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WHAT’S UP 2022? Three media experts predict the year’s big trends

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Long form, short form, educator content, social media and inclusivity - a trio of industry leaders predict what they expect to be big this year, whilst examining where they come from in the first place.

Simon Binns, editor of LAD Bible, Matt Horwood, head of marketing for Media Trust and Daisy Whitehouse, MD of consumer engagement agency Down at the Social, all work in rapidly changing industries. In just one year, they have all seen the effects of the pandemic come into play. Looking ahead to 2022, they predict what will happen next in the world of brand and consumer engagement.

One to remember (for all the wrong reasons)

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The year 2021 was one to remember, partially for all the wrong reasons. There were iconic viral moments thanks to Jackie Weaver having no authority and enough political outrage to shake a stick at. It was also a time of recovery, with a vast number of industries looking to bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Daisy Whitehouse, MD of consumer engagement agency Down at the Social, said; “Throughout these tough times brands were forced to strip back, listen to their consumers and forge new paths to deeper engagement. The issues caused by the pandemic drove equal amounts of innovation and internet trends were changing more quickly than Kim K’s hair.

From banana bread to Tik Tok dance moves, people across the globe have embraced trends as a way of keeping entertained and connected when many of them have been stuck at home. As marketers and business owners, it’s our job to recognise and jump on what’s next. So we asked some of the most respected experts that we know what they think 2022 will bring in their professional worlds.

The first (and last) year of Tik Tok

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Simon Binns, editor of LAD Bible said: “Sometimes instinct is good, understanding the audience, understanding what you can offer to that audience and going with it quickly and developing it on the move. I think trends naturally occur out of consumer need anyway, how they then get amplified is what you’ve got to watch and it differs across social platforms.” 

Given his real-time understanding of viral content and trends, Binns also believes that 2021 was defined by the rapid growth of Tik Tok. He explains: “I suppose 2021 has been defined by the growth of Tik Tok. I think within that platform for example you look at what kind of content people like and it is so multifaceted now and now I think the noise of Tik Tok is dying out, there’s real value in the educator content, for us that has been really big whenever we have done anything with it.”

That kind of educator story time content which is actually putting new information in front of new audiences in a way that isn’t boring to them. In a way that media brands like us have always done it, you tell stories. Those audiences will listen to their favourite creator telling the story of Ted Bundy, even though it’s a story that’s been told lots of times, they care about the person who is telling it.

The importance of allyship

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The past few years saw many issues reaching fever pitch with race, gender and health all dominating the news agenda. With this in mind, brands have often been scared to act because they don’t want to be seen to be tokenistic but silence isn’t enough anymore, but then neither is ‘pinkwashing’. 

Matt Horwood, head of marketing at the Media Trust believes that LGBTQ+ consumers are acutely aware when pinkwashing takes place. 

“Visible allyship is important, and even today we know there’s power in big brands showing solidarity with the LGBT community. However, LGBT consumers are not just a community to brands, but also a currency. People are becoming acutely aware of brands slapping a rainbow on something over the summer to sell products, and visibility alone is no longer enough.” 

“For 2022, it will be vital for brands to demonstrate their support for LGBT communities and causes all-year round, the involvement of LGBT models, creatives and people with lived experience in their creative process and campaigns, and to ensure those involved represent all LGBT people.” 

Just listen 

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Alongside the industry predictions, potato milk, tequila, Instagram chefs, hibiscus, supper clubs, sustainability and cold water swimming are expected to be big trends across the year, with brands looking to tap into these trends to entice consumers but also ensuring they are following the news agenda. 

Above all else though, Daisy Whitehouse believes that brands who listen to their consumers are often the most successful.

For me, it’s about considering what it is that the consumer wants and needs from your brand. It’s about taking yourself out of the months of blood, sweat and tears that got you to the place where you are ready to go to market and being brutally honest about what media, influencers and consumers want from what you have to sell or promote. This consumer first approach is where brands will see real gains in 2022.

Header image by Carbine

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