Forecasting 2023 with The Future 100 – Entering the joyconomy and tapping into the superself

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Exhausted by the relentless bad news and devastation around the world, people are determined to show resilience and optimism in the face of enduring hardship. According to Emma Chiu, Global Director at Wunderman Thompson, the year ahead forecasts renewed strength that imbues positive energy and a desire to want betterment for all.


Enter the Joyconomy

Pantone sets the tone for 2023 with the announcement of Viva Magenta as its Color of the Year commenting that it is “an unconventional shade for an unconventional time.” The bold shade nods to a strength that “promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration, writing a new narrative.”

American paint manufacturer Benjamin Moore echoes a similar sentiment with its Raspberry Blush Color of the Year 2023, noting the shade “has a very happy quality to it” and that is what everyone needs right now.

Brands are also encouraging playfulness for all ages. McDonald’s introduced Happy Meals for adults, aiming to recreate the experience and excitement for an older generation. Meanwhile, Canadian cannabis company Houseplant released new packaging in April taking inspiration from Lego blocks. The result is a series of collectable and playful boxes and exudes a lively energy.

Exercise routines pivot from squats and lunges to side-to-side sways and motions that mimic throwing confetti. Researchers have found movements that elicit the feeling of joy tapping into cultural settings where people express this emotion. The Joy Workout leans into “the feel-better effect” and ties a physical workout with joy.

When it comes to technology, people are also seeking ways to feel-good. Startups are launching apps dedicated to fostering positivity. Gas is a poll-based social app that allows peers and friends to compliment each other with the intention to uplift and empower each other. The app was acquired by Discord in January 2023, to further instill feel-good feeds among digital communities.

Tap into the Superself


The stress of the past years has put an emphasis on optimizing both the mind and body to empower an elevated self. The way people are thinking about their health and wellbeing is evolving, these are no longer part-time pursuits, but a full-time integration into all aspects of life. A new era of wellbeing is upon us and this means all businesses need to be in the business of health.

London department store Selfridges repositioned itself as a provider of “feelgoodness,” asking people to consider what it means to “live your best life.” Through its activations, products and experts, the curated experiences allowed shoppers to become their Superself.

Beauty brands are increasingly leading with emotional health, connecting their company ethos and products with ingredients that not only nourishes the skin, but also feeds the mind. Personal care brand, Selfmade, explores the relationship between the brand and skin.

Founder and CEO, Stephanie Lee explains, “there are no tools for young people to know how to understand their own emotions. Gen Z is searching for answers and they’re willing to experiment with what will actually make them feel better.” The premise of Selfmade is to deepen the relationship with its audience and this is why the brand is rooted in psychodermatology.

Dedicated spaces for social, mental and physical wellbeing are opening to meet expectations of people looking for a wellness-centered community. Remedy Place in New York City describes itself as a “social wellness club” offering a new, sober, and health-focused concept for socialization.

The founder, Dr Jonathan Leary believes the club “needed not just to be self-care, but social self-care.” Expect to see the rise of social self-care in the coming months.

Wellness is not exclusive to the physical world, metamindfulness allows humans and avatars alike unwind. Alo Yoga created a yoga and meditation experience on Roblox to promote wellbeing.

Christina Wootton, VP of global brand partnerships at roblox shares that “we’ve heard many powerful stories about how Roblox has served as a healing platform and a central lifeline for our community members’ wellbeing.” The Alo Sanctuary is a space to practice mindfulness and serve as a place of retreat and healing.

From building to living the metaverse


As the metaverse matures, people are bringing more of themselves into the virtual world. 76% of global people familiar with the metaverse say they want their avatar to express their individuality in ways that they can’t in the physical world and 51% feel it would be easier for them to be their true, authentic self in the metaverse, according to Wunderman Thompson Intelligence’s “New Realities: Into the Metaverse and Beyond” report. Digital identities could be pivotal to better understanding consumers and their expectations.

As more people spend time creating digital habitats, retailers are helping avatars assemble their virtual homes. Robin Games, recently added Playhouse, which combines interior design gaming with shopping.

The mobile gaming startup is collaborating with existing furniture brands to offer both digital and physical product purchases. Meanwhile, furniture brand West Elm created its first Roblox experience, which allows players to customize their home with over 150 digital replicas of the brand’s products.

Web3 futures


The metaverse is opening the door to web3 where communities, creators and brands are invited to form a decentralized internet. Brands are starting to integrate web3 into new launches. YSL Beauté debuted its Web3 and NFT initiative in June 2022, aiming to create a new loyalty experience.

YSL NFT holders will gain access to additional content, launches, drops, and more throughout the year on the brand’s tokengated page. Whilst Starbucks’ blockchain-based loyalty program which uses web3 technology is currently in beta. Starbucks Odyssey gives members the opportunity to earn and purchase NFT stamps that will unlock access to exclusive perks and experiences.

Web3 will allow for the democratization of digital platforms and shape new ownership models where people will have ownership over their own data and creations. The next generation of digital communities will center around creativity. Pools is a creator community that equips creatives and brands with tools to build their own cryptocurrency-enabled communities.

Creativity is becoming the new status symbol for the next digital era—and brands are transforming their offerings to connect consumers and creatives. Nike is encouraging people to design and sell their own virtual sneakers as part of its new web3-enabled platform, Dot Swoosh. Currently in beta, the virtual marketplace is part VIP loyalty community and part creator economy.

The year ahead is being supercharged by the digital frontier with the intention to provide an outlet that is an extension of our physical selves. Whilst in all aspects of life, joy is being spread as a way to show resilience and strength.


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