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26 January 2018 Press 2170 Views

The Year Ahead for Brands: A Futurist’s Vision

“What’s going to happen?”: That’s the topic of a recent op-ed that futurist Faith Popcorn wrote for the Forbes CMO column. She shared five forecasts about what we’ll see play out in the culture and marketplace during these extremely tense times. Her key ideas:

CLOUD DOCTORING: Popcorn sees the end of medicine as we know it. She believes that AI and robotic MDs will be the healthcare providers of tomorrow, while humans will only code and manage data. Implanted chips and nano-bots will monitor our wellness and heal up from the inside out. As health goes high-tech, Popcorn says we’ll crave human support and comfort, and will form Wellness Clans where they have a community of others who understand their particular issues. Another prediction: Consumers will miss the TLC of how things used to be done, and will seek personal connection. The challenge is for automated companies to balance efficiency with humanity. Popcorn suggests that Capsule Pharmacy in NYC serve as a model. The company delivers medications with a personal touch, developing a true relationship with its clients.

EMO-SURVEILLANCE: Popcorn shares that facial recognition software is making huge leaps and we are entering an era in which our minds and moods can virtually be read and marketed to at all times. Specifically, our bosses – whether they are human or AI—will be able to monitor our behavior and efficiency. Potential friends and lovers will be able to scan our personalities and responses and decide whether they like what they see. Brands can use this same kind of intel to market to us; they’ll be able to read how we are responding to their messages in real time and adapt them to better serve us. We’ll learn this Big Brother-like intuitive understanding, says Popcorn.

CHASING THE CHILL: Popcorn also describes how anxiety is rising to unprecedented levels in our culture, especially among Millennials and Gen Z. She predicts that stress relief will become one of the hottest industries, with legal cannabis being a force to reckon with. Customized blends will be drone-delivered, and will alter the course of the pharma, alcohol and snack industries. She also notes that escapist VR will grow explosively, and offer huge opportunities for licensing and product placement.

THE END OF OLD-SCHOOL MASCULINITY: Popcorn, who wrote the book EVEolution about how females will alter society, writes that the #metoo and #timesup movements are finally opening a dialogue that will lead to deep change. But she predicts that not all women will want to work with men. She believes that women-only clubs like The Wing will set the pace for female-only departments and workplaces.Popcorn also predicts that In co-ed settings, males will be watched by AI to eliminate misconduct. She encourages brands to be transparent and show consumers how they are working to diminish our current Gender Wars.

ECOPALYPSE NOW: The last forecast that Popcorn shares is that saving the planet will rise and one of the most urgent consumer concerns. This will be due in part to the government cracking down on companies and citizens who are not being eco-friendly. RFID tracking will reveal who is properly handing waste and who isn’t – and those who aren’t will be taxed. Popcorn also predicts that meat will fall from favor, due to its land, methane and animal-rights issues. She points out that Friday’s is offering vegetarian “burgers” at all locations, Sonic is trying a semi-vegetarian blend with meat and mushrooms, and the Impossible Burger, which is plant-based, is winning favor. Brands are going to have to pre-empt the competition and step into the market with zero-waste and recycling ideas in order to stay in the consumer’s good graces.

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