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MTM - 2021 Seminar - Bright Side of Technology - Feb 2021

With lockdown shaping much of our experience in 2020 - and having a continued impact into 2021, the role of digital tools and platforms has never been more prominent. As a result, our relationship with technology - how we use it, and how we feel about it (or perhaps more importantly, how it makes us feel) is undergoing a transformation. The same digital platforms and devices we have told ourselves to detox from have become the only means of keeping in touch with others, providing us with endless entertainment and offering us community.

As we kick into 2021, we ask how brands can adapt to these changes, reaching out to displaced, remote consumers and meeting their expectation of a more positive role of tech.

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MTM - 2021 Seminar - Bright Side of Technology - Feb 2021

  1. 1. 2 0 2 1 S E M I N A R
  2. 2. With lockdown shaping much of our experience in 2020 - and having a continued impact into 2021, the role of digital tools and platforms has never been more prominent. As a result, our relationship with technology - how we use it, and how we feel about it (or perhaps more importantly, how it makes us feel) is undergoing a transformation. The same digital platforms and devices we have told ourselves to detox from have become the only means of keeping in touch with others, providing us with endless entertainment and offering us community. As we kick into 2021, we ask how brands can adapt to these changes, reaching out to displaced, remote consumers and meeting their expectation of a more positive role of tech. Introduction
  3. 3. HOLLY FRIEND DR ZAHEER HUSSAIN KEMI ALEMORU LAUREN ROXBOROUGH experts experts To create this report, we’ve gathered insights and market intelligence from a wide range of sources, to identify existing and emerging trends that are influencing societal attitudes and consumer behaviours. Once we had highlighted these trends, we reached out to a variety of cultural experts and futurists who could lend an informed voice to the topics. Our experts were then invited to form a panel for the seminar, to bring the trends to life and to enable us to explore these topics through the lens of their different backgrounds and experiences. About TREND FORECASTER & FUTURIST CYBER & SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGIST CULTURE EDITOR, GAL-DEM CHIEF MARKETING EXEC, Y7 STUDIO
  4. 4. While modern consumers are no strangers to digital platforms, lockdown and social distancing measures have augmented a mass discovery of new ways to engage in self-care digitally. Over the past few years, digital device usage and content consumption have been linked to everything from depression to anxiety and isolation. But now we are starting to imagine a whole new world of technology that could actually support our wellbeing and indeed make us feel better, not worse. reimagined. Health & wellbeing 01
  5. 5. The onset of the pandemic created new opportunities for health and wellbeing digital practitioners to overcome long-standing barriers to entry, better cater to the individual needs of their growing audiences, and serve up super personalised experiences. From even the most cynical novices turning to digital fitness services like Melissa Wood Health to test the waters, to seasoned fitness fanatics creating their own micro-communities within the Peloton network, to new platforms like Health In Her HUE being created specifically for women of colour. 2020 seems to have marked the entrant of a fully inclusive and non-discriminatory self-care, which has something for all. “It’s much more attainable from not only a price point or vocational perspective, but also reducing the intimidation factor.” Liberate is a daily meditation app designed for the Black community Lululemon’s The Mirror aims to recreate boutique studio experiences at home Folx is a new healthcare provider by and for the queer community Digital platforms facilitate and promote non-discriminatory care
  6. 6. The digital detox will continue to evolve as consumers develop healthier tech habits and cultivate wellbeing practices in the online realm. Instead of detoxing or unplugging, “digital nutrition” is all about intentional and intelligent use of technology devices and the conscious consumption of content. With more and more of consumers’ daily lives moving online, a string of new initiatives are emerging to help consumers find balance for their digital selves and improve their online literacy and wellbeing. Digital health innovator, AeBeZe Labs, for example, has created a number of tools, including personalised digital nutrition plans that help consumers better understand the "nutritional value" of the content they consume, and monitor its impact on their mood, emotional resilience, and overall welfare. Michael Phillips Moskowitz developed Moodrise to feed users digital content that research says should make them feel better Digital detox? No way! It’s all about digital nutrition “We’re starting to consider the neurological effects of a balanced digital diet in the same way we think about eating healthy food or exercising.”
