Whether we like it or not, we live our lives in cycles that are defined by the position of our planet around a burning ball of fire.

Nothing really changes from December 31st to January 1st, but we like to think that it does.

This notwithstanding, I love to look at the beginning and the end of a year to take stock of what’s going on around us, both in our field and in the way the world is behaving in general.

If we didn’t have the new year as a bookend, we might just see time as a rolling constant – and that would make it extremely hard to know when to look out for new stuff.

Over the past few months, our team has been collecting data and information about the major trends that will affect our lives (and marketing) in 2023 – you can find them all here (Marketing Trends 2023) but I’ve taken the liberty to summarise the trends for busy CEOs.

Inflation is becoming even more real for everyone around us. Around a year ago, we christened 2022 as the year of conflict, and boy were we right. 2023 will see a carry on of those conflicts, but it will also see the world adjusting to the conflicts happening all around us, and learning to live with them.

2023 will see the energy and food crisis that’s stemming from the war in Ukraine become even more real, and brands are going to have to learn to adjust to these or else go under. Whether we like it or not, Europe is slowly moving towards a wartime mentality, with austerity measures across the board, and unless your head is planted in the sand, you’d better start preparing for it.

A continuation of trends from 2022

The most interesting trends live on, that is, they keep on being trends until they become the norm, but for the time being they’re still trends. In that respect we expect 2023 to be an evolution on 2022.

The three major trends from 2022 are here to stay:

  • Active(ism) Listening – Brands should stand for something that transcends their bottom line. And it’s going to cost. If brands are not prepared to take a financial hit to take a stand on their values, they’re going to be called out even more than ever.
  • Just-Like-Me Marketing – Brands will add more diversity to their marketing and advertising. We expect this trend to be one of the main ones for most of the ‘20s.
  • IRL Online – Covid hit like a storm, and the world shifted to online activations pretty quickly because it was forced to, but now, online activations are here to stay. The quicker you get on board with them, the quicker you’ll outpace your competition.

In 2023, however, we’re also seeing the birth (or increased pickup) of a number of trends in the marketing world – here’s a list of some of them:

  • Scent-based marketing – The final frontier in sensory marketing, brands are finally catching up to the fact that the association we make with smells are nigh on impossible to break. Consider the impact of scent on your brand, and work on it deliberately. You should have a plan for it in 2023.
  • Brands helping their community – We hate to put this here because it should be something that all brands do by default, but as time goes by it’s becoming an ever more important factor in how people choose who to spend their money with.
  • Food-based collaborations – People have strong relationships with food, and great brands have figured out that a collaboration with a food brand is a great way to capitalise on that connection.
  • Deaf and blind inclusivity – In 2023, we’re going to see a far deeper form of inclusivity in the way that brands address their consumers: from sign language and braille included in product packaging to a greater focus on creating products that everyone can use regardless of capability.
  • Gamified advertising – Interactive ads are far more memorable, so it stands to reason that brands are capitalising on this by adding gamified elements to their communications at a faster rate than ever before.
  • Rise of the public CEO – We’re used to following Elon Musk or Bill Gates to see what their take on the world is, but in 2023 we’ll see the rise of a far more accessible kind of CEO. CEOs of small to medium sized businesses are also expected to have a presence online, and their views will have as much impact on the perception of the brand as a whole new marketing stream would.
  • Limited pop-up activations – Brands that put their all into small events created specifically for their consumers, their fans, and their would-be consumers are going to see the benefits of what it means to have a community in a year that is going to thrive on building connections.

One final word of warning – trend watching is not an exact science. We sometimes get stuff wrong, or else stuff happens that turns trends into an irrelevance. But if you’re interested in the subject, you can head over to our full trend report here – there’s much more detail about each one of the trends and notes on how you can apply them.

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