we’ll see one more shift in the consumer landscape, after years of homogenous aesthetics.
According to Emmett Shine:
“We should also see Gen Z, youth-based culture and more extroverted personalities barrel towards a release from the pent up, draconian, rules-based, stifling stress and pressure that weighed down on all of us in 2020.
From Tik Tok to OnlyFans to Crypto to Influencer culture owning their masters, we will see an explosion in the displays of rebellion, exuberance, individualism, raw energy, and new forms of cultural innovation.
A group of digital-native post-9/11-born creators now can not only create new forms of culture, but own, build, operate, and dictate the business and technical side of these wet canvas models.
There is going to be a collective and global display of expression and individuality the likes of which human history has never seen before, starting next year. It’s not just America. That’s what’s so wild and interesting. It’s live-time cultural anthropology; watching ideas, sub-cultures, and communication norms fusing and breaking-off at an exponential clip.
Many, many culturally-tapped in marketers and brands are going to scramble to associate with this wave, to varying effects. Some will be truly innovative; border, genre, gender, and culturally redefining. Other attempts will feel completely forced and ‘ok boomer’ x 100.”
One thing is clear, we’ll all be focusing our energy (and dollars) on the things we can control — staying healthy, connecting with like-minded people, and creating.
As for a prediction on the end of the pandemic...if anyone reading happens to be in Greece, maybe swing by the Oracle of Delphi and report back?
🔥 For The Love of Newness
The only new drop that matters this week…
Joe & Kamala version 46
🔍 For The Love of the Details
You shouldn’t have...
I appreciate the suggestion eBay, but is it legal for me to own a Flex Bot Block Grabber Tapper Clicker Swiper Refresh?
Should I consult with my lawyers at Sagman, Bennett, Robbins, Oppenheim, and Taft?
They didn’t know what it was either, but now I’m wondering whether paying up for the Pro is really worth it, or whether I’m fine just getting the regular BlockCatcher on the cheap.
Either way, I’m pretty sure that the BlockCatcherPro isn’t anyone’s “Favorite Electronic Brand”.
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Written by Aja Singer, a brand and creative strategy consultant interested in all things startup, mission-driven, and community. Born in Canada. Based in Brooklyn. You can also find me on Instagram and Twitter.