What’s in store for 2024…for surviving tough times?

no-money2As the new year dawns, while we’re no longer Covid-detained prisoners in our own homes, war continues to hang heavy, and we patiently wait for inflation to deflate while considering what our future holds. We’ve got a lot on our minds.

It’s human nature though to rail against melancholy and true to generations before us – when the chips are down, we dig deep. Post World War II rationing forced people to grow their own food and make do and mend, the global economic crisis in 2008 prompted a return to such values and post-pandemic, we’re up to our knees in an environmental crisis, and those deep-rooted feelings to survive, and darn socks, has resurfaced.

The new ‘Gen Y upwards’ consumer is turning its back on big expensive labels, preferring instead thrift shops. There’s no shame in wearing someone else’s clothes; it keeps them out of landfill and sends a very strong message we’re worried about the future of our planet. So how do brands respond to this while staying in business and making a profit?

It’s simple, knowing your audience these days isn’t just good practice, it’s imperative. They hold the reins regarding what they want, and it’s getting harder to convince them to hand over their hard earned cash.

It won’t be long until there won’t be a person on this planet that hasn’t grown up with technology fully integrated into their lives. Back in 1996, Pokemon foresaw that cartoons would be become a global visual code and influencing medium (already having national treasure status relative to Heinz Baked Beans); we could see the days of high production prime-time advertising numbered, surpassed by AI-generated nostalgic reimaginations of childhood favourites and brand collaborations… at least for the time being.

When the chips are down, community spirit is high and our instinct to ask a fellow human their opinion will see people gather in droves in places like TikTok or private communities to debate, chat and sway decisions.

Conversely though, we’re worried about too much digital stuff in our lives and protecting our privacy is increasingly important. In 2024, Yahoo and Google will both move to speedier unsubscribing and disabling of unengaged accounts. It’s our job as marketers to keep people coming back and those engagement metrics up; we must tune in with the rhythm of the nation; and dance to our audience’s beat.

Keynes showed us the economy goes in cycles and Gladwell taught us about early adopters and followers when trends take hold – 2024 is looking tricky to navigate as consumers take the lead, stage a sit-in and call the shots. Our advice is if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em – get to know them better and that’s where you’ll reap the rewards.

Rachel Piggott is a strategist and Phil Osmond is product and strategy director at Edit

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