When Pantone announced that its 2016 colors would be Rose Quartz (a pale pink) and Serenity (sky blue), it served as a symbolic antidote to the times we are living in. While it’s not likely that the entire world will wash over with gentleness in 2016, it’s worth noting that this rattled state of being is the larger context we will be living in.
As we approach our business in the New Year, expect to see glimmers of kindness in unexpected places, consumers getting real, brands co-creating, and social media and content warming up to accommodate a yearning for connection, kindness, and calm.
Consumers in the hot seat
From knowing our Uber customer scores, to Yelp reviews (for people), Glassdoor ratings for CEOs, and fitness classes such as SoulCycle that have rules to ride, in 2016 we’ll see the rise of consumer accountability, shifting the paradigm from "the customer is always right" to "the customer is not allowed to be a jerk."
Rise of the ‘influepreneur’
Influencers have moved from recommenders to curators to content creators. Next up is "influepreneurs," where influencers will create their own products and services capitalizing on their category expertise and audience knowledge and developing an unprecedented opportunity for brands to co-create.
With the content economy at an all-time high, mediums are becoming agnostic. Podcasts compete with reading time, movies compete with binging four TV shows. Next year, the focus will move from channels to understanding individual consumption. Creators that can design content that satisfies consumers’ unique moods, patterns, and lifestyles will find new ways to add value to their lives. Need a good cry? Read this essay. Four-hour flight home? Watch the entire Olive Kitteridge mini-series. Headed to see "Hamilton?" Hear the music first. The possibilities are endless.
Bitmojis are letting us make our text messages "Mini-Mes." Facebook has created more human profiles offering a video option, and next up is the mainstreaming of live-streaming. Snapchat has hit a nerve that lets us amp up personality and escape perfection. In the new year, social media will warm up, offering human interfaces and an increasingly relatable tone as we move from curation to a more humble and accurate narration of our lives.
What do you see happening in 2016? Would you paint a room in your home serenity blue?
Adrianna G. Bevilaqua is chief creative officer at M Booth.