Trends for the Near Future: Ten Trends that Will Redefine
the Next Three to Five Years
Marian has been spotting trends for almost two decades. She is best known for launching metrosexual mania in 2003, but she also created several other buzzes, including “It’s America Online,” “globesity” and “millennium blue.” Marian talks about how spotting trends means tracking people, social momentum, brands, economies, companies—big business for people in many industries who need to be thinking ahead, for themselves and clients. Some of her more recent trends include the surreality of life, hyperlocal as the new global, a lack of real intimacy in the era of “friends” and emo bling, hyperpolarization, cyberdisinhibition, kidsploitation and beware the mobmedia.
Millennials: The Generation Making the Next Loudest Boom
In 2007, Marian told “60 Minutes” that millennials, people age 18 to 25, could be incorrigible. “You can’t really ask them to live and breathe the company,” she told Morley Safer, “because they’re living and breathing themselves—and that keeps them very busy.” And now? She has never been as optimistic about the power of young minds. People under 30 changed the way we communicate (see the founders of Google and Facebook) and helped propel Barack Obama into the presidency. The have a genuine passion for good, forcing businesses to clean up their act and pay up on their promises of social responsibility. And they are energetic and passionate about their own power (with the help of social media) to change the world.
Consumerism in the Age of Less is More
The world has seen its share of change lately. Now, a New Consumerism is taking hold. People around the world are making changes to simplify their finances, their consumption, their lives—because it makes them feel good. Significant portions of the populations in seven markets are trading hyperconsumerism for a consumption that’s more subdued, considered and sane, according to a survey by Euro RSCG Worldwide (now Havas Worldwide). Four paradigms underlie the shift: rightsizing (owning less stuff), growing up (gaining control and accepting personal responsibility), seeking purposeful pleasure (being aware of their capacity to influence by what they buy) and embracing substance (finding what’s real).
Teenagents and How They Are Reshaping…Everything
Teenagers are at a new frontier of social culture. They’re changing the field of marketing, altering communications, inventing new lexicons and adopting still-embryonic innovations. Once we were impressed, maybe even a little confounded, when a teen guided us through a new social technology. But today the situation is far beyond that. Teens are the ones who are inventing, not guiding; they’re creating, not using. The teens of today have never known a world without hyperconnectivity. They’re finding that the moment they possess two critical things they never had before—the tools of social power and a reason to use them—they are transformed. And so is the rest of society because of it.
Welcome to the Age of the Social Mind
There’s a whole new vocabulary in today’s social media–focused world: trialogues, square marketing, SoMe, hyperlocalization, virtual bully. Size doesn’t matter; breadth and depth of connections do. Demography and geography aren’t so relevant anymore; intimacy is. On the plus side, social networking is opening the world to causes, awareness, social responsibility, social action. And blurring is taken to the extreme: Life meets work for the ultimate convergence. Yes, you can reach anyone, anytime, but that has led to an “always on” culture, making many of us feel the need to unplug. Time is now the ultimate luxury item and our most precious resource.
Social Media and Social Life: A Portrait of Today’s Connectivity
Americans have dramatically integrated social networking tools into their lives. According to a definitive study by Euro RSCG Worldwide (now Havas Worldwide), the parent company of the PR agency Marian leads, their world is expanding and narrowing at the same time because of social media’s hyperlocalization quotient. And cyberdisinhibition—being more willing to behave online in ways they wouldn’t in person—has both emboldened users and led them to inappropriate behavior. Plus, despite buzz to the contrary, online social networking is enhancing, not deteriorating, relationships among Americans and their involvement in political and humanitarian issues. The study also guided Marian toward spotting some new trends, including the hugs of virtuality and preview dating.
Global Consumer Insights & Social Media Tools for Harnessing What’s New!
The social media sphere has become the world’s richest soil for smart trends. For the best opportunities to create breakthrough campaigns, build buzz and keep people talking about brands, tap trendsetters. Marian shares what she thinks are the best websites and social networking sites to know for teasing out trends, talks about some of her recent trends and how they’re proving out, tells what her biggest trend hits have meant for markets, gives a competitive analysis of other top trendspotters and offers a list of top idea-exchange venues.
Headstrong: How a Brain Tumor Made Me Stronger, Smarter and Saner (Or at Least Reshaped My Working Style)
In spring 2007, Marian was diagnosed with a brain tumor called a meningioma. A frequent-flying top ad executive at the time, she was also keeping up a full schedule of media appearances and international speaking engagements. Surgery followed, along with a successful recovery, but not without bumps in the road—and life changes, including a career switch to PR and a realignment of her philanthropic priorities. Marian’s experience also changed her approach to creativity, making her more analytical and open to collaboration at work. It led her to re-examine the concept of braininess in today’s world. And it made her ponder technology addictions, the information onslaught, multitasking—all au courant subjects that affect everyone, not just brain tumor patients.
Lessons from Hurricane Wyclef
In August 2010, Marian experienced what she calls a phenomenon. That’s not a small statement, coming from someone who has spent two decades navigating hairpin turns in the world of advertising and, more recently, PR. As the leader of Wyclef Jean’s media and PR team during his monthlong bid for the presidency of Haiti—and who shepherded the campaign’s 11 billion total media impressions—she learned a few things. Among them: Never underestimate the media feeding frenzy; details are everything when working with the media; strategy and preparedness are important in any kind of campaign, but so are proactive thinking and course correcting; and honesty is the only policy.
Media Moments, Promoter Personalities and What It Takes to Be Famous
In an emerging culture where you can be famous for being famous, the news today is created around personalities, those of the instant celebrity kind. People to watch in the fame game run the gamut from Perez Hilton to David Perez of Cannes Lions fame. But notoriety is notoriously hard to sustain. We barely remember the Octomom and Balloon Boy; whose 15 minutes will be up next? On one hand, we’ve gotten so used to, and so bored by, reality TV shows turbocharged by 12-step dropouts that it takes new feats of extremism to get our attention. On the other is the emerging yang: the desire for privacy, the rise of Facebook suicides and people taking themselves off the media grid.
The Future of Retailing
Social media and a return to local community are putting retail stores in a strange but exciting place. What’s needed now is an intelligent approach to retail that is supremely mindful of the customer, maybe even to a greater extent than a store’s product. The rise of consumer social consciousness, the increasing importance of real-time communications, the blurring of public spaces and the spread of social media into all aspects of life are wrenching much-needed change and innovation into retail. Eight trends include mobile retail, augmented reality, the Zara effect, politics and sector blurring.
New Attitudes, Hours, Tools and Tactics
Three areas make up the core of today’s new business strategy, in Marian’s mind: Learning, Now and the Five C’s. Learning includes treating the agency/business as its own most precious client (while nurturing true clients), knowing that both paid time off and workaholics are enemies of greatness, making training the corporate caffeine, and understanding Twitterville and causes as place for silent selling. Part of Now includes her Now acronym: YWC (Yes, We Can), because anything is possible. And the Five C’s? Constant communications, cross-channel merchandising, collaboration, corrections and conversational currency. Hear more to understand her bottom line: “Because good enough is not good at all.”