  7. 7. As the demand for mindfulness resources rises, providers are now releasing content that encourages consumers to practice meditation, mindfulness and self-care. Such programming is repurposing the role of entertainment platforms - from escapist outlets for passive consumption to interactive spaces that get audiences involved and transformed for the better. Calm and Headspace have been the biggest winners to date, scoring original TV series on Netflix and HBO respectively. Mental wellness will continue to remain front and centre on social media, solidifying its place as the home of entertainment for contemporary youth audiences. Netflix and Instagram partnered earlier this year to launch Wanna Talk About It?, a weekly live series on Instagram, featuring some of Netflix’s most popular young adult stars, including Noah Centineo, Jerry Harris and Alisha Boe, coming together to talk about mental health issues and taking care of yourself in today’s crazy world. A World of Calm adapts the meditation app’s vast library of audio material for the TV screen @Scarcurtis is a TikTok wellbeing hero who opens up about her struggles with anxiety, PTSD and depression Mental wellness as a new form of entertainment “People are turning to new platforms to practice their self-care because they get to interact with wellness champions - learn from them and relate to them.”
  8. 8. M T M S U G G E S T S As self-care becomes an essential survival tool, how can your brand help consumers nourish their minds and bodies digitally? Communicate most distinguishing factors of your health and wellbeing offer, while leveraging stories of how your brand is helping people get by Develop products, platforms and content that facilitate digital selfcare and tap into growing audience appetite for healthier lives going forward Think Say Do
  9. 9. Amid the Black Lives Matter movement, social media platforms have emerged as a leading channel for people to educate themselves and make political statements about a variety of social issues that matter most to them. With a growing spotlight being placed on the palpable value public figures can bring to our feeds and our lives, the issue of how to use social media platforms as a tool to partake in genuine online activism has never been more relevant. A new era of 02 social media.
  10. 10. When people were forced to stay at home and deal with very scary realities, following the same old influencers known for promoting and selling a lavish lifestyle based on expensive clothes, hotels and restaurants all of a sudden lost its appeal. Highsnobiety described this moment as “the clout drought” whereby influencers were no longer seen as aspirational for portraying enviable, materialistic existences. Consumers now expect (and often demand) that people with a platform use it, whenever possible, to define modern values and shape progressive conversations. The new “it” crowd consists of “thinkfluencers” who attract followings via their ability to share knowledge and affect change on important issues. From Florence Given discussing social activism to Munroe Bergdorf celebrating Black trans lives to Pranjal Jain building an entire global online community for women’s empowerment - future influencers are going to offer our lives and feeds much more than just a pretty face. Non-binary writer, Jamie Windust highlights the importance of having the freedom to express their identity through the way they look Ibram X. Kendi is America’s leading racism scholar and a go- to for education about racism and the Black experience in the US The rise of thinkfluencers and post-aspiration media “Influencers who only existed to sell you things fell a bit flat and just seemed useless because you know, what use are they in a pandemic?”
  11. 11. Ta-Nehisi Coates guest- edited the September issue of Vanity Fair with a focus on activism, art, and power With celebrities, brands and digital influencers increasingly being called out for piggybacking off important issues to appear #woke and gain social currency, it comes as no surprise that the expression “performative activism” has been dominating contemporary conversations. Concerns with superficial activism are growing as many engagements with political matters online continue to be driven by personal gain and social capital, rather than actually helping the causes they’re supposed to stand for. #BlackoutTuesday and the “safety pin movement” embody this type of activism, which does more to promote an individual’s own virtuous morals and prove they’re on the woke side of history, while often unintentionally silencing those actually supporting the movement and its demands. Regardless of this performative, trends-driven character of social media, these platforms have proved to be invaluable tools when it comes to spreading awareness and driving engagement with today’s causes. The events of 2020 have underlined the importance of effective allyship, which is not only about what you do and say, but how and why you do it. “The problem with wokeness is that it doesn’t inspire action; it freezes it. To be woke is first and foremost to put yourself on display.” Allyship: an effective antidote to performative digital activism 56% of people say that too many brands use societal issues as a marketing ploy to sell more of their product Edelman Ben & Jerry’s promotes allyship with a podcast that educates listeners on White supremacy
  12. 12. FaZe Academy’s first ever freshman class programme is split into 4 stages - Scouting, Bootcamp, Apprenticeship and Acceptance - titled ‘The Journey’ The events of 2020 have changed what is expected from those in the spotlight, people now want to see the people they look up to use their exposure for good. A new breed of ‘conscious’ talent is coming to the fore who have an entirely new range of qualifications, experiences, skills, and competencies than previous influencers, but continue to exist within the same, often exploitative and unregulated industry. Protection groups like The Creator Union are coming out to represent and defend the rights of influencers as brands seek to capitalise on their positive contributions and increasingly rely on them for content. With public figures becoming growingly aware of the responsibilities associated with having a massive following, a series of organisations have emerged to educate influencers on how to use their platform and status as a force for good. NOW! and the American Influencer Council for example, both set out to empower social media personalities to infiltrate political systems in hopes of shaping the leaders of tomorrow. “New groups are coming in to help educate influencers and give them guidance on how to use their power and platform in a positive way.” The concept of ‘influence’ as a renewed force for good
  13. 13. M T M S U G G E S T S How can your brand stay relevant on social media as people continue to diversify the ways in which they engage with these platforms? Provide full transparency when communicating your intentions, internal progress and long-term plans for your brand’s commitment to changing the future Harness expert voices to address important issues, while doing due diligence when it comes to who you work with across the social and political spectrum Think Say Do
  14. 14. The pandemic, having put a halt on in-person events, is accelerating the timeline of virtual worlds becoming mainstream hangout spots - for friends to stay in touch, create their own worlds and partake in collective events. As the digital world permeates every area of our daily lives, people are increasingly turning to online spaces as an outlet for socialising and escapism. Audiences are no longer satisfied with just passive experiences, but want to co-create and interact with their media. Evolution of 03 entertainment .
