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The Future Laboratory 2014 Trend Briefing

2014 TREND BRIEFING DEBRIEF. London based futures consultancy The Future Laboratory was founded in 2001 with two aims: to innovate and inspire through thoroughly informed brand strategy. We attended their annual trend briefing again this year at Carriageworks in Sydney where co founder Christopher Sanderson shed some light on the way of the future. The focus of this year’s seminar was on an evolved gender divide and the consumers of the future. How do women and men view themselves now? Should brands be gender specific moving forward? And how is ‘Generation I’ –  the generation of ‘digital natives’ born after 2002, seriously changing the market?

Re-Con Man Is masculinity in crisis post feminism? “Re-con” because he is reconstituted,” explains Martin Raymond – co founder of The Future Laboratory. “Unlike his Loaded magazine-reading lad equivalent in the 90s, or his more knowing and recent brother, the hipster, this is a man who embraces simplicity, enjoys back to basic values, and keeps his friends close, but his boozer closer.” In The Future Laboratory’s Future Poll, 59% of the Australian men surveyed used the word ‘father’ to describe what it means to be a man nowadays. Other traits – ambitious, assertive, risk -taker – fell in behind. If social norms associated with the perception of men are changing, the ways in which brands used to talk to them are losing their resonance. How to re focus? Take note of the ‘plate spinning’ man, who doubles up tasks at home with his career. And prepare for genderless marketing – let attitudes and interests drive campaign profiles.

The Athena Are we living in a distinctly female century? The modern woman is educated, affluent, confident and optimistic – ‘a goddess for the modern age’. She embraces community, online and offline and ‘she wants to be spoken to as an individual, not as a woman. Brands now need to transcend the gender divide, and focus on non-gender specific aspects, such as superlative design. And when marketing your brand, ‘remember that women don’t want to be treated as a separate group.’

Generation I For the generation born after 2002, technology is like oxygen. There is no idea of switching technology on and off for individual tasks. They are ‘digital natives’ and are demanding the most rich, immediate, interactive and intuitive experiences – and they are the consumers of tomorrow. They are forming new digital habits, and even though the most of them are still under age 10, they are recreating the web. The expect a redefined retail, which is more concerned with experience, play and socialising, rather than just buying things. They are hacking and coding for themselves, and they are used to data that can make physical experiences better.

Watch the Australian Trend Briefing video for 2014 here.

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