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2019 will disrupt the status quo as brands redefine gender, ownership, sports, and the customer experience, according to Landor Trends Report

December 21, 2018

NEW YORK, Dec. 21, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The norms that have dictated how brands routinely act will be challenged in 2019. Consumers will continue to move away from ownership to subscription as a means of hyper-personalizing their purchases. As gender becomes more open and inclusive, an increasing number of companies will turn away from “him” and “her” products and brand for “all.” Brands across industries will have to incorporate health and wellness into their products and services; traditional sports brands will use technology to turn spectators into players; and companies will create customer experiences that appeal to emotions, rather than simply perform a function. Landor, the global brand consultancy, analyzed innovations and consumer behavior and attitudes across myriad industries and the changing marketing landscape, to determine the top trends for the coming year.

Stuart Sproule, president, Americas at Landor, commented, “2019 is the year where significant societal developments that have been evolving over past months and even years will be accelerated and in many cases truly realized by the most innovative brands. These include the demand for companies to reinvent and enrich their employee experiences; the demand for true gender equality; the shift from an ownership-based economy to subscription; and an increased focus on wellness. Brands will have to respond to customers’ shifting preferences and adjust their playbook to meet new market conditions.”

Here are Landor’s seven key trends for 2019:

1. No need to own when you can subscribe: It’s the dawn of the subscription economy. As younger generations continue to favor borrowing over ownership especially for large ticket items, subscriptions that provide on-demand products and services will become the norm for a growing number of sectors and products. Millennials and Generation Z are turning to flexible on-demand subscription services for cars ( Access by BMW ), luxury jewelry ( Flont ), textbooks ( Cengage ), cooked pet meals ( Butternut Box ), clothes ( airCloset ), furniture ( Lisa ), office space ( WeWork ), and the list is continuing to grow.

2. The end of gender generalization: Historically, when companies designed products, one of the first decisions they would make was whether the brand was intended for men or for women. As gender becomes more open, inclusive, and nuanced, brands are looking beyond traditional gender decisions. Children’s retailers Nununu and Abercrombie & Fitch Kids, and even Target, offer gender neutral clothing options for children. Dr. Bronner’s soap is not designed with gender in mind. The 2018 Miss Universe pageant featured a transgender contestant for the first time in its history. While masculinity and femininity will still be relevant, the key is for brands to make conscious choices about gender with decisive purpose and consideration.

3. Every company is a wellness company: Consumers are increasingly more health conscious and they will look for wellness experiences beyond gyms and healthy restaurants. From retail to real estate to employers who simply want an edge in recruiting and retaining productive employees, – increasingly, businesses need to offer some form of wellness program or experience to maintain a competitive advantage. These include not only physical health programs but also mental health and stress relief programs. MGM and Marriott properties offer Stay Well rooms to counteract the adverse impact of travel, using approaches developed by Delos and incorporating offerings from the Cleveland Clinic and Deepak Chopra. Air France offers guided meditation as part of its in-flight entertainment experience.

4. Sports brands move the playing field from reality to virtual: From the rise of eSports to the transforming face of fandom, there are new rules and new winners. All sports are becoming more and more digital taking the play off the field and onto the phones. As the fan base for eSports competition continues to grow, traditional sporting leagues are embracing virtual and augmented reality to put spectators right in the game. The NBA’s AR Portals app allows fans to immerse themselves behind the scenes with their favorite teams; it can even turn any flat surface into a court for practicing shots.

5. Brand experience ≠ user experience: When “seamless” and “efficient” are the only goals in creating an experience, the consumer experience becomes merely transactional and commoditized, with fewer opportunities for brands to differentiate. Companies will increasingly be creating experiences that engage the customer’s emotions, not simply perform a function. Blue Bottle Coffee takes time to prepare a fresh cup of coffee, with an elaborate and slow pouring process, that turns preparation into a performance. It takes a little longer for customers to get their cup of joe, but the lines out the door show that it is worth the wait.

6. Marketing and HR: Unlikely allies: With the rise in demand for innovative, creative, and branded employee experiences, leaders from HR and marketing will be 2019’s most critical power team. This new emphasis on the integration between customer experience and employee experience will require diversifying and attracting new types of talent to those roles. Marketing and HR departments that partner together and blur traditional functional siloes are better positioned to attract, engage, and outperform their competition. Marriott recently launched an entirely new department, Brand Talent, tasked with reimagining employee experiences that better support the customer.

In addition to these overall brand trends, here’s what to look for in packaging:

7. Don’t get caught in the middle: There is a new polarity in brand: companies offer either a low-cost, low-fidelity value or a high-end experience. Consumers will pay a premium for brands that provide a unique über-experience but they also want brands that provide what they want at a low cost. This dichotomy, requiring brands to move to one side of the spectrum or the other will also impact how companies package their products. On the low-fidelity side, Smartly, Target’s new personal care brand provides fresh looking, effective products in single-serve packaging with prices mostly under $2. On the high-end, Gwynnie Bee, a size-inclusive clothing subscription service, provides a voice-activated, Alexa-enabled choose-your-own-adventure unboxing experience, allowing customers to interact with and learn about the product as they open each box and try on their selection.

To view the complete Landor Trends Report visit landor.com.

For more information, contact:

Candace Boyle the10company candace.boyle@the10company.com 212-614-4561

About LandorLandor helps its clients use brand to drive business transformation.

We believe that brand is the most vital tool to help companies meet the most pressing challenges in today’s rapidly changing world: cultural transformation, differentiated customer experience, and tech-enabled innovation.

We have been using insights and imagination to help our clients grow for 76 years, across 26 offices in 19 countries, working with a broad range of world-famous brands across many industries. Clients include Barclays, Bayer, BP, Diageo, FedEx, Google, Huawei, J.P. Morgan, Kellogg’s, Kraft Heinz, P&G, Squarespace, and Tata.

Landor is part of WPP, the world’s largest marketing and communications firm. For more information, please visit Landor.com and follow Landor on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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