  15. 15. With IRL socialising still in flux, consumers are turning to digital platforms with social features to satisfy their yearning for connection. This is presenting a perfect opportunity to introduce the Metaverse, a shared virtual space that is always open, where people seamlessly get together and interact in millions of virtual collective experiences. Virtual gaming environments like Fortnite, Animal Crossing and Roblox hold many characteristics of this, enabling consumers to play, explore and create with others in open worlds. What started as a gaming experience has evolved into a go-to destination for socialising and attending immersive virtual shows from artists at the top of the music charts, such as Travis Scott and Marshmello. Over the course of 2021, the Metaverse will experience widespread use and we will see a rise in massive, immersive virtual events that bring people together for meaningful and memorable moments. New Graduation Celebration world for Minecraft is a fun way to experience a truly Minecraftian graduation ceremony Avatar social platform IMVU fosters engagement through participation in three-dimensional virtual worlds Meeting, hanging out, and bonding in the Metaverse “The Metaverse will be YouTube for social experiences—a place where we can meet and discover new experiences without an agenda.”
  16. 16. Consumers are increasingly turning to new digital mediums to create content, virtual worlds and communities that allow them to escape from the current state of affairs and regain some feeling of control and hope. Nowhere has this been more true than in the world of gaming. A new generation of Gen Z and Alpha gamers are bringing their more environmental, socially-minded and proactive attitudes to the sector, leading to the rise of utopian gaming. Minecraft players for example, are rebuilding the world from scratch with Build the Earth, raising questions about how societal structures can be broken down and improved. Alternative media platforms are also emerging to provide a place for modern audiences to express their views away from regulated media and drive more purposeful storytelling. Activist-tainment channels, including Pluc TV feature content created by real citizens, enabling creators with the power of visual storytelling and a network to influence change at a behavioural and policy level. “The huge success of Animal Crossing demonstrates a desire to build pandemic-free worlds and help people mitigate their sense of helpfulness in real life.” The strategy game aims to simulate the real-life, multifaceted approach required to stop a pandemic Purpose led audiences are creating activist-tainment BlackTransArchive is a video game designed in collaboration with Black trans coders and artists as a way to fight against the erasure of their history Reporters Without Borders built the Uncensored Library in Minecraft to offer global access to uncensored journalism
  17. 17. Clubhouse, the invite-only app built around “drop-in audio chat” has gathered a legion of high-profile fans and some two million users New, interactive social+ platforms are emerging which offer interesting ways for audiences to engage with media and connect with each other. As of late, it seems that everyone is talking about Clubhouse. The audio platform brings a unique dynamic to the already booming audio experience by adding social elements and inviting members to eavesdrop, or join in with live conversations. The success of this platform seems to be spurring on a ripple effect with reports of Twitter testing out Spaces, an audio chat room where up to ten people can talk to an unlimited number of spectators. Live digital audiences are also coming together around content that not only keeps them entertained, but allows them to interact with a real-time experience and community. Facebook and Genvid recently revealed Rival Peak, an experimental reality TV show in which the viewing audience can vote to determine each contestant’s actions in real-time. The show has turned into an overnight hit on Facebook with more than 22 million views of the first six episodes, highlighting the value of collective audiences and fan communities. Interactive media is fostering hyper engagement and community “The pandemic has made so many of us yearn for real, live conversations and Clubhouse fulfils that.”
  18. 18. M T M S U G G E S T S How can your brand capitalise on high user engagement and new possibilities enabled in these digital worlds? Make yourself present, personable and approachable within popular virtual spaces through built-in branded items, comms and experiences Consider moves to new digital platforms, but be sure to integrate with sensitivity and awareness of existing culture and community Say Do Think
  19. 19. Want to know more? Get in touch get with our cultural insights team! MARINA GRAHAM ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR e: ALEX GIBSON SENIOR RESEARCH EXECUTIVE e: