2017 Trend Briefing by The Future Laboratory

I recently attended The Future Laboratory’s 2017 Trend Briefing: The Age of Re-engagement. The talk was held at the Broadway Cinema in Nottingham. Below I have summarised the key points and included the parts that I found most interesting. I have also placed a couple of quotes in my post which I felt were most poignant.

‘It is our short-term thinking today that poses the greatest threat to our success tomorrow.’ – Martin Raymond co-founder, The Future Laboratory

‘The onus is now on business, the one institution that remains some trust with those sceptical about the system, to prove that it is possible to act in the interests of shareholders and society alike.’ – Richard Edelman, president and CEO, Edelman

LS:N Global introduced three key trends that will shape future consumer behaviour:

1) Age of Re-engagement

The unexpected votes of 2016 combined with rising anxiety over the economy, immigration and identity, have left many people reeling.We are uncertain about who to trust. The rate at which we receive information is too fast to digest. We can no longer tell the difference between what is real and what is fake.

Therefore, brands must re-engage with their consumers, emphasising education over earnings.

Consumers must learn to refocus their attention rather than succumb to the disease of distraction

People must reconsider what family means in the digital age in order to navigate the changing relationship between man and machine.

2)Civic Leadership

A paradigm shift is happening in which businesses are stepping in where governments are failing.

Brands are transforming from employers to educators, from profit-driven to community-driven and from closed to collaborative.

Distraction Antidote

Brands will need to apply a Focus Filter to their communication strategies to ensure that they are capturing deep focus instead of fleeting attention.

3) Neo-relationships

While brands are renegotiating relationships with consumers, people are reconsidering what family means.

Although the nuclear family has evolved for many reasons in the past 50 years, technology has created a new layer of kinship between people, their digital selves and the machines that act as conduits.

How are kinship relationships, the Focus Filter and benefactor brands bringing us into a new age of engagement?

– Post-ownership Products

– Sanctuary Cities

– Telepresent Tribes

– Cyber-segmentation

– Creativity Anxiety

‘Are we fit for the future? Can we provide solutions to worldwide issues? In the future, it will be even more vital for companies to work together with states and NGOs to create value for societies, and business opportunities that strive long-term, scalable value creation.’ – Kati Ihamaki, vice-president of sustainable development, Fainnair

Civic Brands

Businesses now bear as much responsibility as governments for driving social change amid increased cuts to public spending. They need to re-assess their relationship with the Juts Nots. These consumers feel forgotten and are fuelling the belief that the system is ‘no longer working for me.’

The next generation will happily drop profit-driven ventures for those that take a community-driven approach. It is time for brands to move beyond Brandstanding to communicate a real sense of purpose and create actual social change. Consumer distrust is widespread so brands need to re-establish their position as a trustworthy brand that people look up to.

The Focus Filter

The current deficit of attention means that brands need to frame their products and services as tools that help consumers to focus and be present. A minimalist approach can create deeper engagement. Businesses should reconsider minimalism as a pro-focus solution across audio, graphics, interiors and architecture.

Conviviality needs to be balanced by privacy; therefore, businesses need to build privacy options into social space, such as offices and restaurants, to give people the space and time needed to focus on what is in front of them.

Skip Culture is prevalent but can be countered with audacious, expressive advertising. Businesses should consider bold artistic partnerships that blur the boundaries between genres. Automation is good for creativity and employers would benefit from educating themselves and their employees about the upsides of at-work automation, and think about where the creative potential of their human expertise lies.


Images of idealised families no longer speak to consumers whose relationships are far more complex and fluid than the 2.4 children model.

Businesses need to translate their core ethos into their core persona. In the age of the chatbot, designing a brand identity increasingly means creating a character that represents the best of a business.

Business should consider their role in parenting. Overworked consumers are increasingly willing to let companies use technology to share the workload of child-rearing.

Business should take virtual reality seriously. Social VR platforms will transform the way consumers form relationships online making technology attractive to a broader audience than just gamers.

Businesses should learn how to market robots. As Al assistants begin to play a more active role in making purchasing decisions for households, brands will have to work out how to grab their attention.

I found the briefing very interesting and insightful. A lot of information was thrown at us; however it did open my eyes to the current trends and possibilities for the future. The part that captured me the most was a short video that showed a Smart street where cars were charged by solar power and light and when they were done charging, they would move themselves to another space to allow for another car to take their place. All of this happened while their owners were sleeping! It was fascinating thinking about what life may be like in 50 years time and the extent that technology will continue to evolve.

I hope you found this summary of the Age of Re-engagement as interesting as I did; I will definitely try to attend the lecture each year I am at University at NTU.



Author: Rachel Fox

Hello I am a second year Fashion Communication and Promotion student who is a creative and self-motivated individual with a strong interest in visual content creation. I am always seeking opportunities to broaden my skills and experiences within the dynamic creative industries; this being evident within my blog and online portfolio. With experience of both working and studying within the fast-passed sector, I have practical industry-level awareness that I apply to every assigned brief as well as personal endeavour. My work spans a variety of topics including Fashion, Lifestyle, Travel, Food and issues surrounding Societal and Environmental affairs. I am able to produce a range of innovative, forward-thinking outcomes that are tailored to the chosen target consumer. Being driven, ambitious and organised, I strive to share my enthusiasm for the world of visual communication.

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