We’ve seen a lot over this past year.
The continued rise (and fall?) of cryptocurrency. A new generation of artists creating with tools like Midjourney and DALL-E. Hybrid work as the new normal. Snoop Dogg’s children’s album. Immersion into the metaverse, coupled with continued uncertainty about what’s to come inside that digital dimension. Collective calls for climate action reaching a fever pitch. The Negroni Sbagliato… with prosecco in it.
In short, 2022 saw our exploration across new digital frontiers, an ever-evolving dynamic between brands and customers (as well as businesses and employees) and more. Now, as the dust begins to settle, we asked ourselves: what opportunities and challenges does 2023 have in store for brands?
Here are 12 Lippincott takes on what’s to come in the world of brand strategy, innovation, design, and beyond.
01 | Design will shift towards eclecticism
Brands across categories and demographics have largely reached a level of parity in terms of design taste, with Millennial color palettes and “corporate Memphis” having been integrated to a saturation point. I don’t think these pervasive trends will be replaced by any one thing. Rather, I think we’ll see an “anything goes” approach to design, as brands attempt to differentiate themselves and as designers seek new modes of expression. We’re seeing a similar eclecticism in fashion, where personal expression has become the only common thread. In many ways, eclecticism is consistent with the tastes of Gen Z, and a growing emphasis on diversity. – Kevin Grady, Senior Partner, Design, San Francisco
02 | Leaders will be central to the brand story, more than ever before.
With the rise in unfettered access, CEO behavior has become irrevocably linked with how consumers perceive brands. Mark and Meta, Elon and Twitter. As we transition into an era of more accountable and responsible business, brands will have to think more carefully about their leaders’ reputation and impact. – Shaheen Currimjee, Senior Consultant, Strategy , New York
03 | Brands will move forward by looking back
Nostalgia will continue to evoke a sense of simplicity in complicated times – but with some unexpected twists. Streaming content, 3D time travel, AR/VR, AI (think virtual assistants programmed as familiar voices) may pull resistant or excluded segments into new experiences. Conversely, we may see brands connect with audiences in surprisingly analog ways (screen-free gatherings and vintage product reboots). – Betsy Kelso, Senior Associate, Voice, New York
04 | Customer-led transition will hit the CXO agenda
Companies are reluctant to engage customers on transition, not wanting to be seen to “shift the responsibility.” But as climate ambitions hit business reality, a shift is imminent. Companies need customers to “buy green” in whatever form that takes, and experience shows that slapping a “green” badge on isn’t enough. – Alex Paine, Partner, Strategy, London
05 | Common sense will make a comeback
Marketing tends to be a discipline of extremes: it’s either tactical warfare aiming to track, target, and convert unsuspecting victims into incremental dollars, or a spiritual crusade to position condiments and toiletries as the next messiah. The answer, as always, lies somewhere in between. As data deceives and shiny objects dim, leaders will have no choice but to face reality. Let’s meet – and find the magic – in the middle. – Eric Tsytsylin, Partner, Strategy , New York
06 | Brands will be more bespoke than ever before
Technology is enabling a new level of customization for brands. Every visual and verbal element can be crafted in a way that was not possible before. From generative design languages that create infinite versions of a logo or a pattern to variable typefaces that allows customization of the look of a font. This shift will help brands drive a more personal experience and expression. – Michael Guerin, Partner, Design , New York
07 | No new stuff
With climate anxiety and macroeconomic pressures looming, we’ll see a retreat from traditional consumerism. Beyond the continued growth of circular economy platforms, people will increasingly turn inward, seeking to mine what they already own to create new styles and hack together new solutions. The next wave of DIY creativity with its emphasis on reinvention raises an interesting question for branders – how do we make the old new again? – Shaye Roseman, Senior Associate, Strategy , New York
08 | Brands will embrace AI as a new tool in their arsenal
With the growing popularity of AI image generators, brands will need to think about how to integrate these tools into their existing guidelines and creative process. There are legitimate concerns from the design community and the world at large about the promises of AI, from the growing presence of deepfakes to the risks of copyright infringement and perpetuation of biases. These challenges should be carefully managed as the prominence of AI imagery grows—but they shouldn’t stop brands and creatives from embracing a new, powerful tool in their communication arsenal, wielded responsibly. – Bethany Lesko, Partner, Design, New York
09 | Measurement will go virtual
Whether brands are dipping their toes into the metaverse or diving headfirst into NFTs, traditional models for monitoring brand health and ROI will evolve to equip marketers to deeply understand—and capture the value of—new kinds of virtual relationships. – Pascale Tam, Partner, Strategy , New York
10 | Inflation will remain entrenched
For the past decade we’ve become used to price stability. That era is over. Even as central banks dampen down extreme inflation, we are likely to be structurally above 2% for the foreseeable future. That provides an opportunity for brands that successfully convey value, whatever price point they compete at, through conveying the meaning they bring to their customers. The highest value brands are always price competitive but are rarely the cheapest in their categories. – David Mayer, Senior Partner, Marketing and Customer Strategy , New York
11 | We’ll see the rise of the “digital twin”
As the NFT and crypto burnout smoke clears, those that have been diligently working in the background at the intersection of business, web 3.0 and the metaverse will come to the fore. The first market revolution: the digital twin. In 2023, expect to see the rise of the digital twin, which to-date, is predominantly relegated to heavy industrials and manufacturing industries. We will hear about digital twins across nearly every industry as businesses look to scenario plan, mitigate risks, smartly insure assets and rapidly experiment. But consumers will also begin to receive digital twins of the physical products they purchase, creating a whole new set of use cases that blend the role of a product in both the real and meta worlds. As part of this, the next .com/mobile/app wave of new businesses will be Twinnings—businesses designed to exploit a digital twin to improve how things are done IRL or stand up the metaverse use cases. Expect, of all things, insurance, to be leaders in this game. – Cory Cruser, Senior Partner, Strategy & Innovation, London
12 | Brands will need to provide ‘Four Seasons’ customer experience, or risk losing market share
With an economic slowdown a distinct possibility, we see the most intense battle for consumers attention (and wallets) move from hospitality and aviation to multichannel retail. The gold standard of 5-star customer experience will become table stakes to stay top-of-mind and maintain a decent margin in the business. We are excited to see how different brands will join the fight and bring their own versions of anticipation, human connection and craft to physical spaces and online interactions in 2023. – Clemens Schrenk, Partner, Strategy & Innovation, Singapore