What is driving this trend?
Growing Digital Connectivity
Online experiences have removed certain barriers to engaging with brand experiences and events, such as price, distance or availability.
Epidemics and Diseases
As people were forced to stay inside due to the pandemic, social and brand experiences had to pivot to digital platforms.
Throughout the pandemic, as people were forced to physically distance themselves from their friends and family, it became crystal clear how important experiences and connections are to our lives. With both elements hindered sharply by the lockdown restrictions, people have come to prioritise human-to-human interaction.
As COVID-19 has continued to limit out-of-home activities, the kitchen has become a hub of adventure and creativity. From taking a playful attitude towards store cupboard ingredients to embracing offbeat flavours, people are using their taste buds to travel the world and satisfy their hunger for novel experiences. As countries begin to open up, people are looking to splash out on experiences to compensate for being stuck at home.
People are showing their love for food brands and restaurants
People have long shown their love for a restaurant or food brand by spending on that outlet or product. But the events of 2020 sparked a shift wherein people sought to protect their favourite businesses during lockdowns, leading brands to get creative in how they facilitated such support. Whether it’s through branded clothing from a fast food chain or a tote from a local eatery, people are investing in merch to forge closer relationships with brands.
of Gen Yers say they’d advocate for a brand simply because of their love for it.
2021 saw the rise of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – digital collectibles that people can be the sole owner of, but which have no IRL presence. Taco Bell released taco-themed GIFs and images on NFT marketplace Rarible, and it’s proven wildly successful. The brand’s 25 tokens sold out in just 30 minutes. They also included real-life perks in the form of a $500 electronic Taco Bell gift card.Read more on www.theverge.com
People want novel and exciting brand experiences
The past year has been dull and repetitive for many. As countries begin to open up, people will be seeking experiences that have an added sense of novelty to celebrate their newfound freedom, especially while they are still limited in terms of live events and large social gatherings. There is a pent-up demand for these experiences, with the global revenue generated by music events expected to grow at an annual rate of 14.14% between 2021 and 2024.
of people in Australia, the UK and the US plan to attend both virtual and physical events in the future even when it’s safe to gather in person
In March 2021, Qantas Airlines launched mystery day trips for local travellers in Australia. With prices starting at $737, customers board a plane from Melbourne, Sydney, or Brisbane for a full day of surprise activities, ranging from wine-making to gourmet lunches to snorkelling.Read more
People are supporting brands that help brighten their days
After living through lockdowns for over a year, people’s moods are low and days can feel repetitive. Consequently, they’re looking for levity in moments of surprise and positivity. Humour has become a powerful coping strategy during the pandemic. After all, laughing can help people feel better by reducing the hormones associated with stress and anxiety. According to the Association of Applied and Therapeutic Humour, people experience a 39% reduction in stress simply by anticipating jokes.
of American Gen Zers say that memes and other humorous content are helping them feel capable of getting through the pandemic
UK viewership of comedic TV shows increased by
year-on-year in the first three weeks of lockdown
You might not expect information about healthcare to be funny, but online newsletter Out-of-Pocket uses humour to get people up to speed on medical information. Each week, it breaks down a different topic from the healthcare system without overwhelming readers. It uses an informal tone, memes and jokes to make the subject accessible to all.Read more on www.outofpocket.health
People are becoming more experimental in their culinary choices
One of the main symptoms of the COVID-19 virus is the loss of taste or smell, which can last for a long time even when other symptoms stop – creating a greater appreciation for these senses. When combined with people’s newfound culinary knowledge and creativity in the kitchen, it’s resulting in the emergence of more ambitious and experimental foodies.
of European consumers say they like food and drink products with new and unusual/exotic flavour
Life Kitchen is a not-for-profit cookery school for people whose taste has been affected by cancer or cancer treatment. During the pandemic, it released a free cookbook, Taste and Flavour, which includes recipes such as sweet vinegar aubergines and pineapple tacos, all designed for those experiencing a loss of smell or taste due to COVID-19.Visit lifekitchen.co.uk
People want craft products to be more accessible
Craft products were once seen as a speciality interest for certain groups. But as such goods have become more readily available – whether by being stocked in supermarkets, available for online delivery or simply made more affordable – they’ve transitioned into the mainstream. It’s moving beyond connoisseur culture as a wider range of people show appreciation for craft and artisan brands and products, valuing the care that makers put into these items.
of people globally say that that stories around a brand influence their purchase decisions
In May 2021, UK-based craft beer brand Fourpure announced it would be undergoing a rebrand in the following months to make its products feel more accessible. The rebrand includes simpler packaging and straightforward product names like ‘Lager’ and ‘IPA’. The campaign will also poke fun at the complexities of craft beer in a playful way.Read more on www.kamcity.com
To help you shift insight into action, we have developed a toolkit of 7 resources. You can use them all for a full planning session, but you can mix and match these based on which you feel are most relevant to the opportunities you are addressing for your business and your brand(s).
Toolkit Cheat Sheets
These cheat sheets used in conjunction with the toolkit provide useful stimulus for workshops or any kind of trends team work. While you can download and use yourselves, please contact the Thinking House for more material and support.