First things first, individually, the trends for 2020 do not hold any unexpected surprises in store. However, there is something that is much more surprising this year: the pressure to act that more and more trends are forcing on brands. The heat is on, and not only for the keyword of ‘purpose’ – as many trends are combining for greater impact and need to be discussed as such. 

At the start of every year, countless experts give their forecasts on the most important trends for the new year. For the fourth time in a row, we have conducted a meta-analysis for the new year based on these trend forecasts. This year’s is based on 40 different forecasts, and we have taken a close look at what the experts have to say about developments in media, marketing and tech. The sources range from renowned trade journals to management consultancies and agencies. From this colourful bouquet of trends we, the experts from the Mediaplus Trendhub, first identified, filtered out and then grouped together the most important topics. The trends were then evaluated in terms of their general relevance for brands. The result of all this was the Urgency Trend Radar 2020. It is made up of five main blocks in which 44 relevant trends are positioned on a heat map by relevance when it comes to action.  

Even if – as already mentioned at the outset – no individual trend necessarily seems ground-breaking in itself, together these trends create an unprecedented explosive force for marketers. The five main trend blocks for the new decade are: Purpose, Super User, Content Experiences, Platform Economy and Private Personalisation.  

Purpose – a topic it will be hard for brands to ignore this year 

The year 2019 set the course: Trust, sustainability and a clear stance were topics that attracted considerable media attention. In 2020, these topics will be increasingly transferred to corporate communications: Clients expect clear positioning and an open commitment to current social values and issues. At the same time, consumers will become much more sensitive and critical of any form of “woke washing”, where brands do not take real action when it comes to the attitudes they portray for marketing purposes. Brands are now increasingly asking themselves if they need a purpose and how they can communicate this effectively.  

Super Users – their influence is becoming increasingly dominant 

Super users have a disproportionately strong influence and determine general interest. Compared to the overall population, these are relatively small groups of power users, but their consumer spending, media usage time and opinion-forming influence far exceeds that of regular users. But who are the super users relevant for my brand and how can I use their power of influence effectively? 

Content Experiences – the key to generating interest 

Our clients’ interest is a rare commodity. For this reason, experiences that brands offer their customers will be an essential key to success on all touchpoints. The transformation from analogue to digital experiences will increase significantly this year. How do you create relevant brand experiences in an age of booming short form videos and podcasts? 

Platforms – increasing their reach  

Platforms have established themselves as the central business models of the digital economy. Amazon, Uber and Facebook are prime examples. But the long-standing dominance of US tech companies is now being challenged by Chinese competitors like Alibaba, Tencent and JD. In 2020, companies will have to adapt and shift more of their activities to platforms. What consequences does this have for the customer journey and why are e-sports platforms becoming increasingly relevant for advertising? 

Private Personalisation – an unresolved challenge  

A new era is dawning for the digital advertising industry. Privacy, data security and trust were already key issues in 2019. This year, the advertising and communications industry will have to look for ways to achieve the same level of personalisation and measurability with less data. But an ideal solution for this has not yet been found. What role do AI applications and new SSO solutions play here? How can data storytelling survive in an increasingly cookie-free time? 

If you take a look at the development of trends over the past few years as a whole, it quickly becomes clear that there has been a major shift from tech and gadget trends to social and strategic challenges. And the world of trends is becoming even more complex. Just like consumers, brands also have a number of different options open to them. There are more and more options to be tried out and attract clients with new, profitable stimuli. But not all decisions will lead all brands to success in the same way. For this reason, a professional evaluation of brand-specific opportunities and risks is essential. 

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