2016 – a cascade of celebrity deaths, the dawn of Brexit, the rise of The Donald. For many of us, it was a challenging one.      

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But it’s not all bad news. For the world of brand, 2016 has been a reality check and a call to action. 

Across the board, trust is at an all-time low. Whilst a worrying 52% of people globally trust businesses, a measly 41% trust governments*. More than ever, businesses have a big responsibility to address real problems and not let the people down. 

There’s a lot that we can learn from the uncertainty and madness of 2016. Starting with trying to make the world brighter, better and more progressive in 2017.

1. Stop talking, start listening

Whether you’re a new disruptive force changing the status quo or an established business that needs to remain relevant, you should genuinely understand your consumer.

Do the research, collaborate with customers, understand trends changing how people think and behave. Take the time to listen to what matters. Otherwise, you risk failing to recognise the needs, problems and aspirations of your consumers and how they have changed, and you'll be left behind. 

2. Find your purpose

If you believe in something, it’s much easier for people to believe in you.

A big question to ask yourself – why is the world a better place because my brand exists? Consumers want to engage with transparent businesses motivated by a purpose beyond profit.

Clearly articulate your role in the world – a role that goes beyond the sum of your parts today –this gives you permission to change, evolve and progress in new directions as you strive towards a brighter future.

3. Walk the Walk

A brand isn’t a set of promises. It’s not what you say. And it’s not what you say you do. It’s what you actually do. It’s the experience people have when they interact with your brand. It’s how it makes them feel. 

Powerful and progressive businesses use brand to drive innovation across all brand touch points, from visual identity to communications, employer brand to internal culture, and from product to customer experience.

If businesses think progressively and build on trust, 2017 is looking hopeful.


*Edelman Trust Barometer, 2017

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