By Lisa De Bonis, Global Chief Product Officer, Huge
Business leaders could use a shot of optimism. Growth has become more unpredictable and the “best practices” that have traditionally been used are no longer as effective as they once were. Fortunately there are reasons to believe that bold moves can happen even when — or especially when — the outlook is uncertain.
Take industries like healthcare, finance and food as an example. Marketing leaders in these fields are effectively engaging with their consumers, whilst continuing to make moves that will define the future for themselves, their customers, and the world at large.
So as 2024 kicks off, here are five transformational trends that will inspire leaders to make courageous and visionary moves in the year ahead.
The bank: From brick-and-mortar to super app
The concept of a bank conjures a lost world: a fortress-like structure designed to hold gold and greenbacks. The economy no longer works that way, with Apple leading the charge in combining banking, identity and commerce in one seamless super app.
Its partnership with Goldman Sachs may dissolve, but that may not matter. The world’s most valuable company by market cap now knows how to take deposits and maintain consumer savings accounts — and may have created the future of banking. Rather than parking money in one place and transferring it around, from account to credit card to payment, all funds will exist in one place. The distinction between the money you have, the purchases you make and the investments you hold will collapse into one. This will change the way consumers spend, and marketers need to understand how.
Creativity: From ineffable to measurable
Creativity may seem like black magic, the thing you know when you see it but can’t readily define. But with breakthroughs in AI powering new methods of data capture and measurement, companies and brands can now quantify the growth potential of their organisational creativity. No longer an unknown quantity, creativity can be treated as a measurable source of capital, similar to intellectual capital, working capital or human capital.
Gone are fuzzy notions of what “works,” and in its place is a number, akin to stats on a balance sheet or a revenue report, that reflects the value that creative thinking brings to a business. People in traditionally coined “creative” roles may chafe at this idea, but in the end it will mean a huge boost to their stature and ability to prove out their success.
Healthcare: From siloed treatment to hospitality platform
As physicians grapple with mounting burdens and burnout, compounded by an aging population and skyrocketing medical costs, the healthcare industry is primed for disruption. The acquisition of One Medical by Amazon serves as a glimpse into a future where healthcare prioritizes consumers, minimizing friction and emphasizing a personal touch.
Patients will sign up for concierge-style enrollments programs that give them access to a suite of pharmacies, mental health services, even fitness clubs, all rolled into one subscription or membership. Patients can tailor their care across disciplines and needs. If it can scale, it’s Amazon Prime for your body and mind.
Food: From beyond meat to beyond all animals
Plant-based prepared foods are not new. More Americans are vegan or vegetarian than ever. But the real shift away from animal protein is just beginning to build momentum, and a new wave of innovation is set to push the movement to a new level, opening up this industry to far greater market share and growth.
What about varieties of cheese? Seafood? Eggs? The latest plant-based startups are filling that void with hyper-specific products like calamari and tuna sashimi, sunny-side-up eggs with runny yolks and medium-rare steaks — all made from plants. Within a generation or two, it’s entirely conceivable that meat-eating will be considered a bizarre relic of the past.
Social media: From oversaturation to personal curation
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (or X) have defined the last decade-plus of our online experiences. A convergence of factors, from the increasing toxicity of those platforms to the movement toward online privacy, points to a future of more decentralized networks that are self-regulated by a collective.
People are seeking safer, more personalized spaces to connect with others, shop and view entertainment. While government regulations will no doubt play a role in moderating content, concerns over freedom of speech limit that option. Meta has developed an intriguing model in Threads, where users can set rules and block harmful content, but the platform is in the nascent stages of adoption. Social media promised to pull the world closer, but its legacy will likely be driving people further into their own curated worlds.
Here’s the bottom line: Consumers will come to expect more individualized attention and curation from brands, whether digitally or IRL, in 2024. The companies that anticipate these trends and take bold action to eclipse consumers’ expectations will thrive.