#1 – That’s Easy – a slogan popularized by Staples serves as a mantra for today’s consumer. “Make it easy on me and I will respond.” Think food trucks that come to neighborhoods, bank deposits scanned and deposited with a smart phone, voice activation and high tech jewelry that monitors our fitness levels thus compelling us to do.
#2 – It’s all about location – and that doesn’t just mean real estate any more. Value in local-everything will grow. Don’t be surprised when farmers start building brands with “know your food, know your local farmer” campaigns.
#3 – The story sells – whether you are an NBA team or a contestant on the X-Factor, the story is what connects to the audience.
#4 – Journalists will rise in importance – with so much content available, the source of that news will grow in importance in 2012. We will start to see journalists in all mediums take on more focus and build their individual credibility. After all what good is a story if you don’t trust who’s telling it?
#5 – Accountability – the futurist Faith Popcorn said early on that the Boomer generation would have a big impact on making politicians accountable; once this generation had the time and money to focus. Well that time is now and accountability will play a huge role in the election of our next President.
#6 – Pets, financial planners and healthcare – will all evolve as the world’s population ages and there is an expanded focus on companionship, financial security and wellness.
#7 – Quality vs. Quantity – Having reached near saturation in the number of “things” owned byUS consumers, the tide is turning to quality. Ads that say “well chosen”, “durable” and “timeless” will permeate as consumers choose goods that last. Already “luxury” goods are on the rise, and though luxury and quality are not always synonymous, luxury products are often seen as being made of better materials and by more experienced craftsman.
#8 – Traveling will get better – With new websites like Room 77 that lets you pre-choose your exact hotel room (a wonderful website: www.room77.com) and advocates like Christopher Elliott (www.elliott.org) the travel industry is taking notice of not only the concerns of travelers but the innovation that is beginning to change this industry.
#9 – We are the world – globalization is here, think big. If you can’t find a job in Peoria, try Paris, or the Philippines.
#10 – Innovation will dominate – innovation is what will lead us into the next economic cycle. Design will lead the way I predict. After all color and design impact much of what we do and can move products and services from one level to the next – think Steve Jobs. Other innovation icons will follow.
#11 – Experience trumps age. Coaches in their 80’s, Nobel winning scientists way beyond retirement and experienced teachers sharing their wisdom – all important to the next generation and one way that aging is positive. Organizations like Encore (www.encore.org) use the semi-colon as its logo. The more you think about the genius of that symbol …
#12 – There’s an app for that – Remember the slogan “High Tech / High Touch”? With an app for everything we will continue to rely on our gadgets to manage our lives.
Bonus – It’s about community – this is the High Touch part of the predictions. Our love of, and commitment to, our communities will continue with more citizens stepping up to fill in the gaps. We have homeless? I can help. There are not enough police to patrol? My neighbors and I can do that. Elderly need assistance? What can I do?
The silver lining of this economy is it gives all of us a chance to reach out and make our world an even better place. 2012 is going to be a year of change and moving forward.