Word Of The Year: They
American dictionary Merriam-Webster announced the word of the year for 2019: ‘They’. The singular ‘they’ is the pronoun used to identify those who identify as gender-neutral. Gender neutral marketing has already seen remarkable uptrend, with Barbie releasing gender neutral dolls and Zara releasing their ‘ungendered’ line in 2019. As more brands adopt a more inclusive, forward-thinking mentality, gender neutral marketing is set to become the norm amongst a variety of brands in 2020 where brands will offer an even bigger variety of products that are gender neutral. This has gathered momentum since Clarks announced in 2017 that they were planning launching gender neutral school shoes.
Brands should take care when implementing these gender neutral strategies, however, as the shift has predominantly been caused by the attitudes of Gen Zers. Simply throwing out gender neutral strategies for the sake of it will not work, it is only worth doing as a brand if it makes sense for the brand and the product. Transparency and strong, engaging messages appear to be the necessary secret ingredients to accompany gender neutral campaigns for a strong, liberal, modern marketing recipe.
Will We Become Real-Life Space Invaders?
Of all the potential holiday destinations, a lot of people probably hadn’t considered space as a feasible option. That’s likely to change this year, however, with several planetary endeavours being looked into during 2020.
Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin both have massive plans for space tourism for this coming decade and predict that the demand for the 90 minute trip to the edge of space heavily exceeds what can be fulfilled by both companies combined (even with tickets being currently priced at $250,000!). Of course, any talks about the final frontier wouldn’t be complete without mention of Elon Musk. The SpaceX founder continues to work on his Starship project, centred around the colonialisation of the Moon and Mars and predicts commercial flights will start becoming available if not this year, then next, giving consumers the chance to explore somewhere that people haven’t seen before on their instagram. We’ll just have to wait and see if the planets align.
Sustainability For The Environment And Your Brand
Environmental sustainability and consciousness have become increasingly pertinent in recent years with the climate marches & Greta Thunberg’s speech at the UN being two pivotal moments in the last 12 months alone not to mention the bush fires currently heartbreakingly ravaging Australia as we type, so it will come as no surprise that this is here to stay for 2020 and beyond. Brands have no choice but to do their bit and contribute to being kinder to the planet. In 2019 Adidas for example released two products: 100% recyclable shoes and shoes created from 75% upcycled plastic trash from our oceans in collaboration with Parley. IKEA are paving the way and setting the example for other brands to follow. The furniture retailer aims “to recycle or energy recover 90% of the waste from its own operations by August 2020”, and is setting out to become a circular business by 2030, they’re currently aiming to comply with the UN’s sustainable development goals.
More steps than ever are being made towards us becoming a circular economy and we expect more innovative ways that allow consumers to contribute to brands’ and their own ecological footprints to be introduced in 2020. Nike are looking to introduce the ability to select which cotton you want, outlining the environmental impact each has as you choose. More will certainly become available as the consumer base shifts to a more sustainably-minded bunch, and we’re already seeing an influx of companies that are choosing to run their companies more ethically, in turn changing the way that competitors behave.
This Week Saw The Launch Of Burger King’s New Rebel Whopper
Burger King’s long-awaited, new plant-based burger – the Rebel Whopper has finally launched in the UK. The Rebel Whopper was available to purchase for customers with the app on Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th January and then made available nationwide on Wednesday – a moment that a lot of Burger King fans were waiting for!
The Rebel Whopper has everything you love about Burger King’s iconic flame-grilled Whopper but with a plant-based patty. Perfect for those who want a delicious alternative, meat free Mondays won’t ever be a struggle again. It’s already received great reviews from outlets such as the Metro and Vice, following an intimate tasting event held on Monday; Journalists and influencers were given a chance to try the taste sensation of the Rebel Whopper ahead of its nationwide launch, as well as making its TV debut on Jeremy Vine on Channel 5, where the audience and panel gave it rave reviews!
Just talking about it makes us hungry.
What 2020 Means for Insta-Likes
Last year, Instagram’s decision to begin testing the removal of visible likes on posts was met with mixed reactions. Some influencers expressed their concerns at being unable to display their Insta-worth, while others cited the positive impact the change would have to users’ mental health as sound enough reason to permanently implement the changes.
Many social figureheads from Kim K to Nicki Minaj have all chimed in with their opinion of the changes but ultimately, Instagram state that the change is a way to encourage people to share more virtuous, genuine content rather than a façade of what they wish their lives looked like. This year will see Instagram roll out this change platform-wide.
It will be interesting to see if Instagram’s trailblazing move away from vanity metrics will be replicated by other social media platforms in 2020, and if the changes will genuinely make a positive impact.
2020 and the Rise of Podcasts, IGTV and TikTok
At this point, is there anyone that hasn’t had some form of encounter, whether by choice or not, with TikTok? The video sharing app continues to see a global rise in users and downloads, cementing its position as one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. In a similar vein, IGTV is redefining how we consume video formatted content. Brands are yet to unlock the full potential of these platforms for driving awareness and traffic, especially when you consider the younger ‘Gen-Z’ audiences they attract that a lot of brands have had trouble tapping into.
Combined with the acceleration of global 5G mobile network roll outs, and what that means for ease of sharing, and it will come as no surprise that TikTok, IGTV and perhaps even other longer form content, like podcasts and VR video, will become more prominent as bandwidth restrictions are tackled. The challenge therefore, lies in brands’ ability to harness these platforms and advertise in a way that feels authentic to fresh, young audiences.
Influencers of the Year? Team GB 2020
Team GB will take to the far-east to compete in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer, looking to top their impressive second place medal tally at Rio 2016. Between Mo Farah reversing his retirement decision and the promise shown by the likes of Dina Asher-Smith, Adam Peaty and others, there are a number of potential faces brands will likely be looking to partner with.
With the semi-final and finals of Euro 2020 being hosted here in London on top of that, there are plenty of candidates we can look to front the hopes of the country, and our favourite products, companies and events. Did someone say it’s coming home?!