Public relations and communications agency, opr has released its annual Futures report entitled ‘Futures #4 – Flawed, Hacked, Hard and Slow’ which identifies key trends and insights in technology, culture and content, which will impact Australia and New Zealand businesses and government.
opr Futures delivers practical business intelligence distilled from the world’s leading creative and technology conferences such as Cannes Lions, SxSW, D&AD, E3, CES and CommsCon.
Now in its fourth consecutive year, the 2019 report comprises 28 trends across five chapters covering society, technology, storytelling, government policy, healthcare, culture and marketing. Each will inform Australian and New Zealand leaders – including CEOs, marketing, communication and government – how these trends will impact their organisation.
Richard Brett, CEO of opr, said: “Futures #4 explores these trends in depth: bringing together the key elements that continue to shape Australian business and government policy now and in the future.
“We reveal we are at a crossroads: on one level we face a deluge of content and noise across all mediums and platforms, which is causing a number of societal challenges yet also business opportunities. But at the same time there is a fascinating trend to slow down and stop.
“It is imperative business and brands continue to understand the changes that are happening and adapt to this fast-paced world. Futures#4 explores the kinds of content and stories that are engaging, but also explores what products and services are appealing in our accelerated digital lives.”
One of the key trends identified is ‘Flawsome’: a new era in the way organisations and politicians deal with crisis and issues – a distinct move away from the over-messaged, over-cautious and sometimes robotic sounding soundbite to a more open, vulnerable and humble approach.
‘Flawsome’ is epitomised by KFC UK’s brilliant response to its recent supply problems and the way Airbnb and ASOS have deftly handled recent crises; as well as how Jacinda Ardern’s open and humble approach to the challenges of being a politician and a mother.
Brett said: “This new style of leadership will be instrumental to engaging a younger generation, particularly in an environment where the most powerful person in the world refuses to show any hint of vulnerability or humility. Brands and organisations that own up to mistakes and flaws are echoing a new and interesting change in today’s cultural narrative.”
Other key trends from Futures#4 include (but are not limited to):
- The New Slow: reveals that in today’s era of hyper information and complexity, we are seeing a trend and a need for us all to stop, reflect and slow down. This is epitomised by the slow television movement being led by SBS, Netflix and Norway’s public broadcaster NRK, and the slow art movement.
- The Death of Masculinity: reveals an increasing global cultural narrative around how masculinity needs to change as cultural norms and expectations of men change and evolve.
- The Age of Attention: we live in an age of attention with more and more content and noise being thrown our way every day. Politicians, governments and organisations are resorting to more and more extreme methods to gain this most scarce commodity – attention. Technology such as bots, alternative media and fake news are making the problem even worse: Is there a more sustainable way for organisations to harness our attention?
- Future Face: uncovers the rapid advances in facial recognition cameras, coupled with AI and vast computing power, allowing machines to conduct everyday tasks including banking, paying for food and goods, and track attendance at events. They are also allowing the rise of ‘techno-authoritarianism’ – allowing governments to spot criminals and even humiliate citizens.
- The Elders Narratives: comprises four trends that cover ageing: the changing nature of it, the changing expectations of it, how society’s views of it are evolving and how science can even prevent it.
- The Last Taboo: explores the global loneliness crisis and why it is so hard to talk about it. The report looks at the reasons behind this issue and the causes of it. Governments are beginning to respond to the problem, technology companies are exploring solutions, whilst brands are beginning to develop campaigns that raise awareness of it.