Explore the 5 key trends set to impact consumer connection in 2019

Key trend 1


The Rise of
Civic Brands

Stepping in and stepping up

Tom Savigar, Senior Partner, The Future Laboratory

Businesses are increasingly stepping in where governments are failing and acting as forces for good in society. Amid the shift from top down corporate hegemony to post-ownership models, brands will need to act as educators and enablers, providing tools for a de-centralised economy.

In the UK, cuts to public spending in the coming years will affect education, social care and social housing, according to Trades Union Congress. It is not surprising that late majority consumers are characterised by distrust, disconnection and disenfranchisement. This group comprises middle-to-low-income consumers who work hard in nine to-five jobs and pay their taxes but cannot afford the lifestyles they aspire to. Now, they are demanding change.

To read the full article and find out what this will mean for brands

Key trend 2

The Shapeshifters among us

The Shapeshifters among us

Why brand adaptation is imperative today

Prachi Tiwari, Engagement Director, Landor

Today’s world isn’t one of absolutes. Change is the order of the day — a reality that’s not about to disappear. These changes are about behaviours, likes and dislikes, and even values. Similarly, brands used to be absolutes — wholesome but stubborn, resistant to the slightest shifts and averse to adaptation. But today, working with change, rather than resisting it, is more important for brands than ever before. Whether the company is a startup or an established player, flexible evolution helps brands expand and ready themselves for the future.

Successfully pivoting a brand — whether executing a 180-degree turn or a slight change in strategy — is all about keeping your eye on what consumers really want, even if it’s different from what the brand originally provided.

To discover how three lesser-known brands have successfully flexed re-energised their brands through agile, adaptive strategies

Key trend 3

Gen z.jpg

Generational dynamics

Age is simply a number

Wez Eathorne, Research Director, Opinium

When comparing the differences between the generations, it is tempting to fall on lazy stereotypes. For example, that older consumers favour nostalgia and brands steeped in history whereas for the young it is the shiny and new. Or that older consumers want the reassurance of bricks and mortar, whereas the young prefer the sanitisation and convenience of a computer screen.

This is far too simplistic. Our study shows that the differences are driven by fundamental changes to our society, in the face of social, cultural and technological trends.

To explore the five major generational trends uncovered

Key trend 4


Doing well, by doing good

The new age of corporate responsibility

Emily Dickinson, Director, Opinium

Too often, corporate responsibility is viewed as little more than reputation management by businesses that focus simply on shareholder return. But the accountability of brands to those with whom they do business, and the wider communities in which they operate, has never been more important to consumers.

We have undoubtedly reached a watershed moment in public opinion on the excessive use of plastics. The tragedy of Grenfell Tower highlighted the social challenges facing so many in our cities, whilst we have seen increased scrutiny of NGOs, especially in the international aid sector. The growing awareness of the impact of air pollution on our health, increased pressures on social care and the rising obesity crisis all pose uncomfortable questions about how we as individuals, and as a society, expect to be treated and to treat others.

As consumers’ belief in the ability of traditional institutions to resolve these issues begins to wane, brands and businesses have the opportunity to bridge this divide and represent something more than simply a return on investment.

To read more about how brands and businesses can embrace the new age of corporate responsibility

Key trend 5

Oldest brands staying #mostconnected

Oldest brands staying #mostconnected

Remaining relevant in a hyper-connected world

James Endersby, Chief Executive, Opinium

One striking observation from our top 50 Most Connected Brands is the huge number of companies founded a long time ago. Thirty one of them were founded before 1950 and thirteen all the way back in the nineteenth century. The oldest, Colgate, ranked twentieth in our index, was founded in 1806.

On an average Saturday morning, most consumers interact with a range of Most Connected Brands founded in the nineteenth century, whether it’s through a nice cup of Tetley and a chocolate McVitie’s, or by popping out to Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, John Lewis & Partners or Boots.

With so much choice for consumers, it is hugely impressive that these brands have remained so relevant for so long.

To uncover more about how brands are using heritage to drive connection