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Every year, Mintel, the world’s leading Market Intelligence firm, rounds up a global lead of thought leaders, to predict market-moving trends based on current events, legislation, innovations, and more.

Since we’re all about staying ahead of the trends, we sent a team of research experts to Mintel’s most recent summit in New York. See some of our favorite trends below, or download the full report from Mintel here.

Media Consumption Is All About the Yin & Yang

Consumers have a plethora of different, unique facets to their personas, and they want to nourish them all. This is fueled by the paradox of choice, leading consumers to go to extremes to feel like they have it all. For brands to capitalize on this, they should encourage consumers to make room for indulgences in their balanced lives.

  • Because media consumption is at an all-time high, the couch potato is completely destigmatized.
    • Binge-watching is a celebrated activity that is offset by taking time away from media and technology.
    • Half of consumers binge watch TV and half agree they need breaks from technology.
    • Brand examples: Amazon Fire and Xfinity promoted binge-watching. On the other side of the spectrum, Dixie urges us to go #DarkforDinner to make more time for family and friends.
  • In a high-tech world, consumers seek a human touch.
    • As more and more consumers are exposed to automation, robots, droids, and more, they want to speak with a live individual.
    • Brand Example: Sprint launched a Direct 2 You program, promising free personal delivery with expert attention, wherever you are.
  • Consumers strive to find a weekly balance.
    • Financially, consumers are embracing the concept of The Weekend Millionaire: brown-bagging it during the week to live large on the weekends.
    • When it comes to leading a healthy life, consumers will indulge in all-you-can-eat bacon-fests followed by juice cleanses.
    • For personal beauty regimens, more and more consumers are wearing make-up six days a week and going fresh on the seventh, to give their skin a break.

The Big Brand Theory

A story can make or break a brand, as consumers strive to create deep, authentic connections with the brands they engage with.

  • Why is storytelling important to building brand awareness?
    • After the 2008 financial crisis, consumers checked their behavior—moving away from McMansions and conspicuous consumption towards small businesses. Craft is the new luxury, where consumers can trade up without being ostentatious.
    • Consumers want to be romanced and are excited to learn about a product, how it’s made, and what goes into it.
    • Genuine storytelling creates connections with brands that inspire loyalty and create brand advocates.
  • Great Storytelling Examples?
    • Small businesses have an immediate advantage when it comes to storytelling, as illustrated by the popularity of platforms like Etsy or the growth of craft beer (two new breweries open each day).
    • While small businesses have leveraged this well, it doesn’t mean that large corporations are left behind.
  • There are a record number of acquisitions and partnerships, where larger companies are buying up smaller ones, enabling them to gain knowledge, share best practices, and embrace small brands and stories. For example, Starbucks most recently partnered with local, artisan bakeries in DC and NY, to add a homegrown flair.

Written by: Marisa Davis, Manager, Brand Marketing at MNI Targeted Media